Friday, May 29, 2009

Ultra-Zooming for Science - Cool New Information Technology

"Billion-Pixel Pictures Allow Ultra-Zooming for Science"
National Geographic (May 27, 2009)

"If a picture is worth a thousand words, what's a thousand-megapixel picture worth?

"Such 'gigapixel' pictures allow viewers to zoom in from say, a panoramic view of President Obama's inauguration to the solemn expression on his face—as in one of the new technology's most famous applications.

"For scientists—many of whom gathered in Pittsburgh last week for training in new gigapixel technology—these ultra-zoomable images are becoming tools to improve the study of archaeology, geology, biology, and more...."

There's a description of how the technology works - and a eye-popping sample: a zoomable picture of the Great Temple Excavation at Petra, in Jordan.

Visitors start with a fairly ordinary-looking landscape photo with a lot of sand, rocks, and what's left of an ancient temple. You can zoom in to get a really close look at the grit on top of one of the columns, or anything else in the image.

I can see where this technology could be very useful.

And, a lot of fun.

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