Pittsburgh Gigapanorama

posted Nov 8, 2010, 6:27 PM by Unknown user   [ updated Nov 8, 2010, 6:40 PM ]
David Bear, CMU STUDIO for Creative Inquiry.
Ruth Karlin, Pittsburgh Gigapanorama Project.
Paul Heckbert, Create Lab.
Art Wetzel, Pittsburgh Supercomputing Center.

The first Pittsburgh Gigapanorama captures a 360-degree panorama of southwest Pennsylvania as seen from the 845-foot high rooftop of the U. S. Steel Tower. An assemblage of four separate Gigapans, it totals 31.3 gigabytes (10.5 gigapixels) of information. The printed version (23 feet long by 44 inches high) is being shown and will be the focus of a 2-month exhibit this fall in the U S Steel Tower. The second Pittsburgh Gigapanorama to be shot in late September will surpass this image in terms of size, clarity, uniformity, and ìexplore scoreî and its gigabanner will be unveiled during the U. S. Steel Tower exhibition. 

This abstract proposes a conference poster that in addition to the image itself would briefly address some of the issues involved with creating and assembling separate and massive gigapans into a single image. 


The Pittsburgh Gigapanorama is one facet of the High Point Park Investigation, an ongoing project being conducted by David Bear in the CMU STUDIO for Creative Inquiry. The project is examining possibilities to create a publicly accessible facility on the one-acre roof of the building, which happens to be the largest, highest space on top of any structure on earth.
Conceived as a way to convey to the public the incredible perspectives available from the rooftop, the Pittsburgh Gigapanorama is also morphing into an entirely new way to capture urban portraiture and historical information. 

Figure 2. A snapshot showing detail.  For more detail, see
http://gigapan.org/gigapans/506/snapshots/144342/ .

In addition to presenting a remarkable digital image and printed gigabanner that have been
created with the expertise of CMU, the Create Lab, and Pittsburgh Supercomputing Center,
the Pittsburgh Gigapanorama is an exciting example of what this technology can do, both in
capturing information and the publicís attention and it also presents a remarkable perspective and vision of this conferenceís home city for its attendees. The possibility of linking the conference to a downtown display presents the potential for a unique, high-visibility, off-campus activity.    

1. The First Gigapanorama of Pittsburghî ñ Pop City Media, April 21, 2010
2. Pittsburgh Supercomputing Center ñ April 30, 2010
3. CMU Piper ñ 5/10/2010 this issue.
4. Bright Green Burgh ñ 4/29/2010 ñ A New Perspective on Pittsburgh