Microsoft Research has announced its latest project called Seattle Gigapixel ArtZoom in which you can explore Seattle and its art in a never before seen view. It uses well known Microsoft technologies Photosynth and ICE(Image Composite Editor) to deliver this experience. You can read the process in which this project was built below,
We first sought out the perfect rooftop location from which to shoot such a panorama. We were lucky enough to find the Bay Vista condominium building, and thanks to the gracious owners, get access to amazing 360-degree views that include the Seattle Center, the Olympic Sculpture Park, and Seattle’s stadiums, as well Mount Rainier, Puget Sound, and Lake Union. We also discussed the project with John Boylan, who has deep roots in the Seattle art scene. He helped us attract great interest from the arts community to come out and help create this celebration of the arts in Seattle. John introduced us to Elise Ballard, who coordinated the efforts of everyone involved in producing the entire piece. And finally, videographer Kris Crews helped us assemble a team to shoot video footage of the artists and performers from the ground.
Beginning on a brilliant sunny day in October, we climbed up to the roof to capture our first panorama using a Canon digital SLR camera, a professional 400 mm lens, and a Gigapan robotic tripod head. We captured two half panoramas from opposite corners of the roof because no single spot had a perfect view in all directions (this explains the seams you see). All together, the full panorama consists of 2,368 twenty-two-megapixel images. We stitched these images together using our Image Composite Editor (ICE) software, which is available for free from Microsoft Research. This resulted in two 10-gigapixel half panoramas, recording the city in fantastic detail, but still somewhat lacking in people.
Over the next few weeks, we climbed to the roof six more times to capture individual artists, acrobats, and other performers at dozens of locations visible in the panorama. These photos were captured from precisely the same spots on the roof as the panorama shots, using a Canon digital SLR with lenses ranging from 400 mm to 600 mm. While we captured still shots of the performers from the roof, video crews filmed the events on the ground.
Back at Microsoft Research, Celso Gomes worked his magic, compositing the individual shots of artists and performers into the final 20-gigapixel panorama. Meanwhile, the video footage from the ground and other media was assembled to create short video vignettes. Finally, Eric Stollnitz built a web site that provides the world access to the panorama and other media.
Explore the imagery by yourself at http://gigapixelartzoom.com/