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unknown > Shanghai Skyline - Stitched From 12,000 Pictures - 上海风景线 - 由12000张图片拼成 by Alfred Zhao

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About This Gigapan

Taken by
Alfred Zhao Alfred  Zhao
Explore score
272.31 Gigapixels
Date added
Dec 17, 2010
Date taken
May 25, 2010

EPIC Pro + Canon 7D + Canon 2X...


Shanghai, one of the most populous cities in the world, has never been pictured in such enormous detail. Let the world experience this fast growing city and understand China is always my dream. Through my telephoto lens, I wish you, the viewer, can blend into the daily life in Shanghai and enjoy your virtual visit.

Before being introduced to Gigapan, I used manual panorama head (Manfrotto 303SPH) and fisheye lens to take spherical panorama and build virtual tours for my clients. In late 2009, I learned about the Dresden 26 Gigapixel image (www.dresden-26-gigapixels.com/dresden26GP Will open in a new tab or window) created by the world renowned German photographer, Holger Schulze. It was then the world largest image. This compelling image absolutely fascinated me. Until today, I still think the Dresden image is one of the most important milestones in man’s pursuing of the world largest photograph. A few months later, a new world record was released; it further intrigued me, I decided to give it a try myself.

In March 2010, the first batch of Gigapan EPIC Pro was still on pre-order. Without any hesitation, I boldly placed a pre-order and received this precisely engineered yet inexpensive device in early April. Other necessary equipments were also ordered, by mid-April, all the hardware was ready.

To build the world largest image is not a trivial project; there are many challenges and barriers. To name a few, the density of the camera’s image sensor must be high; the optics must have long focal length yet still light enough to be maneuvered by a robotic panorama head; large amount of images must be transferred directly onto a laptop; the devices must be powered for extended hours; the photo location must have large amount of details to avoid empty pixels such as sky, water surface; the weather must be calm so that the camera is less likely to vibrate due to wind; the light condition must be consistent throughout shooting… I know this is an extremely difficult undertaking, but it is worth the effort.

My first attempt was on April 22nd, 2010, the day was partly sunny. I planned to take an image set of 9,000 pictures, but had to stop because of the change of weather condition. I ended up with a set of only 1,500 images. Spring in Shanghai is often cloudy or rainy; I have to wait for the perfect weather. The second time window appeared on April 29th, 2010. That day, I was able to complete a set of 9,000 images; however, I spent too much time to setup the equipment and didn’t start shooting until 10:30am. When I was done with the image set, it was almost dark. The image set suffered significant lighting change and only the first 6,000+ images could be used. Back in April 2010, once stitched, even 6,000 images should set a world record; however, I saw the possibility of acquiring even larger image set. Finally, the third time window appeared on May 25th, 2010. Learned from the previous experience, I started very early and got everything ready by 8:00am. The shooting started at 8:30am, with an average of 2.4 seconds per image, I took 12,000 images and finished shooting before dusk. Bingo, now I have the raw data.

Acquiring the images was just the first step towards the goal, to stitch it, post-process it and display it were a long way to go. Since this was a side project, I didn’t have much time to work on it. As months went by, I watched people setting new world records almost every month throughout 2010. This year is gigapixel image year. I never imagined such fierce competition. Finally, my image was completely stitched on Sept 20th, 2010. The raw stitch was a 1.24 TB image file. I wrote several tools for post-processing and finally generated the result image of 1,089,248,410,452 bytes (1.09 TB). The 1/1000 thumbnail of the un-cropped raw stitch is also on Gigapan at www.gigapan.org/gigapans/61595/ .

Post-processing and uploading took me another three months, now it is finally open to public. This is not the end of my panorama journey, it is a new start, challenging the limit is an infinite process. New records will appear in the future, it is only a matter of time.


Image dimension: 887276 (w) x 306908 (h)
Date taken: May 25, 2010
Shooting time: 8:30 am – 4:30 pm
Date stitched: Sept 20, 2010
Date open to public: Dec 20, 2010
Raw image size: 1.24 TB
Raw cropped image size: 1.09 TB
Total pixels: 272.31 G
Horizontal viewing angle: 175 degree
Vertical viewing angle: 65 degree (+5 degree to -60 degree)
Total shots: 12,000 (150 columns and 80 rows)
Lens: Canon 400mm F5.6 and 2X tele-converter
Camera: Canon 7D (18M pixels per image)
Estimated overlap: 28% (set to 25%)
Average time per image: 2.4s
Estimated optical pixels: 112G pixels
Projection: spherical
Related images
This is the man cave (office) where I stitched this image. www.gigapan.org/gigapans/68015/
My other Gigapan images ordered by size

www.gigapan.org/gigapans/66287/ (Artist Point – Yellow Stone National Park – 110G pixels)
www.gigapan.org/gigapans/59267/ (Park Avenue – Arches National Park – 77G pixels)
www.gigapan.org/gigapans/57941/ (My Backyard – Round Lake, IL – 43G pixels)
www.gigapan.org/gigapans/58980/ (Lower Delicate Arch Viewpoint – Arches National Park – 15G pixels)
www.gigapan.org/gigapans/59095/ (Balanced Rock – Arches National Park – 9G pixels)
My favorite images taken in China

www.gigapan.org/gigapans/66837/ (Guilin)
www.gigapan.org/gigapans/66909/ (Guilin)
www.gigapan.org/gigapans/67296/ (Lujiazui’s night – Shanghai)
www.gigapan.org/gigapans/66841/ (Liu Garden – Suzhou)
www.gigapan.org/gigapans/66834/ (Zhuo Zheng Garden – Suzhou)

Due to the enormous size of this panorama image, uploading onto Gigapan is also a non-trivial task. I received great help from the Gigapan team, especially Paul Heckbert, Vanessa Constanti, and Randy Sargent.

Gigapixel photography is expensive and time consuming, without the un-conditioned support from my family, this wouldn’t be possible.
More Information

For more details about the creation of this image as well as my panorama related research, please visit www.shanghai-272-gigapixels.com Will open in a new tab or window/ . In addition, I will post the updates on twitter twitter.com/alf168 Will open in a new tab or window , for those who are interested in my panorama journey; you are welcome to follow me.

The creation of this panorama is intended to explore the limit of photo equipment, computer hardware, network resource and various other contributing factors that limit the size of a panorama image. This is by no means a perfect image; there are many aspects to be improved.



上海是全世界人口最多的城市之一,之前没有任何一张照片以如此多的细节来描绘这个城市。这是一张关于上海的“清明上河图”。我拍摄此图的目的是让世界来感受这个快速发展的城市,让世界来更多地了解中国。通过我的超长焦镜头,我希望您作为一个访客,能够融入到上海的都市生活中,来体验一个普通上海人的一天。 我作为一名久居海外的华人,仅以此图献给我的故乡-上海。

在接触Gigapan之前,我使用Manfrotto 303SPH手动云台和鱼眼镜头来拍摄球形全景并且为我的客户制作虚拟旅游图。2009年末,一个偶然的机会,当我在浏览网站时,我看到了由德国著名摄影师Holger Schulze拍摄的26G像素的德莱斯顿(Dresden)全景 (www.dresden-26-gigapixels.com/dresden26GP)。 Will open in a new tab or window 当时这是世界上最大的图片。这幅震撼人心的图片让我很久不能平静下来。直到现在,尽管很多摄影师已经突破了26G像素的图片,我仍然认为这是具有里程碑意义的重要图片之一。 几个月后,又有新的世界纪录问世。 自此,我决定,我要为中国也做一幅这样的图片,希望能为中国人争一口气,在国际竞争中占一席之地。

2010年3月, Gigapan EPIC Pro云台还没有正式上市,在没有看到和试用过这个设备的时候,我毫不犹豫地预定了一台。四月上旬,第一批EPIC Pro上市了,我得到了其中的一台。这是一部非常精密的摄影设备,我爱不释手。在四月中旬我回上海出差之前,全部设备都准备就绪了。

想要创造新的世界纪录并不是一件容易的事情,有很多的限制因素。这包括,相机必须有最高的像素密度;所使用的镜头必须是在云台承载范围内焦距最长的;图片必须直接存储到计算机上;拍摄现场必须有办法为设备长时间供电;拍摄场景必须有丰富的画面,要避免大量天空或水面的空白像素;天气必须平静,这样才不会有风带来的震动;光线条件必须在整个拍摄过程中保持稳定… 尽管有很多的困难,我觉得这是值得去挑战的事情。


可以说,拍摄还只是万里长征的第一步,拼接、后期处理、和显示还有很多困难。由于是一个附属项目,我的时间投入很有限,所以进展很慢。而与此同时,2010年,超大图 的世界纪录在不断地被打破,几乎每个月都有新的记录诞生,我只好望洋兴叹。好在我的图片还足够多,但是时不待我。我完全没有想象到竞争会如此激烈。9月20日,图片终于拼完了。未经后处理的图片是一个1.24 TB的文件。我写了一些工具软件进行后期处理,最终图片为1.09 TB。未经后处理的图片的 1/1000缩略图的网址是http://www.gigapan.org/gigapans/61595/ 。



图片尺寸: 887276 (w) x 306908 (h)
拍摄日期: 2010年5月25日
拍摄时间: 上午8:30 – 下午4:30
拼接完成日期: 2010年9月20日
正式发布日期: 2010年12月20日
未经后处理的图片文件尺寸: 1.24 TB
剪裁后的图片文件尺寸: 1.09 TB
总像素量: 272.31 G
水平拍摄角度: 175度
垂直拍摄角度: 65度 (+5 度到 -60度)
全部图片数: 12000张 (150 列, 80行)
镜头: 佳能400mm F5.6超长焦镜头和 2X长焦增倍镜
相机: 佳能 7D (18M 像素)
重叠量: 28% (设置为25%)
每幅图片平均拍摄时间: 2.4秒
光学像素量: 112G像素
投影方式: 球形
这是我拼图时所使用的办公室的图片: www.gigapan.org/gigapans/68015/

www.gigapan.org/gigapans/66287/ (美国黄石国家公园 – 110G 像素)
www.gigapan.org/gigapans/59267/ (Park Avenue – Arches National Park – 77G像素)
www.gigapan.org/gigapans/57941/ (我的后院 – Round Lake, IL – 43G 像素)
www.gigapan.org/gigapans/58980/ (Lower Delicate Arch Viewpoint – Arches National Park – 15G 像素)
www.gigapan.org/gigapans/59095/ (Balanced Rock – Arches National Park – 9G 像素)

www.gigapan.org/gigapans/66837/ (中国桂林- 两江四湖)
www.gigapan.org/gigapans/66909/ (中国桂林-世外桃源)
www.gigapan.org/gigapans/67296/ (上海外滩远眺陆家嘴)
www.gigapan.org/gigapans/66841/ (苏州留园)
www.gigapan.org/gigapans/66834/ (苏州拙政园)

由于图片尺寸极大,上传至Gigapan网站并非易事,感谢 Gigapan团队给予的巨大帮助,尤其是Paul Heckbert, Vanessa Constanti, 和 Randy Sargent。


更多关于制作这幅图片的信息和我在全景摄影方面的研究成果,我会逐渐在我的网站上发布 ( www.shanghai-272-gigapixels.com Will open in a new tab or window/ ) 。 我会把更新信息发布在twitter上( twitter.com/alf168 Will open in a new tab or window ) , 欢迎加入我的twitter群。


Gigapan Comments (84)

Toggle Minimize gigapan_comment
  1. Alfred  Zhao

    Alfred Zhao (December 21, 2010, 10:02PM )

    Regarding the resolution comparison, it was a question raised by someone in the community to me privately. I just share some results in the thread. There is absolutely no intention to demean you. However, I do see people negatively comment on my image that was worth of 9 months of decent work. One more comment for Dubai image, due to the lacking of random rotation mechanism on Gigapan website, the most popular image always get extra boost. This is not a fair game. It buried a lot of great shots in gigapan. This is shared feeling among many gigapaners. I hope you can understand that. No offense though.

  2. Alfred  Zhao

    Alfred Zhao (December 21, 2010, 09:48PM )

    Gerald, The point I am trying to make is: A. Autopano Giga has its reason for interpolation, since we all use the same tool, we should use the same baseline. If one people set to 50%, the next one set to 70%, there is no apple to apple comparison. To show spherical image on a 2D space, the closer you get to the north or south pole, it will have to be extrapolated. That's why the north and south pole in the world map looks so big. This is the scientific reason behind it, so there is really nothing wrong with the Autopano tool. Alter the slider ruin the baseline. That's why I strongly disagree the comments in the thread. In addition, a good panorama should be properly cropped. I am trying to raise the bar here.

  3. Gerald Donovan

    Gerald Donovan (December 21, 2010, 09:16PM )

    Hi Alfred - Not sure if there's a delay in comments getting posted, or whether my last one didn't get through. If similar comment comes through twice, my apologies in advance. Briefly: (1)Strange that you accuse me of having a "sour feeling" of other people having broken "my record" when I have already in these comments corrected someone who was saying how great the Dubai one was, and pointed out how there are others out there WAY better than it. Such as the Vienna one. It's not my record that's claimed to have been broken here. And I can assure you that on the day someone published a panorama that beat the Dubai one on both size and quality, I was actually delighted. And mightily impressed. (2) If you want to do a "scientific comparison", then do one. Posting two images on flickr doesn't exactly help people now, does it? You could just have easily posted links to the two snapshots here on gigapan. For reference, having done a quick check on Google Maps (don't have Earth at work), the sign in the Dubai panorama that you link to is on a building roughly 900m away from where the camera was. Not sure how far away that building is in your example, but I'm sure you can provide the details. A proper objective comparison of image quality across different panoramas is of course something that is both interesting, and useful. That image quality will of course be impacted by a number of factors not limited to interpolation. But of course, all that is clouding the actual issue here. I recognise that you state you're happy to let Gigapan do whatever it feels. I think I - and others here - are simply questioning why you do this. Regards, Gerald.

  4. Alfred  Zhao

    Alfred Zhao (December 21, 2010, 07:15PM )

    Gerald, first of all, the flckr snapshot is removed, if you can not tolerate people doing some simple scientific comparison, that's fine. You said you intentionally manipulate the Autopano result by adjusting the slider, I don't think it is the right way to do things. That means you can control how much pixels you want to have. I think the best way is to emit at 100% and clearly state the estimated optical pixels. That is what I did. If you have sour feeling about other people break your record, that's understandable. In any case, my image set has 12,000 images, it is something very few people ever did.

  5. Gerald Donovan

    Gerald Donovan (December 21, 2010, 06:58PM )

    Hi Alfred - I'm not sure what you're trying to prove (apart from infringing my copyright) with your flickr images. The question here is not one of whether or not "Can we safely conclude, the Shanghai image has at least the same resolution if not higher [than the Dubai image]?". Ignoring the fact that of course it should be - it was taken with double the focal length - the issue here is that you appear to have knowingly and deliberately allowed a known "flaw" in the Autopano Giga software to massively extrapolate YOUR image. Comparing it with other images is irrelevant. You have repeatedly done this with your large panoramas, despite it having the issue pointed out to you on a number of occasions. I simply don't understand why you continue to do this. Autopano Giga/Pro has a simple little slider that allows you to adjust the size of the output panorama. I've used it myself on several of my more recent gigapans in order to "correct" what was clearly a ridiculous output size for the image taken. As you point out, this tends to happen where there is a large variance between above and below horizon FoV's (couple of my examples - latest Burj Khalifa gigapan and the Sheikh Zayed Mosque one). I'd much rather be discussing the clearly impressive feat of taking and stitching 12,000 images, and the subsequent tiling and uploading by the way, but if you want to keep going down this path, that's entirely up to you. Kind regards, Gerald.

  6. Raymond Goldfield

    Raymond Goldfield (December 21, 2010, 05:55PM )

    So much detail! Congratulations! New world record, you should apply for Guinness.

  7. Alfred  Zhao

    Alfred Zhao (December 21, 2010, 12:43PM )

    At about the same distance. Let's compare two snapshots. Dubai Snapshot (estimated 4000 mm x 1330 mm) farm6.static.flickr.com/5002/52815 54082_eb5f9ebf71_b.jpg Will open in
a new tab or window , Shanghai Snapshot (estimated 200 mm x 67 mm) farm6.static.flickr.com/5284/52809 52347_5153ce9a26_b.jpg Will open in
a new tab or window . Shanghai image is 6 times larger in pixel size and only 2.5 times larger in terms of optical pixel size. Yet, to achieve the same resolution, Dubai image requires 400 times larger area. Can we safely conclude, the Shanghai image has at least the same resolution if not higher?

  8. (December 21, 2010, 09:51AM )

    The comparison between a 1 gigapixel image and the full res you made here www.gigapan.org/gigapans/60750/ was very useful. I would be interested in seeing a similar comparison between the "optical resolution" and the interpolated image.

  9. (December 21, 2010, 08:56AM )

    Hi Alfred, We discussed the issue with Autopano outputting the wrong resolution in the comments here: www.gigapan.org/gigapans/59267/ and I see you list the correct resolution for what you shot under "optical resolution" What is the reasoning for doubling the resolution with interpolation?

  10. Alfred  Zhao

    Alfred Zhao (December 21, 2010, 07:49AM )

    To answer Karim from Dubai. When you look at the 1/100 ( www.gigapan.org/gigapans/60750/ ) comparison and the 1/1000 ( www.gigapan.org/gigapans/61595/ ) comparison, the levels of detail is significantly different. In terms of picture overview, people can argue, picture taken using super wide angle lens can capture the same scene with the same amount of information as the gigapixel panorama. The best way to see the difference is to zoom into the same location and compare side by side to see the detail being captured. In the community, we were discussing have an information measure attached to each gigapixel panorama. Entropy measure can be a quantitative way to do so. In this case, empty sky and water surface etc should discount the amount of information in the picture. Blur detail should also discount the total amount of information. I am actively thinking and practicing how to improve the image quality for future super large panorama. It is a very hard task, also, cost is another limiting factor, Will Canon 1DS plus 800mm F5.6 prime lens do a much better job? I think it will show difference. Then, we will have to buy the Clauss Radeon HD to hold the monster equipment. But it is one way to do it.

  11. Gerald Donovan

    Gerald Donovan (December 20, 2010, 11:31PM )

    @karimsaad Thanks for the kind comment, but I feel I should jump in and offer a different opinion. The Dubai 45 Gigapixel has got its own flaws, and is by no means the best multi-gigapixel panorama out there. There are a few others that have been done, but not hosted here, which I am more than happy to recognise as being of much higher quality. The 50 gigapixel image of Vienna immediately springs to mind as being much, much better.

  12. Giga Works

    Giga Works (December 20, 2010, 10:29PM )

    Very good quality but no interest in going so big to see a piece of window. I saw the 1/1000 version which is less than 1 Gigapixel and it delivers the same info as this one!. Still Dubai 45 Gigapixel is the best in terms of size, quality, information, subject, composition and worldwide impact! Still the most explored! But finally well done Alfred!

  13. Ron Schott

    Ron Schott (December 20, 2010, 05:41PM )

    Alfred, Congratulations on a massive achievement! I'm impressed that even at this huge size the image maintains good detail throughout the entire zoom range, making it truly worthy of the designation of Worlds Most Detailed Image. Having shot a 20 gigapixel image myself, I am in awe of the patience and perserverence it must have taken to capture and stitch this monster. Well Done! What will you do for an encore?

  14. Alfred  Zhao

    Alfred Zhao (December 20, 2010, 05:16PM )

    Hi, Isaac, here is a comparison, www.gigapan.org/gigapans/60750/ , you may also check out the 1/1000 thumbnail to see the major difference. www.gigapan.org/gigapans/61595/

  15. Terror Pixels

    Terror Pixels (December 20, 2010, 05:10PM )

    Yes I do understand your reasoning and how you ended up with the 272G, however I don't see any difference between this simply uprezzing 500 shots from a 2 gigapixel camera to achieve this number. You might as well make it a terapixel based on this methodology.

  16. Alfred  Zhao

    Alfred Zhao (December 20, 2010, 05:02PM )

    Please refer to the statistics section in the description about the calculation. You may also refer to my comment on the sugar loaf image. Most people here use Autopano Giga to produce final stitch. I listed both stitched size and optical pixel estimation.

  17. Terror Pixels

    Terror Pixels (December 20, 2010, 04:49PM )

    I hate to be again making this comment (I think I did on your last one), but really it is terribly misleading listing it at 272G. Even if there's interpolation within the stitcher this is not a true representation of size. It's a brilliant shot, and looks very well done - good work on that, but I strongly disagree with your final megapixel count.

  18. Alfred  Zhao

    Alfred Zhao (December 20, 2010, 11:23AM )

    I used Autopan Giga to stitch the photos. The final image is emit at full size from Autopano. The optical pixel amount is listed in the statistics section of the description. During the gigapan conference, I asked the same questions to Alexandre Jenny (Kolor's founder). The interpolation happens when the photos are primarily taken below or above the horizon.

  19. Gerald Donovan

    Gerald Donovan (December 20, 2010, 11:09AM )

    Hi Alfred - Great job taking the 12,000 shots and stitching them, but there's a huge amount of interpolation going on here. 2.3 times the number of pixels that you would expect from that lens/sensor field of view combination. Where do they all come from?! Regards, Gerald.

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