Wednesday, November 30, 2005

The Gigapxl Project

I just listened to a great podcast from ITConversations that was a presentation at Pop!Tech 2005. It was a wonderful talk by Graham Flint about the Gigapxl Project. This is some amazing work where they are now taking pictures at extreme resolutions - close to 4 Gigapixels! That is close to 4000 Megapixels ... a LOT more than the digital cameras that you can buy today. They are using some highly custom cameras to be able to take pictures with incredible resolutions, built out of old U2 spy plane parts. These are still "film" cameras, but he also discusses the work on fully digital versions of these cameras being built.

In his talk he mentions some interesting things that they find when they are able to zoom in on these extremely detailed images. He talks about this image of paragliders on the coast of California. When his wife was reviewing the image, she found people watching with binoculars and telescopes ... but they were looking down ... not up! When they followed the track of the people's vision, they found that below the paragliders was a nudist beach! When they put this particular image in a museum, the resolution was so good that they had to mask the faces and heads of the nudists! This opens a whole new conversation about privacy ... and continues to beg the question "Is there such thing as privacy?"

The site has got a lot of very cool images, and examples of the abilitty to zoom. They even had a cityscape of my hometown of Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania!

I'll have to check which podcast had the Q&A, however they did bring up the questions of privacy. In this image of PETCO Park he talks about the fact that they have detailed images of ~15,000 people ... and how would you ever get a release from all of these people? As a friend and I talked about this, it means that a single photo of a demonstration or rally might give details images of the people attending. Uh ... what are you doing in that hotel room on the 15th floor?

It is truly some amazing work, and the podcast was a great listen. I've attached the link to this post ... we'll see if it works for you!


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