Wednesday morning I went out into the field and took two gigapans, and was midway through a third one when my camera died. Wednesday evening I loaded the pictures from the first panorama into the Stitcher program, and it stitched all night. Yesterday morning I uploaded the panorama to Gigapan.org (and it took all morning!), and this morning I did the geolocating. So now I am ready to share my first Gigapan with y’all: please see here.

For the uninitiated (that is, most of you) a Gigapan is a robot that you mount to a tripod, then you mount your camera to it.

Camera mounted on Gigapan robot mounted on tripod - user side

Camera mounted on Gigapan robot mounted on tripod - user side

Above is what you see to operate the system, looking out into your panorama. Below is the “business side” of the system:

Camera mounted on Gigapan mounted on tripod - the "business" end

Camera mounted on Gigapan mounted on tripod - the "business" end

You turn your camera on to full zoom, then locate the upper left and lower right corners for your panorama. The unit then divides the field into r rows and c columns, and proceeds to take r x c pictures, starting at upper left, column by column, until it ends at the lower right. The Stitcher program then “seams” all of the pictures together AND creates layers from least resolution (full zoom out, like you will see in the first gigapan), then with increasing resolution as you zoom in. But, you have to upload the output of the Stitcher program to gigapan.org in order to view the panorama in that fashion.

I learned a lot in this process, like that I need to remember to take the autoexposure off – the sky was not two colors of blue, nor was it hazy, it was just an artifact of the camera setting. I also have to edit out one column of pictures on the left hand side of the panorama, as evidently one frame failed to take. All in all, not bad for a first effort.

I hope you go to the site and play with it. Zoom in, move around, zoom out, go to full screen. Look at some of the most popular Gigpans. It is majorly cool. Ultimately this and subsequent panoramas that Michael and I take here may find themselves into the Gigapan layer on Google Earth! I won’t be uploading any more panoramas until after I get back to the ATL on August 8. It takes about 30 minutes in the field to take the shots for one panorama. Then the stitcher takes overnight to put the tiles together. And the upload from here takes at least 5 hours. The last 2 steps limit my ability to do my other work, and I should be able to upload a lot faster from home or the office.

Other than that, it was very quiet yesterday, with only Susan, Leah, Kyra, and myself holding down the fort while the rest of the team was hiking Mt. Fengari. They got to 100 meters from the summit, but the guide would not allow them to proceed further due to concerns about the wind. They were not able to see the plains of Troy since they were on the wrong side of the peak. Nevertheless they had a fabulous time. They arrived back to the Xenia last night at 7:30, about 30 minutes before we were going to call in the Mounties, since we had expected them back before 5 pm. I am sure that Hugh and/or Abi will write more about the hike over at isamothrace.org.

Well I am off and into the site to take a few more Gigapans before lunch. More later…

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