Accepted Papers (2010)

A year in an urban forest: Dairy Bush GigaPan 2009-2010

posted Nov 9, 2010, 11:49 AM by Unknown user

M. Alex Smith, University of Guelph.

The urban environment is expanding at a never before seen rate.  Existing natural environments within urban centres, such as forests or woodlots, are exposed to increasing anthropogenic pressures of degradation, fragmentation, biological invasion and destruction.

One key to our capacity to understanding these changes will be ongoing monitoring through time. If such monitoring is democratized and publicly available then one may assume that a marginalized environment may become more valued by the human population. On the University of Guelph campus in Ontario, Canada, the ìDairy Bushî is an 8.5 ha woodlot that has been part of the city and the university campus since 1830. The sign outside the Bush reads, "The Dairy Bush is a unique and delicate example of Great Lakes St. Lawrence forest in Southern Ontario, and serves as an outdoor laboratory for University of Guelph students." 

Between August 2009 and September 2010 I visited the Dairy Bush weekly to document a year in this urban woodlot using GigaPan panoramic images. 

Adapting Traditional Macro and Micro Photography for Scientific Gigapixel Imaging

posted Nov 9, 2010, 11:44 AM by Unknown user

Jay Longson, NASA Ames, University of California, Santa Cruz.
Gene Cooper, Four Chambers Studio.
Molly Gibson, NASA Ames, EAP.
Rich Gibson, NASA Ames, CMU, Gigapan Project.
John Rawlins, Carnegie Museum of Natural History.
Randy Sargent, Carnegie Mellon University, CMU, Gigapan Project.

Traditionally, GigaPan technology has been used to acquire  high resolution panoramas of large scenes. While this application is useful for many scientific pursuits, it excludes the macro and microscopic realms of scientific research. An increasing number of scientific disciplines (biological, medical, and material science) require high spatial resolution imagery but suffer from an insufficient  lateral field of view.  A mosaic of microscopic images solves this problem by capturing the entire subject while maintaining a high spatial resolution. This paper explores the application of gigapixel imaging technology to the macro, micro, and nano scales. We discuss the design and implementation of three different instrument adaptations that enable automatic mosaic capture of images through optical microscopes, scanning electron microscopes, and macrophotography. This includes a discussion of motion control, focus stacking, and image stitching. The resulting images represent virtual, archival, and explorable specimens.

Applications of GigaPans to Geoscience Education and Research

posted Nov 9, 2010, 11:39 AM by Unknown user

William Beatty, Winona State University.
Kairies Beatty Candace, Winona State University.
Jennifer Piatek, Central Connecticut State University.

Geology is an inherently visual science, but geoscientists often have few visual resources (e.g. single scale field photographs and hand samples) to record and present information about landscapes and outcrops.  The GigaPan technology allows us to expand these resources to include visualization at multiple scales within a single panorama.  These panoramas are key for assisting educators, as exploring diverse geologic settings and collecting data outside the classroom helps students to understand geological processes and builds problem solving skills.  Unfortunately, significant amounts of field work (which allow students to observe outcrops, landscape features, and geologic concepts and processes at a variety of scales) are difficult or impossible to incorporate into classes, particularly large introductory courses, for both financial and logistical reasons.   Panoramas acquired for research purposes are valuable for recording field data (precise visual location of samples within an outcrop) and later analysis that cannot be completed in the field.

We have incorporated GigaPan technology into the classroom by developing virtual field experiences that allow students to view outcrops or landscapes at a variety of scales. Using panoramas is advantageous because they encourage students to explore and to be actively engaged with the image.  They are also well suited for open-ended, inquiry-based exercises.  In large lecture settings, panoramas are used mainly for exploration and observation to illustrate concepts.  Panoramas geolocated with Google Earth help to illustrate the relationships between outcrop-scale features and regional geology. Introductory lab exercises employ both panoramas and hand samples to give students hands-on experience in rock identification and observation while exploring landscapes.  Intermediate and advanced courses challenge students to integrate information from panoramas and hand samples to make interpretations beyond what they can directly observe.  With the addition of petrographic thin sections, students are expected to make interpretations from field data and observations from the landscape scale down to the microscopic scale.  Plans to create additional panoramas of hand samples and thin sections are being developed in order to make these materials accessible to a wider audience.  Panoramas of research locales are being utilized along with analysis of other field data to explore local variables such as slope and the relationship with weathering, location of field samples, and identification of small scale outcrop features.

Applications of gigapixel imaging in vertebrate paleontology

posted Nov 9, 2010, 11:35 AM by Unknown user

Matthew Lamanna, Carnegie Museum of Natural History.

Gigapixel imaging has numerous potential applications for research and education in vertebrate paleontology and associated fields. Due to its portability, and because it enables the user to quickly and easily capture enormous amounts of visual information, the GigaPan system holds considerable potential for documenting fossil localities (e.g., macrovertebrate quarries, footprint sites) and their geologic contexts (e.g., stratigraphic sections). Gigapixel imaging promises to improve the documentation of fossils as well; in particular, recent advances in the gigapixel imaging of small objects have demonstrated the extraordinary potential of these methods for documenting the morphologies of diminutive fossils in remarkable detail. Finally, gigapixel imaging constitutes a powerful tool for enhancing educational efforts in paleontology. For example, an annotated GigaPan of a museum exhibition, displayed either within that exhibition or online, provides an engaging platform for presenting information or concepts that might be more difficult to convey via traditional methods.

Bridging arts and socials sciences: animated and interactive panoramas in visual research

posted Nov 9, 2010, 11:33 AM by Unknown user

Roderick Coover, Temple University.

The essay considers how the digital panorama combined with techniques of motion media and interactive layering can provide makers with ways to integrate diverse research materials in a common environment. The paper goes on to consider how such uses of panorama also enable user agency, choice-making and learning. Examples include the author's works Something That Happened Only Once (2007) and Outside/Inside (2008).

Comparing Gigapixel-scale Images

posted Nov 9, 2010, 11:28 AM by Unknown user

Randy Sargent, Carnegie Mellon University / GigaPan Systems.
Chris Bartley, Carnegie Mellon University.
Paul Dille, Carnegie Mellon University.
Mary Jo Knelly, Carnegie Mellon University.
Ron Schott, Fort Hays State University.
Illah Nourbakhsh, Carnegie Mellon University.

Ever wished to be two places at once?  Gigapixel-scale images capture environments for later exploration.  We present technology and approaches to place two (or more) gigapixel-scale images side-by-side on a computer screen, allowing simultaneous exploration and comparison of environments which might be separated by space or time.  This simultaneous exploration allows more effective discovery of similarities and differences in the case that the salient areas for comparison arenít known prior to image capture.  What might be a slow, iterative process moving back and forth between locations, now becomes efficient.  And what might be impossible comparing two moments in time becomes possible.

Estimating stand basal area from forest panoramas

posted Nov 9, 2010, 11:26 AM by Unknown user

Christopher Fastie, Middlebury College.

A common forest inventory technique involves making 360∞ visual scans within forests and selecting a sample of trees by assessing the horizontal angle subtended by their trunks. These samples allow quick and accurate estimates of forest stand basal area.  All of the information required to complete such estimates can be obtained from high-resolution panoramic photographs of forest interiors.  Stand basal area in an Alaskan birch forest was measured and the result compared to estimates of basal area made using a traditional Bitterlich visual scan in the field and an equivalent protocol performed on gigapixel images captured with a GigaPan imager.  The image-based method has great precision and acceptable accuracy when tree trunks are not obscured by other trees or shrubs, when stitching is error free, and when adequate depth of field provides well focused images.  This technique may have application using panoramas taken for other purposes, including historical photographs.

Exploring the Excited Skin: Gigapixel Imaging of Soil Profiles and Landscape Contexts

posted Nov 9, 2010, 11:22 AM by Unknown user

Ken Tamminga, Penn State University.
Rick Stehouwer, Penn State University.
Patick Drohan, Penn State University.

Soil profile pits are a primary in situ tool in understanding soil genesis and structure. When considered in the context of the landforms that underlie them, and when seen as a small revelation of the ëexcited skiní that gives rise to plant communities and land uses, profiles can deepen our appreciation of soilís critical importance in landscape-level processes and sustainability.  This paper discusses how gigapixel imaging can assist in visualizing soil profiles and their details online, remote from the site, for both pedagogical and research purposes.  It also demonstrates how the system can serve as a convenient and accessible clearinghouse for linked soil, geological, plant community, and spatial landscape data.

Giga-stan X: Extreme Gigapanning in Central Asia

posted Nov 9, 2010, 11:20 AM by Unknown user

Michael Frachetti, Washington University in St. Louis.

The mechanics of Gigapanning are tricky at first, but experience makes the process easy for nearly everyone. Sometimes though, the conditions under which Gigapans are being attempted demand creative work-arounds and preemptive strategies to ensure quality images. This poster will address the technical and social issues of shooting Gigapans in "extreme" conditions across the former Soviet republics of Central Asia (the "ístans"). This includes high altitudes of the Tian Shan and Pamir Mountains (above 3000m), high temperature (above 45 deg C) and complicated social settings (such as in the center of a Unesco protected monument!). Although not apparently preventative to taking gigapans, these conditions add difficulty to effective shooting and set-up. Simple planning considerations, technical solutions, and mishaps (of course!) will be illustrated in the poster.

GigaPan Dialogues in Environmental Education

posted Nov 9, 2010, 11:14 AM by Unknown user

Laura Tomokiyo, Carnegie Mellon University.
Eileen Coughlin, Falk Laboratory School.
Jacque Goodburn, Burgettstown Area School District.

Using the GigaPan imaging and discussion platforms, two Pittsburgh-area schools have shared each others environmental learning experiences, virtually exploring a mine drainage remediation facility and sharing water analysis experiences.  In addition to enhancing the existing environmental science curriculum with new spaces, the project saw students grow in initiative taking, collaboration, reflection, and communications skills.   Educators found that the experience added to their repretoire of classroom approaches and that student enthusiasm and facility with the technology fostered a collaborative relationship between student and teacher. Key cross-curricular connections were made as students from both schools reflected on an issue close to home: drilling of Marcellus Shale.

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