Martin Edström receives prestigious award for interactive reportage with help for the Gigapan EPIC Pro.

Congratulations Martin! Tell us about Zaatari 360, why do you think it won you the Special Prize of Årets bild (Swedish Picture of the Year)?
Thank you! It's means a great deal to me, and I'm glad to be awarded for a new kind of immersive and interactive type of journalism. Zaatari 360 is just that - an immersive experience that brings the reader to the world's second largest refugee camp: Zaatari in Jordan.

In the 360-reportage, you can walk around the camp, zoom in on locations of interest and listen to the stories of several refugees living in the camp. With a voice-over that follows you around, ambient sounds and lots of clickable points of interest you almost feel "like you're there" yourself. Like you're standing and walking in Zaatari.

I hope this kind of journalism can help people to really learn about - and feel for - the most pressing humanitarian issues in the world. With refugees growing in number all over the world, it's an extremely pressing issue - but people have a hard time understanding the complexity of the problem. Just reading about refugees doesn't seem to bring people enough understanding, in many cases. And people have a hard time connecting to the refugees.

I hope experiences like this can bring the world closer to readers worldwide.

How did you make this piece? We understand Gigapan was involved?
Why yes. I've been using the Gigapan Epic Pro to make all of the 360 images used for Zaatari 360, which has been an invaluable tool. The Gigapan head works perfectly in the field, even though it took some rough handling in the desert sand. Couldn't have done this reportage without it.

After capturing all the images in the camp, I had a much longer journey putting the whole reportage together. I've been working since early 2013 with developing the techniques and code used for making a final 360-reportage that can be viewed perfectly on both desktop computers and mobile, and got awesome help from Kolor with software for these solutions.

All in all it was a very long process - but now I've learned enough and polished my workflow to be able to produce these pieces at a much faster pace.

What's happening now?
Now I'm devoting 100% of my time to 360-photography and making this kind of interactive reportages. With the award in Årets bild I got all the motivation I need to fully put my energy on this, and develop it further.

Who will you work for? Anything in the pipeline? 
Lots of stuff in the pipeline, but always looking for more projects! Especially interested in working with international media on this. If you guys at Gigapan hear about any openings, direct them my way! :)

You can see Martin's piece here:

New Pricing

Over the past three years, Gigapan has worked hard to take advantage of our increased scale, associated productivity and efficiencies, to offset significant cost increases. Such increases have impacted energy, labor, transport and raw material costs. Our efforts have allowed us to absorb cost increases and avoid price increases for the EPIC Series during 2011, 2012 and 2013. 

Unfortunately, this is no longer possible for 2014, but we have minimized the price increases. Effective January, 13th 2014, the following products will have the new listed MSRP:

EPIC - $319
EPIC 100 - $479  
EPIC Pro - $995

We value our loyal customers and appreciate your continued support. If you have any questions, comments, or concerns, please email

Gigapan Curriculum Collection

Gigapan and Carnegie Mellon University's CREATE Lab (Community Robotics, Education and Technology Empowerment Lab), have teamed up to develop and share the Gigapan Curriculum Collection

The Curriculum Collection highlights the many Gigapan projects that have been done around the world over the past several years. It is designed to make Gigapan technology accessible to all teachers and students, allowing instructors to adapt it into their classrooms, incorporate it into larger projects, or use it to enhance existing curriculum. Over 6,000 students are trained worldwide in almost 300 schools or other organizations, helping Gigapan to develop curriculum for kindergarten to post-college levels, with topics ranging from natural sciences and architecture, to creative writing and mathematics. 

Visit the CREATE Lab blog to read more about how the collection was developed and feedback from other educators. If you have any comments, questions, feedback or ways we can further enhance project development and design, please email

Gigapan Update

As many of you are aware, there have been some significant changes at Gigapan over the past several months. We appreciate the support many of you have shown and want to keep you updated on what the future holds, as well as address some of the concerns and questions you may be experiencing.

Gigapan has gone through a significant restructure and will continue to rebuild and strengthen the company. During this process, we’ve refocused our efforts on improving existing hardware, developing new hardware and software, and creating some additional digital products and services.

We have fielded several questions regarding the website and what will happen with Gigapan member images. The website will continue to exist and every member will still be able to upload, view, snapshot, comment, print and embed their images. We will also continue to focus on the development and user experience of the website over the next six months.

We are also aware of a few glitches and bugs on the website. We are working towards fixing these issues and appreciate you bringing them to our attention. Please keep in mind, Gigapan has limited development staff and these changes will take time.

We appreciate your patience and loyalty as we work towards restoring Gigapan as a leader in gigapixel community. We remain committed to supporting our existing hardware and website users and if you have any specific questions, please feel free to email us directly at

-Team Gigapan

Lewis Canyon Petroglyph Site – Gigapan Images

Reprinted: SHUMLA Lewis Canyon Petroglyph Site – Gigapan ImagesPast Horizons. August 22, 2013, from

Extreme polecam, Copyright (c) Mark Willis and The Shumla School, Inc. 2013.

Lewis Canyon Petroglyph Site is located in the Lower Pecos Region of Texas and situated on a near flat stretch of limestone bedrock adjacent to a steep walled canyon. Hundreds or maybe thousands of prehistoric petroglyphs were carved into the rock in this area. 

Creating a map of the site
Some of the designs appear to resemble atl atls (a dart throwing weapon), human-like figures, animals and animal tracks but the most common elements are abstract circles, lines, and dots.

A revolutionary technique was used to map the area so it can be seen as a single Gigapan image, which can be zoomed into at incredible detail.

A group of five archaeologists walked a series of transects holding a Canon digital SLR camera on the end of a painter’s pole, taking photos straight down at about every 2.5 metres across the entire site. The surface is more than 175 metres (~600 feet) east/west by 160 metres north/south (~525 feet). A total of 2,400 images were used to create this mosaic.

On closer inspection, the viewer will note the eastern half of the site was photographed at dusk on one day and the western half after dawn on the next day. This was done to capture the petroglyphs with the strongest shadows possible and from the best angle that the two sides of the site required.

A huge single image
All of the photographs were then processed as a mosaic image using an advanced photogrammetric technique and exported into GIS software and geo-corrected. The data was further enhanced and turned into a huge single image 135 gigabytes in size. This was down sampled so that there is a single pixel in the Gigapan for every millimetre of ground surface. The resulting image was then uploaded to for others to examine.

Archaeologists have been drawn to the site since it was discovered. A number of well-known rock art researchers, artists and archaeologists have studied the petroglyphs including Forrest Kirkland, A.T. Jackson, Solveig Turpin, and Jim Zintgraff.  The new researchers hope this digital documentation will help others better understand this amazing resource.
Some of hundreds of petroglyphs and geoglyphs covering the survey area.survey area. Copyright (c) Mark Willis and The Shumla School, Inc. 2013.

Extreme pole aerial photography
View the Gigapan image here:
Once opened, click on the “Snap Shot” icon on the lower left, it will open a strip of images along the bottom. If you double click on a image it will zoom to that spot.
Extreme polecam, with 2400 images covering the survey area. Copyright (c) Mark Willis and The Shumla School, Inc. 2013.

If you would like to learn more about this site or visit it, the Rock Art Foundation can help:

Copyright (c) Mark Willis and The Shumla School, Inc. 2013. All rights reserved. No part of this information and imagery may be reproduced, stored in a retrieval system, or transmitted in any form or by any means without the prior written permission of Mark Willis or Shumla.
Source: SHUMLA and Mark Willis

Duke University’s Aware Camera at America’s Cup

by guest contributor David Brady, Duke University

For the first time in the history of the
America's Cup, this year's races in San Francisco were held in a natural amphitheater observed along the shore. Spectators along the waterfront got real-time race data on smartphone apps while television broadcasts overlaid boat track, speed and separation along with wind and tide direction. Along with revolutionary boats and dramatic narratives, the races of the 34th America's Cup provided an excellent opportunity for computationally enhanced and interactive media. Such a dramatic event taking place on such a large scale was a natural target for panoramic photography. 

Duke University’s Imaging and Spectroscopy Program (DISP), with support from the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency, builds compact, wide field of view, high-resolution cameras ideal for the capture of events such as the America’s Cup. In contrast with traditional, scanned panoramas, DISP's Aware cameras take instantaneous snapshots of the full field of view. DISP currently has two such cameras, named Blue Devil and Wild Cat based on the Aware 2 design. Blue Devil uses 96 14-megapixel micro-cameras to produce 700 megapixel images over a 120 degree by 50 degree field of view. Wild Cat uses 30 micro-cameras to produce 200-250 megapixel images. DISP, and DISP spinoff Aqueti, have numerous next generation panoramic cameras in fabrication, including Triton, a 3-gigapixel snapshot camera, and the Aqueti qG, a tripod-mountable, 250 megapixel camera.

With support from Gigapan, DISP had already used Aware 2 cameras to capture and distribute high definition snapshots. We used Gigapan Tag with Blue Devil to produce a taggable photo of Duke's 2013 graduation ceremony. Between Blue Devil and Wild Cat, we captured over 400 snapshots at that event. Unfortunately, fully automated panorama production is not yet producing satisfactory results. Most DISP images posted on Gigapan are optimized using Kolor's Autopano Giga, which we used with Wild Cat to produce high definition snapshots at recent Durham Bulls and Duke Blue Devil games. The Aware cameras are computational imagers, ultimately requiring full camera operating systems with advanced exposure and focus control, novel image data formats, and sophisticated image formation and display strategies. As we continue to develop Aware software and hardware, event capture has been helpful in defining essential specifications and operational challenges and opportunities.

After months of testing and activity, and rather than waiting for Triton or qG, DISP went to the America's Cup with the camera on hand. Although somewhat challenging with Wild Cat and Blue Devil as prototype cameras in large boxes, races 6 through 10 of the 34th America's Cup were the most exciting shooting campaign to date for the DISP Aware team.

Shipped from North Carolina to San Francisco, DISP rented a big truck to haul Wild Cat around. Here are DISP's staff photographer, Jack Anderson, and the Aware project manager, Steve Feller, with Wild Cat on the truck:

The America's Cup Event Authority generously supported DISP with media passes and site support for the campaign. While we were familiar with the AC72's and had seen them cruising the bay on television, nothing could match the seeing them from the staging area off of Pier 23:

e took our first snapshots of these boats up close on the morning of Thursday, September 10:
Ready to Rumble

Later that afternoon, with the assistance of America's Cup SUVs and golf carts, we staged Wild Cat at the Golden Gate Yacht Club and observed races 6 and 7 looking toward the Golden Gate Bridge:

Race 7 of the 34th America's Cup

Friday, September 13 was not a racing day, so we spent time wandering around America's Cup Park and shooting self portraits. We were surprised to find an interesting snapshot in this one:

Bare Foot Guy Working High Above Athena

We deployed the truck in the tailgate region of America’s Cup Village at Marina Green for races 8 and 9 on Saturday, September 14:

This vantage point gave us a clear view of the race course over the yacht clubs and across the spit that we affectionately named Kiwi Point:

Kiwi Point

The image across Kiwi point was our favorite of the campaign, coming in race 8. Race 9 was cancelled midway through after winds exceeded threshold. We got a reasonable shot of the crowd at Marina Green leaving when the cancellation was announced.
Leaving the Cup After the Race

We loved shooting the races at the Golden Gate Yacht Club and at Marina Green, but our friends at the America's Cup let us know that they had enough pictures of boats. We feel, of course, that our shots of the AC72's in the context of the full fleet in the Bay and the crowd along the shore give unique opportunities to explore the full scene but we agreed that on Sunday, September 15 we would shoot pictures of the crowd at Marina Green rather than the race. Once we had deployed Wild Cat on Kiwi Point we had trouble explaining to spectators why we chose to point the camera the wrong way. We decorated Wild Cat with both flags to remain politically unbiased. 

The range from Kiwi Point to the stands is a bit far for Wild Cat’s 115mm focal length equivalent, but we hope that the folks on the shore can at least recognize themselves:

America's Cup Crowd

We also experimented with Gigapan Tag with these images, as seen

Our goal at the America's Cup was to capture as many images as we could and put them online as quickly as possible. With the use of the America's Cup Media Center for image processing and the efficient Gigapan Upload utility, we were able to capture several hundred images each day, scan for our favorites and post several of our choosing. In the end, we posted 26 images. Each image requires 15-30 minutes of processing time, with much still to learn about optimal processing.

While we are developing real-time processing systems, images posted from the America's Cup use Matlab image processing scripts and Autopano Giga for stitching. The processing scripts are still quite rudimentary; the posted images are formed from nearly raw sensor data. With a goal of posting images within ten minutes, we were unable to achieve as much quality as we can with further processing. We learned a lot about how to make our images better. In analyzing the Kiwi Point image, for example, we found that edge aware demosaicing (below right) outperforms bilinear demosiacing (below left):

We also learned that we could substantially improve our images with more advanced denoising and color processing, as shown in this comparison of one of the Marina Green crowd shots after Photoshop processing:

While improved image processing is an easy fix for Aware images, the most significant artifacts in our America's Cup images arise from differences in exposure and focus across the micro-camera array. The capacity to independently manage exposure and focus is, of course, a central advantage of the multiscale architecture. Management of this advantage is, conversely, a serious challenge. With more time to control contributions from diverse micro-cameras, we are providing (below) a better focused version of the Kiwi Point data. The colors are also richer, although nonuniformity in the stitching of the sky shows why we cropped it in the fast stitch version.
Kiwi Point Once Again

We thank the America's Cup and Gigapan for helping us get through this experiment. While our images are not perfect, they are the only zoomable, multi-scale images that will ever exist for this America's Cup. We look forward to taking the lessons learned from this experience in building gigapixel snapshots of future critical moments in time.

Gigapans of New Student Orientations and Convocations

Several universities and colleges capture their freshman classes and new student orientations using Gigapan  technology. Students have been photographed in many interesting ways, from filling the bleachers to standing in formation of their graduating year. Now students can zoom in, find themselves, and commemorate a historic time in their lives.

Check out a few examples from the following universities:

Rutgers University

Radford University

Vanderbilt University

Did you know Gigapan offers Education and Research Incentive discounts? For qualified applicants, Gigapan will offer the opportunity to purchase a Gigapan EPIC or EPIC 100 with a discount of 20% off the listed price. To learn more about how you can apply for the Gigapan Education and Research Incentive, please contact us.