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Dutch snap world's largest digital photo

Images fused into 2.5bn px monster

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The Netherlands Organisation for Applied Scientific Research has produced what it claims is the largest digital panoramic photo in the world. At 2.5 billion pixels, it's 500 times more pixel-packed that can be produced with modern five megapixel consumer cameras.

The photograph shows the Dutch town of Delft and its surroundings in the autumn of 2004. It was taken from the top of the Electrical Engineering faculty of Delft University, at a height of about 100 meters, using a ordinary Nikon D1x and a 400mm lens. If this photo were to be printed, the photographers say, it would measure 6.67m by 2.67m at 300 dpi.

The 2.5 gigapixel image is - of course - a montage of images rather than a single snap and seamlessly fusing the separate images was the main technical challenge. The Dutch David Baileys says they developed a sophisticated approach to make sure the 600 individual photos matched edge-to-edge, involving an automatic computer-controlled pan-tilt unit. Once stitched together the megasnap covers 78,797 by 31,565 pixels. Creating the montage required the capacity of five high-end PCs for three full days.

The Delft überpic currently claims to be the world's largest - smashing the record held by the first image to break the gigapixel barrier. In that case, the pic was a manually-constructed photo of Bryce Canyon National Park in Utah by Max Lyons, comprising 196 separate photographs. ®

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