A gigapixel is an image 100 times larger than that produced by an average 10 megapixel camera. Sounds astonishing, a file so huge that you can zoom into an image of a crowds as large as say the US Presidential inauguration and see every face.
These two pictures are from the same image just zoomed in!
This is a really fascinating prospect, that allows examination of a picture at perfect resolution. Perhaps it is city scapes that float your boat in which case a canvas so huge that you can see the whole vista and then zoom into to see single rooms
OK so now you are interested.
These astonishing images are created using a bit of kit from Gigapan, these are holders that take your camera and move it in a precise manner to enable you to capture any number of images and then stitches them together to make one image. You define your top left point and your bottom right point of what you want included and let it do it’s stuff. It moves and presses the shutter release, overlapping each frame enough to allow it to stick them together seamlessly. It really is remarkable. The images are so huge that to appreciate them you need to view them on screen so that you can zoom in and pan around. A print, however huge would just not do it justice.
The website for Gigapan is very informative with lots of advice and tutorials, so an good place to start investigating. The gigapan contraption can take a wide range of camera types from compacts to dslrs. The gigapan site has a gallery that shows work already done by enterprising photographers, here is a link to the most popular
You really do have to go and have a play with these images, this site is a series of images from Vancouver and here you can wander around the Grand Canyon looking at individual rocks and bushes
This really is so much fun, do go and have a look
Now there is a new development that takes the whole thing to another level. Gigalinc is an “immersive photography” project by University of Lincoln student Samuel Cox that allows people to explore gigapixel photographs on a giant display using arm movements and hand gestures.Using an Xbox Kinect sensor for motion detection and a large cinema display, the resulting user interface is strikingly similar to the interface Tom Cruise uses in Minority Report. You can watch the video on how this works here