World's largest panorama: London

Jeffrey sez, "I spent the last 4 months stitching 48 THOUSAND images together into a single panorama which lets you see things up to about 15 miles away. This image is about 4 times larger than the previous world record image, a 114-gigapixel image of Shanghai (at the time incorrectly labeled as 271 gigapixels) The panorama was shot from the top of BT Tower, using 4 cameras, lenses, and robots for moving the cameras. Three photographers using about $100,000 of gear spent 5 days up there. Ultimately we used 1 set of images which was shot over 90 minutes. Stitching was done on two workstations with 192GB and 256GB of RAM, using Kolor Autopano Giga stitching software. Sadly, the software choked on the gigantic dataset, and the stitching work ended up taking about 3 months longer than planned. This took a serious toll on my mental health. I am extremely happy to be finally putting this image out to the public and letting it see the light of day. Of course there are errors in the image. In the end we had to deliver it to the client with a deadline which had already slipped by months. At any rate, there are FAR fewer errors in the image that I expected. I hope you enjoy it. Can anyone find the pig?"

BT Tower 360 Panorama of London (Thanks, Jeffrey!)


    1. OK, so the guy spends months of his life and some portion of his mental well-being… and the first comment is “the controls feel backwards”.  

      1. Hi, 

        We’ll try to add a button to toggle “click/drag” and “pilot a camera around” modes of navigation, ok? ;-)

    2. Ironically it works exactly like I expected.  Perhaps I grew up playing to much Descent, but it feels like I’m looking at something, not being shown a picture.  I think it’s the fact that it is a spherical representation, not a flat picture that makes my mind want to “look” around and not move what I’m seeing.

      1. aww all I found was a bald guy reading the tabloids

        1. aww teh heck, it didn’t keep my spot, he’s in that building and the tabloid is partially readable. 

  1. Why have they got the click and drag backwards? I’m someone who changes the post-Lion OSX scrolling back to what I find natural, but this is actual clicking. And dragging. Not a flight simulator.
    Actually makes it really quite hard to use.

    Edit: Oh, also what the commenter above said, oops!

    1. Here you go. Tha panorama was taken from this location:,-0.139058&ll=51.521168,-0.138837&spn=0.003331,0.003578&num=1&t=m&z=18

  2. So much about this is wonderful.  I enjoyed looking at the reflection in the back window of a small red car in Fitzroy Mews.  The reflection shows BT Tower.  I can see the tower fine, but I can almost imagine seeing the cameras as well.
    Thumbs Up!

    1. Enhance 224 to 176… Enhance. Stop… Move in. Stop… Darn, I still can’t see Pris the Basic Pleasure Model… 

  3. CowTip: Don’t leave any important documents with your social security number or whatever on them by any windows in London.

  4. This is stunning!

    Having never been to London, though, I’m not sure what I’m looking at. I did find the Olympic stadium and I think Buckingham Palace.

    As you are zooming in, there seems to be a point where the image blanks then  resolves to a telescopic image, pull back out a little and the image again blanks and you’re back to a brighter non-telescopic image. Having used telescopes, it’s like changing the focal point quickly.

  5. This must be a Sunday morning, or London traffic is a treat. Also, Dick Van Dyke lead me to believe the rooftops of London were a little more magical.

  6. Hi, Author here.

    1. Sorry about the panning direction. We’ll work on getting a button to toggle click/drag and “look to” behavior.

    2. It’s a real honor to be here. Thanks for the kind words! The project was so big, the software choked, and it really did drive me batshit crazy. I basically turned into the guy from “The Monkey Chow Diaries” for 3 months. 

    Finally I’m returning to normal. Cheers everybody!

      1.  “I spent the last 4 months stitching 48 THOUSAND images together […] Three photographers using about $100,000 of gear spent 5 days up there.”

        “Everyone should have a hobby.”

        Man, it’s tough for a professional photographer to have his work taken seriously.

  7. Its been lovely knowing you all… but… I think I saw the Slenderman reflected in one of the windows… I won’t tell you where… save… your… selves…

    1. No. It’s only the last “major error” that I didn’t fix, because I ran out of time. An error like this would normally take 30 minutes to fix, but with this size dataset and the software’s problem with the amount of data, this takes about a week to fix :( I will fix it soon, hopefully.

  8. I feel like I’m operating a real-life version of that magical imaging software in crime shows that can “enhance” around corners and from miles away. It’s a really amazing experience to navigate, it feels much more like an environment than an image- are there any plans to extend it with, for instance, a map layer or similar in future?

  9. Those little mini cranes on rails on the rooftops; are they required by building codes in London?   Seems like they’re on the roofs of anything built after a certain date.

    1.  Are they the ones used by window cleaners… or maybe they are the gallows we use every Mass Executionmas; the one day a year when we close our borders and hang our politicians.

  10. I looks like it was a cold and lonely day:

  11. Oooh – a lovely shot of Alexandra Palace:

    Site of the world’s first public TV broadcasts.

  12. shockingly detailed – can just about read documents through people’s windows. not sure if this is good, bad, or just time consuming… :o|

    1. At this link, if you zoom out a tad from these gentlemen and go up to the rooftops behind them you will see a rooftop playground/soccer pitch for a school…and then just below the playground you will see a small roof area where all the soccer balls have gone to die.

  13. One of my favourite street names:

  14. If this took 90 minutes to capture on equipment costing about $100k and 4 months to assemble on two computers, is no one else wondering what you could do with a $1B budget and a whole data center at your disposal? Live video panopticon? Facial tracking 3D panopticon? From now on, I’m sticking to thoughcrime!

    1. Hi,

      The 4 months was mainly to get it NICELY aligned and blended. If you don’t care about artistic merit and aesthetic quality, you can probably get this whole thing online in a day.

      However, the optics are more or less stretched to the limit, and air is not transparent, so this aspect of the image is, I believe, taken to the farthest extreme that today’s technology allows.

  15. This is amazing. Kudos. I used to have to stitch together small panoramas for movie scouting. It could be extremely frustrating. I couldn’t imagine what it took to manually put this together, even with all the advances in tech. 

    1. Now I’m not an expert but from what I can tell, both of them are just a fraction of the resolution of this project. Granted, the second one is much better than the first one you linked to (which you can’t zoom at all really) but it’s still much, much less detailed.

  16. Wow. All those TV antennas, and no analogue TV signals going out in London anymore? Harvest and recycle startup ideas, anyone?

    1. Probably because pretty much everything you can see is rented (not owner-occupied), and there’s such a shortage of housing that landlord’s don’t have much incentive to make expensive improvements.

      1. I thought I should back that up.  It’s 65% renting in Camden (containing the building the photagraph is taken from, and extending north, but not most typical “tourist bits” of London).;jsessionid=73C82BCCC86D01551EE8B17D229392BA

        For all London it’s 48.4%, but will be higher in inner London:

  17.  A Renault Segway.   You lie down sideways controlling the vehicle with a dash mounted mouse, watching a screen below the dash.  150 of them were produced in 2007-2008, but most ended up in Tokyo.

  18. It looks like the front and the back of the car have been conflated by the image-stitching program. The hand belongs to the driver, he’s resting it on the dashboard; you’re looking at the windscreen, not the boot.

  19. Well you don’t have to be so serious lol.  I mean it’s pretty obvious what really happened.  More fun to pretend for just a moment that this is a real world image and that’s a real world item……..

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