This is really exciting news.
Researchers at Carnegie Mellon University, in collaboration with scientists at NASA’s Ames Research Center, have built a low-cost robotic device that enables any digital camera to produce breathtaking gigapixel (billions of pixels) panoramas, called GigaPans.
The technology gives people a new way to make and share images of their environment. Through a new initiative with UNESCO, children in different parts of the world will use the Gigapan camera to learn about their neighborhoods and each other’s cultures. The Pennsylvania Board of Tourism is using Gigapan technology to let people everywhere explore the commonwealth’s Civil War sites. It is being used by students to document their communities and by the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania to make Civil War sites accessible on the Web.
To promote further sharing of this imagery, Carnegie Mellon has launched a public Web site http://www.gigapan.org, where people can upload and interactively explore panoramic images of any format.
Researchers have begun a public beta process with the GigaPan hardware, Web site, and software. In cooperation with Google, researchers also have created a GigaPan layer on Google Earth. Anyone using Google Earth can now fly into these GigaPan panoramas in the context of exploring the world.