32 search results for "gigapan"

My Flying GigaPan

It took a couple of weeks for Jeffrey Warren’s message to sink in.  At first I thought his workshop on balloon aerial photography at the Fine gigapixel conference in November promoted a fringe pursuit – lofting cameras on tethered helium balloons to make better maps than were currently available.  But this pursuit emerged from the elegant convergence of modern camera technology and traditional lofting methods (balloons and kites).  It was now possible for anyone to make good, current “maps” from stitched, low-elevation vertical photographs.  Jeffrey is committed to inventing workarounds to the technological and financial obstacles that would otherwise put this process out of reach of the communities that might benefit from good maps.  This was the focus of his thesis at MIT, and he has had great success bringing communities together around these new map images and the experience of making them.  He has made the objective so compelling, and the process so simple and inexpensive that I soon realized I had to try it.

Hot list of gigapans

I have been collecting data about the gigapans I upload to gigapan.org ever since I noticed some unexplained behavior in the View counts and Explore Scores of my first public gigapans. Unlike YouTube, Gigapan does not make archival user data publicly available, so it has to be independently collected. Kilgore661 has been doing a great public service by collecting these data for all gigapans for about three years, and you can explore his archive here and use his nifty graphing tools. I have more than a year’s worth of slightly denser data on my own gigapans. Graphs of these data are wildly revealing about the nature of Explore Scores and the inherent differences among gigapans in how they accumulate Views. I hope to show some of these results at the Fine Outreach for Science Workshop in November.

The number of Views and the Explore Score for four of my gigapans for their first three months. Click to enlarge.


Unlike Kilgore661, I wasn’t smart enough to use the gigapan API to automate this process, so I have been screen scraping and I just had to stop. The gigapan API is essentially undocumented, but thanks to Miriam at gigapan and Will at Fastie Systems, I now have a tool that collects the pertinent data on all of my gigapans and makes it easy to paste it into Excel. You can see the tool in action here, and learn how to install it on a Web page to fetch the information about your own gigapans.

Hot Gigapan Data

(The links below are currently showing only the most recent 60 gigapans due to recent changes at gigapan.org)

The gigapan API (application programming interface) allows you to query the database at gigapan.org for information about all the public gigapans there. Click here for three examples of how the API can be used to list all of the gigapans from a single gigapanner. These pages are created on the fly with fresh JSON data every time the page is loaded. The coding was done by Will Fastie who had never parsed JSON data before but obviously knows his way around objects and arrays.

The first table is a list of all my public gigapans with some statistics and a link to view each one at gigapan.org. At the bottom of the page are links to two other ways to display and capture the data. One is a more sparse list which I use to paste into Excel. The other is a list of comma separated values which can go into a text file which can be imported into your program of choice. The data returned describes only the current state of a gigapan; temporal trends emerge only after data has been iteratively accumulated over time.

To install this at your Web site, visit the page, view the source, sequentially click to view and copy the source of each of the three htm files, the css file, and the js file, and paste the content into five appropriately named files which must reside at your server (the backspace key is the BACK button in the View Source window). In each of the htm files, you will have to change two variables (full name and the gigapan user name) and edit the URL at the bottom of the page to insert your user name.

Gigapans in Google Earth KML tours

I have incorporated some gigapans into Google Earth KML tours and tried three ways to share the tours with others: embedding, KML preview, and downloading.  There is not a clear winner. An earlier post has examples of all three methods.

A Google Earth KML (keyhole markup language) file can contain placemarks, paths, and polygons, but it can also include a tour in which recorded navigation movements (flying around) and an audio track can be played back. If a gigapan is included in a KML file which also includes a tour, the user can see where the gigapans are on the landscape and see previews of the gigapans. When the KML tour is stopped, clicking once on the gigapan icon (or the translucent panorama) opens a popup bubble with a thumbnail and the entire description from gigapan.org. Double clicking on the gigapan icon (or translucent panorama) flies you into the panorama just as the “View in Google Earth 4.2+” link at gigapan.org does. The recorded KML tour itself cannot include flying into a gigapan; that part does not seem to play back properly.

Monahan media

Abstract:
Shrub cover in treeless areas of the arctic has increased in the past 50 years. Spruce seedling establishment in areas near the forest boundary has also increased suggesting tree line advance. In order to describe the effects of shrubs on seedling establishment, we measured shrub cover in study plots south of the Alaska Range. In each of ten 50 m x 50 m study plots located at either elevational treeline (five plots) or above treeline (five plots), 10 sample points were systematically selected, and 10 additional sample points coincided with naturally established white spruce (Picea glauca) seedlings. At each point, the presence of all woody species was recorded at six heights: at ground level, < 0.25 m, 0.25 m to 1 m, 1 to 2 m, 2 to 4 m, and > 4 m above ground level. Results indicate almost ubiquitous cover of woody plants in the two height classes under 0.25 m at both systematic sampling points and at spruce seedlings. The frequency of each higher shrub height category at sampled points with seedlings differed significantly from the frequency at the systematic points (χ2 = 26.3, p =.0000337). Points with seedlings had less shrub cover overall than the systematic points, particularly in the tallest height categories. The frequency of tall shrubs at points with seedlings was about half that at the systematic points. Very similar patterns existed in both the tree line and above tree line study plots. These results suggest that seedlings preferentially establish in sites without tall shrubs. Shrubs may therefore limit establishment of white spruce at tree line, and continued shrub expansion may inhibit forest migration.

A downsampled version of the full resolution crop of the gigapan.

A downsampled version of the full resolution 4×5 crop of the gigapan. A placeholder for arranging text and images until you can get the full resolution version.

Link to this gigapan: http://www.gigapan.com/gigapans/108494
Link to your gigapan from mile 98: http://www.gigapan.com/gigapans/158454

The images below are linked to higher resolution images. To download the higher resolution version, open the image in a new tab first. To get the original image (even higher resolution), contact me.

Collecting data in Plot MT5

Collecting data in Plot MT5

Collecting data in plot MT5. Plants in the foreground include blue joint grass (Calamagrostis canadensis), and

Collecting data in plot MT5. Plants in the foreground include blue joint grass (Calamagrostis canadensis), and bear saxifrage (Boykinia richardsonii)

Collecting data in plot MT5. Plants in the foreground include   lingonberry (Vaccinium vitis-ideae), bunchberry (Cornus canadensis),  and crowberry (Empetrum nigrum)

Collecting data in plot MT5. Plants in the foreground include lingonberry (Vaccinium vitis-ideae), bunchberry (Cornus canadensis), and crowberry (Empetrum nigrum)

Collecting data in plot MT5. Plants in the foreground include  alpine blueberry (Vaccinium uliginosum) , lingonberry (Vaccinium vitis-ideae), bunchberry (Cornus canadensis),  and crowberry (Empetrum nigrum)

Collecting data in plot MT5. Plants in the foreground include alpine blueberry (Vaccinium uliginosum) , lingonberry (Vaccinium vitis-ideae), bunchberry (Cornus canadensis), and crowberry (Empetrum nigrum)

Collecting data in plot MT5.

Collecting data in plot MT5. Plants in the foreground include bunchberry (Cornus canadensis), fireweed (Epilobium latifolium), and wild rose (Rosa acicularis).

Collecting data in plot MT5

Collecting data in plot MT5

The above treeline transect from Plot MA5.

The above treeline transect from Plot MA5.

Collecting data in plot MA5

Collecting data in plot MA5

Collecting data in plot MA4

Collecting data in plot MA4


White spruce seedlings (here marked with pink flagging) are locally abundant at treeline and above treeline.  Plot MT1.

White spruce seedlings (here marked with pink flagging) are locally abundant at treeline and above treeline. Plot MT1.


Two tagged white spruce seedlings in treeline  plot 1 at Monahan Flats. The low shrub cover is typical of spruce establishment microhabitat and includes alpine blueberry (Vaccinium uliginosum), shrub birch (Betula nana/glandulosa), and crowberry (Empetrum nigrum).

Two tagged white spruce seedlings in treeline plot 1 at Monahan Flats. The low shrub cover is typical of spruce establishment microhabitat and includes alpine blueberry (Vaccinium uliginosum), shrub birch (Betula nana/glandulosa), and crowberry (Empetrum nigrum).

Collecting shrub height data at a spruce seedling in plot  MA4

Collecting shrub height data at a spruce seedling in plot MA4


Spruce seedling in study plot.

Spruce seedling in study plot.


Collecting data in plot MA4

Collecting data in plot MA4

The above treeline transect near plot MA2

The above treeline transect near plot MA2. The treeline transect is in the spruce forest in the middle distance.

Kite aerial photo of part of the "At Treeline" transect at Monahan Flats.

Kite aerial photo of part of the “At Treeline” transect at Monahan Flats.

Kite aerial photo of part of the "At Treeline" transect at Monahan Flats.

Kite aerial photo of part of the “At Treeline” transect at Monahan Flats.

All 10 plots combined (at and above treeline).

All 10 plots combined (at and above treeline).


NDVI zenithal image  from a systematic sampling site in an above treeline plot. Green denotes NDVI values greater than 0.1.  From a photo taken by an infrared NDVI camera.

NDVI zenithal image from a systematic sampling site in an above treeline plot. Green denotes NDVI values greater than 0.1. From a photo taken by an infrared NDVI camera.

NDVI zenithal image from a systematic sampling site in a treeline forest plot. Green denotes NDVI values greater than 0.1.  From a photo taken by an infrared NDVI camera.

NDVI zenithal image from a systematic sampling site in a treeline forest plot. Green denotes NDVI values greater than 0.1. From a photo taken by an infrared NDVI camera.

False color NIR image. NIR reflectance is displayed as red.

False color NIR image. NIR reflectance is displayed as red.

Panorama of the above treeline transect at Monahan Flats. Dashed line  marks the location of five 50x50m plots. The treeline transect is down the hill in the distance in the forest of spruce trees.

Panorama of the above treeline transect at Monahan Flats. Dashed line marks the location of five 50x50m plots. The treeline transect is down the hill in the distance in the forest of spruce trees.

Kite aerial photo mosaic of plot 4 above treeline at Monahan Flats.  Locations of white spruce seedlings are marked.

Kite aerial photo of plot 4 above treeline at Monahan Flats. White spruce seedlings were marked with pink flagging before photography. Circles are locations of white spruce seedlings.

Kite aerial photo of plot 1 in the above treeline transect at the Monahan Flats study area. White spruce seedlings (white triangles) were marked with pink flagging before photography. Spruce seedlings are more abundant in areas of low stature woody plants (e.g., crowberry, lignonberry, cassiope) which appear grayish from above.

Kite aerial photo of plot 1 in the above treeline transect at the Monahan Flats study area. White spruce seedlings (white triangles) were marked with pink flagging before photography. Spruce seedlings are more abundant in areas of low stature woody plants (e.g., crowberry, lignonberry, cassiope) and lichens which appear grayish.

Titan 2 launch

Teddy launching the Titan 2 under a Flowform 16.

Teddy launching the Titan 2 under a Flowform 16.

I almost didn’t make it to the farm yesterday because 1) one of my A590s died, 2) the old CHDK sync mode does not work with A590s, and 3) it took me a while to install and learn how to use the new CHDK. Teddy almost didn’t make it because I was not sufficiently explicit about which gate I meant and he waited at the other gate. But we were flying the Sutton Flowform 16 by 5:00 PM in a janky 15 mph north wind with gusts of 20 mph. The Titan 2 Rig made its maiden flight with two A590s triggered by an MK111 timer.

The Titan 2 Rig with two A590s triggered in sync by an MK111 timer.

The Titan 2 Rig with two A590s triggered in sync by an MK111 timer.

One of the A590s was full spectrum (its IR block filter had been removed), and it had a 720 nm IR filter in front of the lens. So that camera saw mostly near infrared light. I white balanced that camera on grass, and the photos have a little color in them. We took 565 pairs of visible/infrared pairs over the Middlebury College Organic Farm. The cameras were aimed straight down, but the wind was swinging the Picavet quite a bit, so we got lots of slightly oblique photos, and more than 100 of the pairs were before or after the flight part of the flight. The shutter speed on both cameras was locked at 1/800 second at ISO 80, and most of the photos were taken at f 2.8. Some of the NIR photos were taken at f 2.6 (the max aperture), but there was not much difference in exposure between the two cameras. About 80% of the photos have no conspicuous motion blur.

Kite’s eye view

In the late nineteenth century, hand drawn “bird’s-eye maps” were a revelation to earthly New Englanders. When exotic hot air balloons were the only way to gain such a perspective, enterprising artists just imagined what a bird might see. The customers for these maps lived and worked in the buildings depicted, so these are probably placed with some accuracy, relying on existing maps for data. It is the details of the rest of the landscape that were recorded nowhere else. In the 1889 drawing below, cleared fields, orchards, and shrubby growth nearly to the top of Hogback Mountain confirm the wisdom that in 1850 the entire slope, like others all over Vermont, was probably cleared of trees. Today, the young ages of the trees tell the same story, but an old bird’s-eye view is still a revelation.

Grave images

Chopping hay below the Fled as I walk alongside.

Chopping hay below the Fled as I walk alongside. Click images to enlarge

My town’s cemetery committee would like to have maps of the grave stones in the three town cemeteries. The late Fletcher Brush cataloged the headstones in each cemetery in the 1990s, and probably made hand drawn maps, but it would be nice to have more official versions. I was asked on Thanksgiving about helping with this mapping, and the next day was beautiful AND had a nice south wind. Flying a kite over the cemetery in the village requires a south wind, and the row of overhanging locust trees along the edge makes late autumn the best season to image all the headstones from above. So I couldn’t resist exploiting what might be one of the last good opportunities to image this site for a long while.