Biggest image on Wikipedia?

According to Submitterator user Frycook, the largest image on Wikipedia is a 25MB, 461 megapixel panorama of the interior of the Georgetown Power Plant Museum in Seattle. My browser refused to render it, and it crashed three image apps before I found one that I could snap a thumbnail out of.

Georgetown_PowerPlant_interior_pano.jpg (Thanks, Frycook, via Submitterator!)



  1. You crashed three image apps with a 25MB JPG file? What kind of machine are you working on, a Commodore 64?

    1. @Spencer Cross – it’s 25mb on disk, but it’s highly compressed. Unexpanded, it’s a 1.3GB image.

      But it’s *so* compressed that I’m skeptical it needs to be that big. I’m pretty sure it could be reduced to half in each dimension without meaningful loss of detail. That’d make it a quarter the size and much easier to deal with.

  2. Morkuma – you sure that’s a floating head? Might just be a head someone left lying around there. Maybe it’s a bodily challenged co-worker playing hide and seek with the other employees further to the right near the back. Either that or the head is sticking out of that big roundish grey metal thing which could be a giant iron lung. Possibilities are endless. Unlike the head. That ends. Right there. All floaty. Weird.

  3. I’m also worried about the Boy on the gantry right of centre. What kind of power source are they using here?!

    1. It’s seems kind of cruel to dress the twins alike when one of them has legs and the other doesn’t.

    1. Thanks for that link about Google Maps. I have recently begun to experiment with this kind of photography, and over the past few days started to wonder what the best way is to share my huge images (other than inviting my friends over to see eight-foot-wide prints on my living room wall).

  4. Besides, the quality of the shots is absolutely horrible, even in the small resized version it’s not good enough to fill out the extra pixel with more than a mush. Absolute waste of space and time there.
    It really looks like it was made with a compact camera at high iso.

  5. Someone should check the cables holding the winch hook. The two on the right of the picture seem very frayed near the top.

  6. Well, I’m quite pleased to say my browser rendered the image just fine. Slowed things down, a little, but kept on trucking.

  7. Kudos to the photographer, flaws aside. That took some patience… I’ve spent several hours working panos that are only 1/4 that size. Still, for an effort of that scale I think I’d have not been able to resist the temptation to bracket each shot to give it the HDR/tonemap treatment.

  8. I like high resolution images. I don’t quite understand the need to produce ones this big for the internet. Most content on the internet is compressed–even this photo is a jpg. For most practical/casual usage purposes, there is no need for gigantic high detail/bitrate/etc information that exceeds the typical output fidelity.

    1. I’ve used Hugin to make some panoramas. It works well, and it’s free — although it does take some practise to work out how to use it.

      Two examples, just made with my five-year-old compact 5MP camera: Lincoln Cathedral — 3×3. Uig (I think…) — 3×1.

  9. I live a mile from this and had no idea it was there, and I’ve worked in power stations before. I can’t wait to go see it. It’s going to be a tie between this and the mechanical phone switch as favorite SODO attraction.

  10. Three linux image apps (GIMP, Geeqie and Eye of Gnome) all loaded it and performed the few manipulations I tried. Slowly. Did take most of my free 1.8G ram.

  11. konqueror displayed the power plant, eta carinae, the luisiana heron and the sagrada familia without a hitch (besides download time). 8GiB of RAM here.

  12. The power plant pic linked to at the top is NOT a high-resolution image. It’s large, for sure, in terms of raw “physical” measurements. But, it’s still only a 72ppi, low-resolution image. Resolution is a measurement of pixel density, not overall dimensional measurement.

    That nebulae image that #19 links to, on the other hand, qualifies as a high-resolution image, at 269ppi. It’s beautiful, btw.

    Why that power plant image chokes Firefox for me, though, is a mystery. FF simply says it can’t display the image because it contains errors.

    1. You’ve given me a great idea for a Yo Mamma joke.

      Take a picture of someone’s mom, set the resolution to 0.01ppi (if that’s even possible), post on the internet.

      “Yo momma so big, her picture is the biggest on the internet.”

  13. Thorzdad – the 72ppi value is meaningless; it’s just an arbitrary value assigned to every picture taken in a digital camera. After all, a digital image simply has NO physical size at all. If you really insist on an anal definition of the term to decide whether an image is “high resolution” or not, pixels per inch won’t do; you need pixels per degree (or arcminute or arcsecond)of the camera’s field of view.

    That said, I did the math. The image as currently downloaded is still 25Mb but the pixel dimensions are 13592X8498, giving a roughly 115 megapixel image. Irfan View took all of five seconds to load it, on a 5-year old machine. I used to routinely work with 380MP images; it had no problem loading those too (although load times were considerably longer)

  14. I use to own a black and white draft image of a Saturn V rocket detailing some of it’s specifications. I think it was around 25MB. It crashed alot of image viewers of the time. Irfan View took 15 seconds to load it on an by then new Pentium III. ACDSee newer version crashes, oddly the older one loads fine and much faster then Irfan View of the time.

  15. qiv segfaulted… gwenview is sitting at 1.8G resident! awesome!

    also, I’m disappointed with the vertical bars…

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