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Largest Digital Photograph in the World 318

Posted by CmdrTaco
from the thats-a-lot-of-bits dept.
thrill12 writes "Dutch research institute TNO has unveiled what it believes is the largest digital photograph in the world. The image contains 2.5 gigapixels or 7.5 gigabyte worth of data. It is composed of 600 single images shot by a computer-controlled pan-tilt unit in 7 second intervals. Afterwards, all photos where stiched together (compare: panorama tools) using the capacity of 5 high-end pc's in about 24 hours time."
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Largest Digital Photograph in the World

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  • I wanna DL this, and 7.5 GIGS is DEFINTELY gonna /. a server.
  • Groan (Score:5, Funny)

    by hey (83763) on Tuesday November 16, 2004 @10:49AM (#10829885) Journal
    So now I suppose this is a new silly field that people will compete in. Every 6 months we'll have to hear about the latest largest digital image in the world. Maybe slashdot should make an icon... or maybe would should just ignore it.
    • Re:Groan (Score:5, Funny)

      by Lord_Slepnir (585350) on Tuesday November 16, 2004 @10:53AM (#10829943) Journal
      If we ignore it, it won't go away. If we all click on it and try to download it....well, after this guys server catches on fire, he won't be doing any more of this for a while.
      • So what you're saying is...
        If we ignore it, it won't go away. If we all click on it and try to download it... it will.

        Looks like it's already left the building.
    • I'm actually scared to click on the story link. I feel like once I do, my computer will grind to a halt immediately, I'll start crying, and then we'll both be stuck in hyperspace a la 2001.
    • BFD (Score:3, Interesting)

      Is the "so what" factor lost on anybody? If I stand in one spot and move slightly, snapping a shot each time I twitch, I bet I can photoshop it all together an top this. But really, who cares? It's NOT one picture taken with some fabulous technology; it's just a some art piece.
    • The truth is that for decades, earth observing satellites have used pushbroom sensors. [leica-geosystems.com] These sensors continuously sweep out an image, accumulating pixels 24/7, and some of them have up to eight wavebands (think "colors"). For example, Landsat 7 [npagroup.co.uk] does 14 orbits per day, and takes 16 days to image the entire planet. Its view is 185km wide, with a combination of 15m and 30m pixels depending on the band. This works out to an image about 12000 pixels wide. To exceed the puny TNO 2.5 Gigapixel image, jus
  • by Opalima (744615) on Tuesday November 16, 2004 @10:49AM (#10829887)
    They proudly introduce The World's Biggest Printer (and toner catridge)
  • sigh (Score:5, Funny)

    by another misanthrope (688068) on Tuesday November 16, 2004 @10:49AM (#10829889)
    all those pixels and not one nipple! What a waste...
    • Re:sigh (Score:3, Funny)

      by p4ul13 (560810)
      Such a large picture, there very well *could* be a boobie out there somewhere. DL the whole image and check every window before you complain!! =)
    • Re:sigh (Score:5, Funny)

      by kfg (145172) on Tuesday November 16, 2004 @11:48AM (#10830629)
      Well, they had originally gotten together intending to take the world's largest digital picture of a girl, but the plan fell through when it turned out that none of them knew one.

      KFG
  • Wow (Score:3, Funny)

    by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday November 16, 2004 @10:49AM (#10829891)
    How big would the thumbnail of this image be?
  • ... here is a direct link [tpd.tno.nl] to the picture... :)

    Pretty cool site, the Zoomify btw...

  • by YetAnotherName (168064) on Tuesday November 16, 2004 @10:49AM (#10829903) Homepage
    I blinked! Aw, man.
  • ....and it involves needing a lot more storage for pr0n.
  • Now we know (Score:3, Funny)

    by drachenfyre (550754) on Tuesday November 16, 2004 @10:50AM (#10829913) Homepage
    About a week ago, an "Ask Slashdot" featured a question on high performance web serving. Now we know why.
  • Mirror (Score:3, Informative)

    by RaymondInFinland (103909) on Tuesday November 16, 2004 @10:52AM (#10829930)
    (not a very fast, but currently still working) mirror here: http://spider007.net/ext/tweakers.net/niews_35069. html
  • Thank heaven for torrents!
    I'd hate to see this guys internet bill if he puts up a download link!
  • Disappointment. (Score:5, Interesting)

    by slcdb (317433) on Tuesday November 16, 2004 @10:54AM (#10829952) Homepage
    I guess this guy [tawbaware.com] is going to be somewhat disappointed when he hears about this.
    • Me too, damn it. I'd just gotten a bunch of panorama tools stuff, and was learning exactly how the toolchain worked, etc. And I was so sure I was gonna get a two-gigapixel image of a snowy hillside, or something like that, and become famous on slashdot.

      Oh well. The three-gigapixel barrier awaits!

      --grendel drago
  • What a waste (Score:3, Interesting)

    by PurdueGraphicsMan (722107) * on Tuesday November 16, 2004 @10:56AM (#10829979) Homepage Journal
    If I were going to invest the time and money into creating the world's largest photo, I believe I'd choose something a little more interesting than the boring skyline they chose. Why not do some planning and create a beautiful landscape photo or something that people would actually want to see.

    Eitherway, I can just see the MASSIVE, high resolution billboards now...

    • What about a Gigapixel image of the entire celestial sphere around the Earth? That would be really cool to pan around the entire sky and zoom in as far as possible.
  • Legit? (Score:3, Interesting)

    by Piranhaa (672441) on Tuesday November 16, 2004 @10:56AM (#10829982)
    I don't know if its just me, but (600 pics * 7 second intervals) = (4200 / 60) = 70 minutes. Wouldn't the sun have changed position or changed its intensity in that ammount of time? I know within an hour where I live, the sun will have gone between clouds, start going down -- changing the intensity of where it is shining. I remember another article posted like this a while back, but it all seems kind of iffy to me....
    • Re:Legit? (Score:2, Insightful)

      by PoopJuggler (688445)
      If it was sufficiently overcast for that hour, the light would be so diffuse that it probably wouldnt matter much. You could easily correct it in Photoshop if you did happen to get a couple frames with more/less light.
    • Re:Legit? (Score:3, Interesting)

      Wouldn't the sun have changed position or changed its intensity in that ammount of time?

      Yes. If you look carefully, you can find stitching seams, with clear lighting differences to either side.

      In the upper-right hand corner of the image, there are three beige buildings. Zoom way in to actually see them as buildings. :-) The one in the middle has a very clear seam near the left side of the building.

  • Seriously what is the point in monster photograph that only a handful of people will ever see in its 7.5 GB fullness. This is nothing more than a crappy PR stunt and Slashot is rapidly turning into advertising central.
    • and Slashot is rapidly turning into advertising central.

      Turning????

      Look at this "Article" [slashdot.org] and me (Looking at ThinkGeek's rank as one of the Slashdot Sponsors) that /. isn't all about the ads.

      And yes, I went that far back because it was the first example I thought of. Search /. for "IPod" or "MP3 Player" and you'll get another batch of examples.

      By the way, I'm too lasy to look up the /. follow up story about the work Thinkgeek did to survive the /.otting they got as a result of their first ad on the si
  • I saw a huge billboard in Times Square Nikon made from a 3 Megapixel Coolpix camera. It was a shot of a dinosaur on a set, for Universal's Jurassic Park DVD launch back in 2000. This thing was like 45 x 65. Sounds like this image is much higher resolution, but if you're going to print it, you wouldn't see much of a difference at equal distances... Seems like a waste of a lot of pixel power just to make a point...
  • I can just see porn folks saving all their images in at this rez. It would prevent copying of their data.

    Hard drive and RAM makers will love this as well. It will drive demand for larger disk drives and more RAM.
  • by the quick brown fox (681969) on Tuesday November 16, 2004 @11:01AM (#10830037)
    I'll save you guys the suspense: It's a closeup of Tara Reid's boob.
  • My house (Score:2, Interesting)

    by McWilde (643703)
    I got there before the slashdotting. I can almost see my house in the picture. I live about 12 km away from where the picture was taken from (by bike, so probably about 10 km as the photon flies). Actually my house is tucked away behind some taller building, but you can easily count the windows on the new Ministry of Education that is just a bit farther down the road.
  • Bah... (Score:5, Interesting)

    by flimflam (21332) on Tuesday November 16, 2004 @11:02AM (#10830058) Homepage
    I'm much more impressed by this [gigapxl.org].

    • Amen. Max Lyons and the Gigapxl folks are at least choosing photographic subjects which BENEFIT from the high resolution treatment. And they have pride in craftsmanship to develop the image as artwork, not as a techno-novelty.

      The camera-on-a-tower shot of this research institute hasn't even been hand-corrected in the places where moving objects were affected. They even point out these flaws on the website like it's a cool feature or something: "here's a bus that was clipped between two successive fra

  • by xThinkx (680615) on Tuesday November 16, 2004 @11:03AM (#10830079) Homepage

    I'd like to take this time to point out the lunacy of the 'megapixel' ratings for cameras

    A number determined from the multiplication of length and width in pixels of an image has about as much to do with the quality of a picture as the size of your passenger cabin has to do with the speed of your car. Yes, you can print larger pictures without seeing pixels if you have a higher megapixel count, but chances are it's not the resolution of your photos that you'll notice.

    A major factor in the quality of any image is the quality of the optics used to take it. That means the lens, the glass used to focus and point the image onto the sensor. Quality glass, such as low dispersion glass (I'm preferential to Canon's "L" glass) will create images with sharp edges, crisp focus, and good bokeh. Use cheap glass and you'll get the opposite. Effects like soft focus, purple halos, light leaking, and distortion will all still be present if you use poor optics, no matter what the MP rating. I wonder how many people have upgraded from a 3 mp to a 4, 6, or 8 mp camera and still found lackluster results.

    My point, a camera has many more features that determine quality than just the megapixel rating, when you choose one, consider these as well and you'll be happier. And here's a plug, dpreview.com does some awesome camera reviews (I'm in no way affiliated with them).

    • What is your point? We already knew this.
    • Not only because of its optics, but because the improvement in image quality I have with the pictures having nearly four times the resolution of my old camera.

      More pixels with bad optics might mean more pixels to render noise, but I didn't upgrade my camera because of extreme artifacting or light noise.

      I wanted more bits per flick. The benefit of buying a (just widely dropped to $199) Canon PowerShot A75 is not only the ass-kicking feature set, but because they use higher quality components - plastic, gl
    • It isn't lunacy.

      With optical cameras, the resolution and clarity of the image is more influenced by the optics (lens, etc) than the film, because the film is capable of storing an obscene resolution. A cheap little disposable camera is capable of having that same picture printed at 3"x4" or 8"x10", and the only thing that influences it is the optics that were used as to how clear that image is.

      For digital cameras, the optics are not nearly as critical in defining the quality of image as the CCD is (photor
      • Yeah, for the most part that is true, but your average cell phone camera is 640x480 - so was the mars lander (rover?) had a camera with the same resolution. Optics do make a difference, a crappy plastic lens will make a really crappy picture regardless of the ccd behind it.
      • The problem is that MP is a sham when you have CCD's that are not all built the same.

        Lots of CCD's you see right now have simple RGB filters, and adding up all those filtered pixels gives you an MP rating.

        But what happens when you have sensors like the Fuji that rotate the photosites by 45 degrees? It has a real apparent affect on resolution that is not really measured by the raw MP rating.

        Or consider the foveon sensor, a stacked array of sensors which has the pixel output of a 3.6MP array but 10.2MP wh
    • by SuperBanana (662181) on Tuesday November 16, 2004 @11:55AM (#10830721)
      Quality glass, such as low dispersion glass (I'm preferential to Canon's "L" glass) will create images with sharp edges, crisp focus, and good bokeh. Use cheap glass and you'll get the opposite.

      Bokeh comes from the number of aperture leaves and their shape(there are some non-straight-edged aperture leaves). It has -absolutely nothing to do with the quality of the glass-.

      Furthermore, Canon's $60 50mm/1.8 is plasticky, cheap, blah blah- but it's just as sharp as the faster, metal (heavier) L-series lens, and it doesn't suffer from the mild barrel distortion the L-series lens does. It has fewer aperture blades, so bokeh is not as great- which is pretty much the only reason pros buy the L version. Consumers buy it because they want a red ring around their lens and they don't want to be caught dead with a plastic lens.

      You can stare at lens charts until the cows come home and argue about image quality. The L-lenses are slightly better in most image quality categories since they do generally use the very best of Canon's technology, but their chief advantage is that they are built with stronger but heavier materials, aimed at professional users who don't mind that the body is thick metal. Phil Greenspun claims he's dropped his 70-210/2.8 IS on the floor and it worked fine. I'm not about to try with mine, but I can tell you that the thing is built like a goddamn tank, and designed to be modular for easy servicing. Even the tripod mount screw is replaceable...

      • Bokeh comes from the number of aperture leaves and their shape(there are some non-straight-edged aperture leaves). It has -absolutely nothing to do with the quality of the glass-

        Bokeh comes from a NUMBER of influencing parameters, just as the "bouquet" of a fine wine can be affected by a number of different wine-making techniques.

        You're right that the shape of the aperture has an effect. More leaves, or more rounded leaves, will smooth out the circle.

        Another factor is whether the lens uses a reflex

      • Firstly, quality of glass certainly has a bit to do with EVERY ASPECT of the image created. Use shitty glass, you'll get shitty images, it's that simple. Note that I didn't say the L glass is the only glass that produces quality image.

        Bokeh is absolutely affected by glass quality. Especially when dealing with numerous small points of light, such as cityscapes and reflections on choppy water, using low dispersion glass will create smoother but still "contrasty" bokeh.

        I own the 50mm 1.8 that you're talkin

  • by mrjb (547783) on Tuesday November 16, 2004 @11:04AM (#10830093)
    ...I'll look out of the window. Sure takes less time than downloading the image!
  • by wwwillem (253720) on Tuesday November 16, 2004 @11:07AM (#10830123) Homepage
    In a way, this is funny. The best way to handle huge images is by tiling them. I like to play around with maps and satellite images (see here with [schaik.com] and without [schaik.com] grid) and have learned the lesson that to put that type of large images on a web server, you better cut it into tiles.

    Flash based zoom/pan/tilt viewers do the same thing. A bit more advanced, but you download only the part that is currently in view. Even when you open a PDF in your browser, just the page in view is downloaded. And think about those huge video walls.

    So, the funny part is now that you take many, many pictures, then use a lot of processing to stitch the results together, and then cut it into tiles again to display the resulting image. Wouldn't it make more sense to put some more effort in that robotic camera control device and make that so accurate that it can take the pictures, still touching, but with zero overlap? That would be cool!! I suspect that making the high precision optics for such a camera would be really, really expensive. Which is probably why TNO did it the way they did.

    • As cool as it would be to create a large-format picture like this using a camera with zero overlap, it's impossible.

      Very simply: When you're putting multiple images like this together, you quickly become aware that the images you take do not form a flat surface. Because your camera is located at a single point, and is then rotated in multiple axes, a complete sweep of all pictures in all directions would form a sphere made of rectangles. Think of it like an inside-out disco ball.

      This means, for most lar
    • The best way to handle huge images is by tiling them. I like to play around with maps and satellite images (see here with and without grid) and have learned the lesson that to put that type of large images on a web server, you better cut it into tiles.

      Umm... why? How do the tiles benefit the web server or the browser? I know some of the reasons for doing that 10 years ago, but I'm not aware of any reasons that are still valid today.

      At any rate, the "stitching" they're talking about in the article is qu
      • How do the tiles benefit the web server or the browser?

        Well, you see it with this TNO example. People downloading 7.5 GB images doesn't really work. So by tiling the image, you can build (takes only a little bit of JavaScript) a browser app that allows users to scroll through the whole image. Each time you scroll, you only have to download a couple new tiles.

        If you go to the satellite map of Holland I mentioned before [schaik.com], and then click somewhere on the map, you see what I mean. Click the arrows around the
  • Hrm (Score:3, Interesting)

    by Auckerman (223266) on Tuesday November 16, 2004 @11:08AM (#10830133)
    This really is stretching the definition of a photograph. It would be trivial (in the sense the process is already know) to top this by using a camcorder(s) to capture the data, moving the images to 3-d space then projecting the image to 2-D. It would take a bit of CPU time, but it would be just as much of a photo as this is.
    • In that it's exactly the same process, yes.
      It's also rather similar to the process used to get hi-res photos of spacey objects. I wouldn't say it really stretches the definition that far at all.
  • Um, no. (Score:5, Informative)

    by mapmaker (140036) on Tuesday November 16, 2004 @11:11AM (#10830180)
    It would appear these people have never heard of aerial photography. Here at my job (local DC government) we work with a digital aerial orthophotograph of Washington DC that is over 20 gigapixels in size.

    It's true that the file size of our imagery is smaller than theirs, as we use Mr. Sid format for better compression, but our pixel count leaves them in the dust.

    I don't believe this image is in any way extraordinary or special - pretty much every local government across the country maintains digital imagery of their jurisdiction that is comparible in resolution.

    • Meh... silly american, can't take it that something in a small cute country like the Netherlands is bigger than in the USoA ?
    • But was it taken on a digital camera, or on regular film and then digitally scanned in? This is a 100% digital creation, with no analog processing involved at all. Of course larger pictures exist out there - we're not talking about ridiculously massive amounts of data here :)
      • Re:Um, no. (Score:3, Informative)

        by mapmaker (140036)
        Yes, aerial orthophotography is pretty much always taken with digital cameras nowadays. It's a 100% digital process.

        But now that I've RTFA, I see that they are claiming to have the largest digital panoramic photo in the world. The poster overstated their claim.

        Adding that qualifier in makes their claim more plausible, but also less noteworthy.

  • this guy [tpd.tno.nl] has a bit of bad luck
  • Breaking the Gigapixel Barrier [slashdot.org]
    Posted by michael [slashdot.org] on Tuesday December 02, @05:06PM
    from the sweetness dept.
    megas [escritacomluz.com] writes "Max Lyons [tawbaware.com] has just posted on his site what seems to be the first 1 Gigapixel [tawbaware.com] picture, created from 196 separate photographs taken with a 6 megapixel digital camera, and then stitched together into one seamless composite. According to Max, he has 'been unable to find any record of a higher resolution photographic (i.e. non-scientific) digital image that has been created without resizi
  • by VDM (231643) on Tuesday November 16, 2004 @11:18AM (#10830271) Homepage
    I know it's risky (risk of slashdotting, of course...), however among the things I do for research there are also the so-called "digital slides", which are digital copies of pathology glass slides. We acquire them with a motorised microscope, at 40x magnification, which means about 0.3 micron/pixel. The maximum area acquired was about 21x45 mm, for a total of 28340 images, each one is 699x572 pixel (analog camera). This corresponds to about 11.3 Gpixels. Usually we remain well under this value, but anyway around 1-2 Gpixel on average.
    Please be very kind with our test server: http://www.telemed.uniud.it/eslides/ [uniud.it].
    (anyway, I never thought this kind of things could become a news item).
  • ... but viewing over the web, and it somehow loses the quality :-]

  • Okay, is it just me or was anyone else totally expecting to see a 2.5 gigapixel image of goat.se?

    Just when I though /. was becoming predictable they go and pull a fast one...
  • not impressed. (Score:5, Interesting)

    by sxtxixtxcxh (757736) on Tuesday November 16, 2004 @11:27AM (#10830391) Homepage Journal
    i made the largest baby photo [deviantart.com] using 2500 digital photos each one at least 4.0megapixels in size and some as large as 6 megapixels.

    exposure started june 2002 and ended early november 2003.

    i used MacOSaiX to put it together on a two year old powerbook, and it took about 12 hours.

    it's not seemless, but the mosaic effect is cool.
    • Re:not impressed. (Score:3, Interesting)

      by Speare (84249)
      Pardon me for bursting your bubble, but...

      If you can point a piece of software you downloaded or bought at a directory full of snapshots, and get a mosaic of another snapshot, how is that particularly interesting? You don't even say what the actual image resolution is in your final, and your image has duplicates because your library wasn't big enough.

      Max Lyons created new tools to develop image files that large. He selected a subject which benefitted from his technique. He hand-shot the images with

  • its a jennicam shot?
  • Torrent please.
  • The Sloan Digital Sky Survey [sdss.org]. 8,216 square degrees imaged and over 6 terabytes of data collected to date, and counting.
  • PCs not pc's! (Score:2, Offtopic)

    by jolyonr (560227)
    Damn, hate to be a grammar nazi, but this one always annoys me. There's no apostrophe in PCs. And it's sad to see in almost every flyer from PC retailers they're continuing this mistake.

    Correct Usage:

    I installed XP on my five computers and now all my PCs are on fire.

    or

    I installed XP on my only computer, and now my PC's on fire.


    Incorrect Usage:

    All your PC's are belong to us.

    I hope this helps.

    Jolyon
  • I've been looking into working with panoramic images with my digital rebel and ran across this site [tawbaware.com]. There are some really beautiful panoramic photographs of Washington DC landmarks in the gallery. Max also created a gigapixel image [tawbaware.com] of Bryce Canyon using 196 photographs taken with a 6 megapixel digital camera.
  • by dfj225 (587560)
    "7.5 gigabyte worth of data"

    Putting a link to something like that on slashdot....just seems like an excuse to get a new server!
  • Well,there's joined arial footage of my entire country stored on raided hdd's that takes up tera-bytes.
  • by fwitness (195565) on Tuesday November 16, 2004 @12:46PM (#10831401)
    I've been looking for some kind of OSS that let's me take a picture and print it on multiple pieces of paper. Many digital cameras can take absolutely huge pictures these days, and I'd like to be able to make my own panorama style prints. I've been looking for months for such an animal but no luck.

    Anyone here have suggestions?
    • I was going to mod some comments, but thought I would help you out instead. KDE built in printing dialog has this functionality.

      If you are printing from a non-KDE app, specify "kprinter" as the print command. The Print dialog comes up and choose "Properties" (The should be a button next to the printer select drop down.

      Anyway, among the tabs (probably hidden from view) is a "POSTER" tab. This will allow you to pront anything supersized.

      I have not used this too much myself so I cannot speak as to quality
  • Mine's bigger (Score:3, Informative)

    by MrBlic (27241) on Tuesday November 16, 2004 @02:00PM (#10832483) Homepage
    Here's a link to a montage of a Dolphin Brain that was assembled with a 10x objective on a microscope.

    Dolphin Brain on Neuroinformatica.com [neuroinformatica.com]

    Once you get to the page, zoom in about ten times using the + magnifying glass icon.

    The file is 135,000 pixels wide by 200,000 pixels high which would take 77.25 Gigabytes to store uncompressed. The compressed size on the server is 3.912 Gigabytes.

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