Marina City in giga-huge image of Chicago River
Loop North News


Joshua Schapiro

5-Aug-09 – In unflinching detail, Marina City shows up in an image more than 200 times bigger than what a typical digital camera captures.

The image of the Chicago River was uploaded last September to GigaPan, a project that aspires to bring people together “through images that have so much detail that they are, themselves, the objects of exploration, discovery and wonder.”

Using a robotic camera mount, very high-resolution panoramic images can be created with a standard digital camera. Custom software then constructs the image. Sponsors of the project include Google and NASA.

Joshua Schapiro

(Above) Closer detail of top photo. In upper left frame, an unidentified resident on the 25th floor of the east tower can almost be identified as she smokes a cigarette on her patio. (Click on image to view larger version.)

The GigaPan image was photographed from the roof of Hotel 71 on September 2, 2008, by Joshua Schapiro, a robotics research engineer at Carnegie Mellon University in Pittsburgh. He also captured images at Millennium Park and Hyde Park using a Canon PowerShot SX100 8.0 megapixel camera and 300mm telephoto lens.

“The thing I remember about the shot was how incredibly dangerous it was,” recalls Schapiro. With no parapet or outside wall on the roof, he found himself “laying on my stomach setting up the GigaPan about a foot away from the edge of the roof. Then I stayed there during most of the shot to make sure no wind came by to carry my GigaPan to the river below.”

500 images of the river scene – 20 rows, each containing 25 images – were combined to create a 1.98 gigapixel image. It took the software eight hours 52 minutes to stitch together the images.

26 GigaPan images, including three by Schapiro, appear on the web site for Chicago Office of Tourism.

 GigaPan images…

By Steven Dahlman | Loop North News |

Published 5-Aug-09 12:00 AM

Loop North News


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