A gigapixel image is a digital image composed of more than one billion pixels. It contains more than 150 times the detail captured by a typical 6-megapixel consumer camera. One way of visualizing the size of a four gigapixel image is to consider a photograph of a regulation football pitch (soccer in USA) which is 90m x 45m. A four gigapixel top-down photograph of the entire field at 1mm per pixel would cover the entire area of the football pitch!
How does it work?
Gigapixel images are created by tiling a large number of photographs, or scanning a large film negative (8" x 10"). Gigapixel images are displayed on-line using streaming technology which breaks the image into small tiles and loads them as you look. This allows you instantly view high-resolution images that are over several gigabytes in size. There are beautiful gigapixel photography online at GigaPan and GigapixelPhotograpy.com.
What are the applications of gigapixel imagery?
Gigapixel photographs are ideal for tourism, real-estate, architecture, medical imaging, archiving, and documenting special events. High-resolution images create the impression of "being there" by immersing the viewer within the scene. The extreme level of detail captured in a gigapixel image allows artifacts to be accurately preserved for future generations.
Can you print a gigapixel image?
Yes, gigapixel images can be printed. At a size of over 20ft (6m), a gigapixel print retains jaw-dropping detail even when viewed a few inches away.
The largest digital photographs
The largest digital image at the moment is a 17 gigapixel photograph from Glacier Point, Yosemite National Park. It is claimed by Gerard B. Maynard.
- Dimensions: 214,414 pixels X 80,571 pixels
- Size: 96.5 GB
- Pixels: 17,275,550,394