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A GigaPan unit with a camera

GigaPan is a collaborative project of Google, Carnegie Mellon University and NASA Ames Intelligent Systems Division's Robotics Group. Its goal is to facilitate the taking of large (gigapixel) composite pictures, presenting the data as a single image and providing efficient web access and browsing and zooming of such images.



GigaPan is a robotic camera mount that integrates with an appropriate digital camera, typically set to maximum zoom, to scan a large image area via tiling. The tiles of collected data are then aligned and merged into a single very large composite image.

Gigapan Systems offers the unit for public sale. There are several weblogs of people who created similar devices. The main ingredients are:

  • a camera mount bracket
  • a tripod mount plate
  • two stepper motors or servo motors
  • motor driver electronics
  • two gear boxes
  • either a pull magnet with an arm to push the release button or electronic control for camera's with remote control option
  • a micro controller board, even one as simple as a Basic Stamp will do
  • the micro controller software
  • housing material

In addition to the acquisition and merging of the image data, an efficient feature is also provided to allow for efficient web client browsing of the data by providing a top-level regular-sized view of the image and the ability zoom in on any area, transferring only the high-resolution data for that segment of the image.


Gigapan is an open website - anyone can upload photographs to it, and anyone can place comments on those photographs.

Illah R. Nourbakhsh, Associate Professor at Carnegie Mellon University spoke about Gigapan on BBC's "Digital Planet" radio show and podcast on September 11, 2006 .[1]

Stockholm Views publish a review of the beta GigaPan imager and software including some tweaks.[2][3]

Gigapan has been used by British satellitte television company Sky Movies during their Action Month season with lookalikes of action stars such as Bruce Willis and Arnold Schwarzenegger appearing around London.[4]

See also


External links

Demos and video



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