Worlds largest gigapixel image taken from BT tower

Written by Neil Roberts

BT 360cities / RedsharkGigapixel London

British Telecom have released an incredible 320 gigapixel image that was taken last year from the top of the BT tower in London.

 An amazing image of London taken from the top of the BT Tower has set a new record for the world's largest panoramic photo. The image shows a full 360 degree view of London in incredible detail.

The 320 gigapixel image, taken by panorama experts 360Cities, comprises more than 48,000 individual frames which have been collated into a single panorama by a powerful workstation. It is the first time that an image of this magnitude has ever been attempted, and it took several months to create due to the scale of the endeavour. If printed at normal photographic resolution, the BT Tower panorama would be 98 meters across and 24 meters tall, almost as big as Buckingham Palace. In comparison, the last record attempt for a London panorama was 80 gigapixels, taken from Centrepoint in 2010.

The images were taken after the end of the London Olympic Games. Londoners, tourists and those who work in the capital are now being asked to share their favourite views of the capital, as a permanent record of London's year in the global spotlight.

Canon EOS 7D

Rainer Fuehres, Head of Consumer Imaging Group, Canon Europe, said: "Since its launch, the EOS 7D has caught the imagination of enthusiasts around the world, so we were pleased to support such an exciting and challenging project with a camera that so many people are using to capture their own moments of inspiration."

You can browse the interactive image at: http://btlondon2012.co.uk/

Here are a few interesting statistics:

Project by numbers:
• 320 – the number of gigapixels in the photo
• 48,640 – the number of individual images shot
• 3 – the number of days it took to shoot all the individual photos
• 3 – the number of months over which the computer processed the final result
• 60,000 – times bigger than an iPhone 4 photo
• 98 – the number of meters long if printed in normal photographic resolution
• 24 – the number of meters high if printed in normal photographic resolution
• 29th – The floor at the BT Tower where the photos were taken
• 20 – number of miles distant to the viewable horizon

Technical photographic information, and how the photo was taken:
• Working over a period of three chilly days in 2012, the 360Cities team spent hours on the 29th floor outdoor platform of the BT Tower working with four cameras to record the 48,640 images comprising the panorama.
• Four Canon EOS 7D cameras with EF 400mm f/2.8L IS II USM lenses and Extender EF 2x III teleconverters were mounted on Clauss company Rodeon VR Head ST robotic panorama heads and positioned in four secure locations around the 29th floor platform.
• The Clauss company robotic panorama heads are capable of 72,000 steps in a single 360 degree arc, and in this case were set to fire four frames a second.
• Laptops monitored a live preview of the progress of the shoot, which was accomplished in the teeth of sub-freezing temperatures and occasional 50 mph winds high above London.
• The 360Cities photography team of Jeffrey Martin, Tom Mills and Holger Schulze ensured that not a single individual frame from the more than 48,000 planned was missed.
• The raw images were then processed over a multi-week period using Fujitsu Technology Solutions' Celsius R920 workstation with 256GB of RAM and 16 cores at 3.1GHz, and Autopano Giga panorama stitching software from Kolor.
• The resulting online interactive version of the photo is presented in multi-layered, tiled resolution that permits zooming in to view extreme details, and is composed of millions of individual image tiles.

Tags: Technology

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