Framework

Capturing the world through photography, video and multimedia

A panoramic image of London created by combining 7,886 individual photos.

PHOTOGRAPH BY: Jeffrey Martin / 360cities

A closeup of pedestrians from the London 80-gigapixel image.

PHOTOGRAPH BY: Jeffrey Martin / 360cities

A close-up of office workers in windows in the London 80-gigapixel image.

PHOTOGRAPH BY: Jeffrey Martin / 360cities

Residential windows in the London 80-gigapixel image.

PHOTOGRAPH BY: Jeffrey Martin / 360cities

People at a cafe in a closeup from the London 80-gigapixel image.

PHOTOGRAPH BY: Jeffrey Martin / 360cities

People ride the London Eye in the London 80 gigapixel image.

PHOTOGRAPH BY: Jeffrey Martin / 360cities

"Gherkin" building in London's Financial District, from the 80-gigapixel image.

PHOTOGRAPH BY: Jeffrey Martin / 360cities

BT Tower in 80-gigapixel image.

PHOTOGRAPH BY: Jeffrey Martin / 360cities

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80-gigapixel panorama of London

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80-gigapixel panorama of London

Exploring a gigapixel image is like a treasure hunt. I use the word “explore” because one doesn’t just look at these images, but rather examines and searches. The enormous detail from combining hundreds, if not thousands, of individual photographs stitched together allows the viewer to zoom in and find unexpected scenes.

The first gigapixel image I recall seeing was one of Prague by panorama photographer Jeffrey Martin. I was amazed by the detail and sharpness of his creation. Not only could I zoom in to an amazing degree, I could also look around 360 degrees and tilt the image up and down.

Martin did not disappoint with his latest endeavor that went live Tuesday, an 80-gigapixel image of London created by combining 7,886 high-resolution digital photos. Eighty gigapixels translate into 80 billion pixels. The average consumer-level point-and-shoot camera produces a 10 megapixel,  or 10-million pixel, image.  According to Martin, the London image is now the world record holder for the largest image, and if it was printed out it would be 115′x56′.  He seems bent on upping the ante each time with the Prague shot being a mere 18.4 megapixels.

The London panorama was shot over three days from the 36-story Centre Point building in central London. The viewer can see scenes of people strolling down the street, riding the London Eye and sipping coffee at a sidewalk cafe. The viewer can even see surprising detail looking through office and residential windows. Martin said he was careful to blur any recognizable faces of children. However, “we did find one ‘naughty’ thing in the image which we also blurred out,” Martin said.

Martin shot nearly 10,000 photos with an 18-megapixel Canon Rebel T2i digital SLR with a 400-mm lens on a robot camera mount. He ended up not using all of the photos. Shooting from the special mount allowed him to turn the camera at exact intervals. This made combining the photos later easier. But not easy enough. Along the way he needed to figure out new techniques. “Doing things for the first time always take much longer,” he said.

The weather didn’t help either. He had to use a very high ISO, wide aperture and high shutter speed to combat gusty wind shaking the camera on the 36th floor.

To stitch together such a large number of photographs requires some massive computer processing power. Fujitsu Technology Solutions provided the Fujitsu CELSIUS workstation that has a dual 6-core CPUs, 192GB of RAM, and a 4GB graphics card that did it in 18 hours. Total processing took about six weeks. The high dynamic range look was his “secret sauce.”

What’s up next for Martin? New York, Tokyo, Istanbul and Mumbai are all options, he said. “Whoever asks me first! I’d love to shoot a city that has a lot of people, and a lot of action. I’m looking forward to making the next one — it will be even better,” Martin said.

To demonstrate the amount of detail see above the full 360×180-degree image followed by detail shots extracted from it by Martin. But to get the full experience, check out the high-resolution interactive panorama for yourself on his site 360cities.net. Other notable gigapixel images by other photographers include Paris, Dresden, Dubai and Budapest.

3 Comments

  1. November 16, 2010, 2:30 pm

    Congratulations to Jeffery Martin and his team at 360 Cities.net, who also have had the presence of their community's images on Google Earth greatly increased. GigaPixel photography is a sea change in the way we think about photography and imagery in general, and with advances in online delivery, this is only the beginning. Using a similar technique with video and advanced software, other teams have created "explorable" timelapse video (http://timelapse.gigapan.org/). Scientists recently convenied at Carnegie Mellon University to discuss the many uses of gigapixel imagery to better understand our world at the Fine International Conference on GigaPixel Imaging for Science (http://www.cmu.edu/events/gigapixel-science/). Amazing images were displayed from Antarctica ice sheets and underwater coral reefs. On a smaller commercial scale, images like these will redefine our concept of the virtual tour in real estate, travel and tourism, and asset management.

    By: @GigaView360
  2. November 18, 2010, 8:33 am

    [...] the link to each other. Since the publication on our blog, we’ve been mentioned in media like LA Times, Wired UK, Gizmodo, Daily Mail, PC World, Londonist, Boing Boing and many others. As a byproduct, [...]

  3. November 25, 2010, 4:35 am

    [...] von Jeffrey Martin bewundern zu können. Die Fotos, die Sie dort von London sehen, sind sphärische Panoramas. Sie setzen sich aus unzähligen Fotos zusammen, die jede denkbare Richtung von einem einzigen [...]

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