Gigapanning on the Interoceanic Highway in Peru

Gigapanning on the Interoceanic Highway in Peru

The Interoceanic Highway is an international, transcontinental highway that runs from Peru to the coast of Brazil.  The highway is a mixed blessing for Peruvian villagers who live along its path.  The highway brings benefits such as reduced time to bring products to market and increased traffic along its route has helped the economy in the area but the highway is also bringing problems.  Problems are both environmental (such as deforestation, illegal hunting and fishing, soil erosion, loss of biodiversity, or loss of ecotourism value), and social (such as harm to indigenous populations, illegal crops, drug and arms trafficking, and prostitution.)

A group of Amazonian residents from the community of Puerto Maldonado have come together to make a sustained effort to develop ecotourism along the interoceanic route via ecolodges

These ecolodges are a viable economic alternative to other economic activities that degrade the environment, such as illegal mining and logging.  The project has been successful and some families have converted their land from farmland back to its original jungle state and are now engaged solely in ecotourism.

All businesses need marketing. This author was contracted to go into the jungle and photograph and film the families and ecolodges along the interoceanic route in Southeastern Peru.  The content generated will be used for marketing in websites and print.

One of the special capabilities that the author brought with him was a Gigapan Epic Pro camera.  Using a wide range of lenses he was able create a wide variety of images such as gigapixel images of the city and canopy of the rainforest as well as 360 virtual tours of ecolodges, papaya plantations and giant Brazil nut trees.  The great thing about having gigapan in the jungle is that it allows the web page visitors to explore the images in extreme resolution as well as explore 360-degree virtual environments.

The use of this technology gives these small ecolodges a competitive advantage that they normally wouldn't have.  If the ecolodges are a success then we have helps save the rainforest as well as helping the people.


Hiking through the jungle with my Gigapan Epic Pro


A brazil nut farmer in the peruvian amazon.  We used gigapan to take photos of his ecolodge, farm and giant brazil nut trees.


Kindergarten's Day at College

Last Friday-- 27 May-- we boarded a school bus to travel to Carnegie Mellon University's CREATE Lab. My 20 kindergarten students, carrying small suitcases full of circuit-building materials, were set to present their learning to a room full of CREATE Lab researchers. Mr. Jeremy (Jeremy Boyle, teaching artist who has worked with us all school year) met us outside and we walked together to the Lab meeting room. I have no idea what my students thought college was going to be like. We had been talking about it for weeks, but all they knew was that they were "going to college" for a day of teaching and learning.  

Once we settled into the meeting room, looked around, asked initial questions and shook hands to greet our new friends, children began their presentations. In partners, children opened their suitcases and taught the group something they have learned from our integrated project work this year, what Mr. Jeremy and I have named "Innovation Time." Topics included: What is a circuit? - What can be inside a toy? - What is a switch? - What can be conductive? - What is power? - What happens when you add more electrical power? - What can you do if you don't have more power? (series-parallel circuits) - When does polarity matter? (with a motor and with an LED) - What is a potentiometer?

As children shared what they know about circuits they became more and more comfortable with the idea of presenting to an audience (beyond our classroom). They asked, "Does anyone have any questions?" and if asked a question that other children in the class planned to teach about (a question about polarity, for example, came up early in the group presentation), the other children would say "someone else is going to teach that" or "don't tell them, shhh" (almost like it was secret what they were presenting to this group of researchers). 

What was evident through children's presentation of their learning was that young children (ages 5 and 6) have the capacity to know a lot about circuits and can appropriate what they know for their own expressions. With materials that are easy for small hands to use and a learning environment that promotes both exploration and expression, robotics content that may seem appropriate only for older children is not only appropriate for children of this age group, but is profoundly engaging and empowering.

Children's presentation of learning was only the first hour and a half of our day. Next, children got to learn about the GigaPan project, visit the Snakebots Lab, had a lunch meeting to explore the traits that make a robot a robot, take a tour of the High Bay and the Machine Shop (Illah told all of us to put our hands in our pockets) and finally we all walked across the street to learn about the ChargeCar.

This was a life-changing day for my students. We are still talking about all that we learned. Children are drawing and writing in books that tell all about what they did and learned. My students will continue to think about what is inside of things and how things work and this project (and this special day at college) have instilled in them the belief that they have the power to change how things are made. They can create new circuits to do new things, things that help the world-- bring people together, help the environment, and anything else they can imagine.

An enormous thank you to everyone in the CREATE Lab for this fabulous learning opportunity.



Melissa Butler, teacher

Pittsburgh Allegheny K-5

Pittsburgh Public Schools


[The specifics of our scope and sequence this past school-year, as well as the depth of meaning-making that is evident from children's work samples from this project are for another post. Jeremy and I are both working on organizing this data and reflecting on it to plan for next school year.]

Marshall University Year-End GigaPan Celebration!

The June Harless Center for Rural Educational Research and Development, part of Marshall University's College of Education and Human Services in Huntington, West Virginia held a year-end GigaPan celebration Monday, May 23.

The GigaPan camera is a simple robotic platform for capturing very high-resolution panoramic images with a standard digital camera. These images are then downloaded onto a computer, where the software stitches the pictures together to create a single navigable image.

Projects from the first of a two-year grant funded by the Claude Worthington Benedum Foundation were on display. The grant also enabled teachers to integrate innovative technology into existing curriculum. In addition, the project supported local and regional students to take GigaPan panoramic images of their communities and activities and share them with peers across the world.

Schools showcasing projects were from Marshall University Professional Development Partnership Schools and include Huntington High, Kellogg and Ceredo Elementaries, Vinson Middle, Cherry River Elementary in Nicholas County and Beverly Elementary in Randolph County.

Currently, students from the United States, Europe, Asia and South America are participating in the GigaPan School Dialogues project where they can upload, share and discuss GigaPan images (on secure, password protected site) and share them with others from around the world. In this way, they become knowledgeable about their own surroundings and understand and care about the problems their contemporaries face. GigaPan is a collaborative project between Carnegie Mellon University in collaboration with NASA Ames Intelligent Robotics Group, with support from Google

Using GigaPan Edu in Southern Chile

Kelluwen is a project aimed to develop didactic experiences involving social web tools in schools under poverty in southern Chile. We are making pilots, twice a year, involving several schools from different cities in southern Chile. Now we are in the middle of our third pilot with a total of 31 didactic experiences (31 different classrooms) in 12 different schools (most located in Valdivia). Some of these classrooms are running special instructional designs using GigaPan Edu equipment and site.

Now there are 9 classrooms in two projects on The two projects are:
(password is required to view projects) 

"Fotografiando y construyendo nuestros espacios geográficos y entorno" (Taking photos and building our geographic space and environment) in which groups of students of different classrooms take panoramas of their own locations. 

"Te cuento mi cuento" (I tell you a Tale), in which, students from different schools play roles of a story read and represent them in a sort of static theater.

We hope our classrooms are taking gigapans and commenting them in the next weeks, so take a look if you want. Unfortunately, all project  descriptions and comments are only in spanish!

I want to mention that training sessions were specially tiring. Some of the teachers needs quite well and precise instructions and I realize that it would be necessary to split training program into two sessions: 1) set up equipment (camera and robot) and taking panoramas, 2) stitching, uploading and linking panoramas to the educational site. We have an specially trained assistant per teacher, but still we want to give schools teachers the opportunity of using the equipment (some of them showed special interest and we expect they go further with it). Also I wrote a guide (thank you Clara for base material) in spanish. I include it below.

Daniel Guerra
Intituto de Informática
Universidad Austral de Chile
Kelluwen Team

Teacher Gives GigaPan A+

I am a teacher in an elementary/middle school in the Diocese of Pittsburgh and I learned about the GigaPan at TRETC, an educational technology conference two years ago where Dror Yaron introduced this robotic device at one of the sessions.  After seeing what the GigaPan could do, my mind was spinning faster than the 360 feature of the GigaPan itself, and I was recording mental snapshots in my mind about how I could use this incredible technological wonder at my school.  I wanted a GigaPan, but our school had other needs for our budget.  I didn’t give up hope.  I mentioned my interest to a parent from our PTG group after our mini-curriculum night at school.  About a week later, his son delivered a GigaPan Beta to my classroom!   This was such a surprise and I was so excited and thankful.  Now, I could start “stitching” my ideas together to create our school GigaPan project.  I had collaborated with our local Best Buy through a Best Buy Teach Award a couple of years ago, so I contacted the store  to see if they had a compatible camera. Best Buy generously donated one along with a 4GB memory card!  The school purchased the batteries with a charger and we already had a tripod and computer.  So,  we were ready to start GigaPanning!

I have a small Audio Visual team of middle school students at school and we learned how to set up the camera by watching Dr. Illah Nourbakhsh’s tutorials on YouTube.  The students learned so much and we got right to work and photographed our “Grand Canyon” bookshelves - similar to the bookshelf model used in Dr. Nourbakhsh’s tutorials.  We experimented with more GigaPanning throughout the year and learned a lot by trail and error. 

I took advantage of the opportunity to attend a hands-on GigaPan training at CMU on April 20, 2011. Tom, a seventh grade student who helps to train other students using the GigaPan, also attended with his mother.  This three hour session let by Clara Phillips was a great opportunity to review what we had been doing, get additional tips and tricks, share our successes with other GigaPanners, and ask questions.  Clara took her time demonstrating everything from setting up the camera and tripod to stitching and uploading the images to the GigaPan site.  She explained each step of the how to share GigaPans, take shapshots, benefits of tagging your photos, and placing them in Google Earth.  We also had the opportunity to take some GigaPans on site and share them.  The workshop was very well organized and it was a pleasure to be part of this class.  I also enjoyed meeting all the other attendees.

An added bonus to attending this workshop was meeting “Tank” the roboceptionist who directed us to the class when we entered the Newell-Simon Hall.  Thank you to CREATE Lab for all that you do for teachers, students, and the community!

Here is the animoto....

Zee Ann Poerio, Teacher
St. Louise de Marillac School

TFIM visit to Create lab

With the double aim of making robots accessible to non-experts and introducing high-schoolers to academics and student life at CMU, we invited a group of students from The Future is Mine to take a tour of the Gates-Hillman Center for Computer Science, led by experts on and inhabitants of the building - Facilities Director Jim Skees, Professor of Art Bob Bingham, and Masters’ Student David Adamson. Each tour guide provided their unique perspective on and stories of the space to a subset of the students. 

 Afterward, we introduced them to Cobot, another inhabitant of the Gates Cetner - Cobot is an autonomous service robot, designed for delivering mail and messages, and more importantly accompanying visitors, throughout the building. The students collaborated on scripting a tour that Cobot would deliver to later visitors, drawing from their tour experiences to tell their own story of the place, through words and images and movement.

 Minutes after they were done writing, the students were led on another tour - the very one they had written, and Cobot was their guide. They giggled at its synthesized voice and occasional wrong turns, and proudly spotted the parts of the tour that were theirs. 

Cobot delivered the TFIM tour to a group of younger students a few weeks later - they loved it! The students’ work will live on as part of a set of robot tours available to CMU visitors.


Just wanted to thank everyone for a great visit, tour, and learning experience with The Future is Mine student leadership group.  As a mentor, it is always rewarding to see students see and learn about something new in the world of technology.  The experience with the tourbot was so innovative. It really opened my eyes to the wonderful and useful ways that robots will  someday be used in our everyday lives.  I congratulate all of you at CMU’s Create lab for thinking “outside the box”.  Thanks again for a very informative and fun day!

 Diane Rutten, TFIM Mentor, Pittsburgh Carrick Culinary Arts Instructor

Charge Car Open House and Demonstration


When: Friday March 25, 3:00-6:00 PM

 Where: Electric Garage (old University Exxon) 

Come to the Electric Garage to inspect the first production prototype ChargeCar. We will have our technical staff on hand to describe the car's technologies, provide rides in all of the ChargeCar electric vehicles and discuss the costs of conversions locally. 

We will also open the very first Pittsburgh ChargeCar waiting list for signatures and will be ready to take the name of those serious about purchasing/converting their own electric vehicles at a local garage. The waiting list reservation requires a $50, fully refundable deposit.

There will be a special community participation call for suggestions in identifying a deserving nonprofit in this region that could benefit from an electric vehicle that ChargeCar could produce early in 2011. 

Refreshments and light snacks will be served. 

Read more about this event

Learn more about charge car at

ChargeCar's Electric Garage is located at the former Exxon Gas Station on the 4600 block of Forbes Avenue, next to CMU.
A map of the area can be found: here

GigaPan Upload software, version 1.1

There is a new version of the GigaPan Upload software available at (click on the "Download the Uploader" link there). As always, GigaPan Upload is free. There are Mac and Windows versions, numbered 1.1.1551 and 1.1.1552, respectively.

The difference between the Stitch and Upload apps:
GigaPan Stitch takes multiple overlapping images, typically tens of megapixels each, aligns them, blends them, saves them in gigapan quadtree format on disk, and can upload the quadtree to for sharing and web viewing.
GigaPan Upload takes an image in a single file, typically hundreds to thousands of megapixels, and dices it up to create a quadtree that it uploads to
The latter is useful if you've stitched an image and chose to edit it with software such as Photoshop, or if you stitched using something other than GigaPan Stitch.

Features of GigaPan Upload 1.1:

* Upload can now reliably upload images of practically unlimited size (the old version failed at around 100 gigapixels). The world's largest digital image (Shanghai, 272 gigapixels, was uploaded with this software.

* Upload can now read and upload Photoshop PSB (aka Large Document Format) and PSD files, even multilayer ones. Previously it was necessary to convert images to TIFF or RAW format in Photoshop, before running Upload. Note that if your pictures have 8 bits per channel, you can conserve disk space when saving your PSB files by declining the "maximize compatibility" option, since Upload knows how to composite the layers itself. Note that PSD files are 30,000 pixels in width or height, maximum; PSB files are 300,000 pixels in width or height, max; TIFF files are 4 gigabytes, max (although Upload on Windows cannot currently handle TIFFs larger than 2 gigabytes); and RAW files have essentially unlimited size.

* Upload now gives you an estimated completion time, as it uploads, tells you upload throughput so far in megabits per second, and informs you of any interruptions to communication with the server (if your computer went to sleep, you lost your network connection, or our server became overloaded).

* Upload now retries forever, so if you begin an upload with your computer in one location, lose your connection, and then reconnect to the network later, potentially at another location, if Upload is still running, it should continue from the point where communication was interrupted.

* Upload now has an experimental option for resuming upload that is useful if you're doing uploads that take multiple days, and upload happens to fail in the middle (e.g. because your computer reboots). Ask me if you want to know more about this (

* It is the same speed as the old Upload. I plan to improve upload speed in a future version.

GigaPan Stitch Team

Selected for the Gigapixel Science Juried Exhibition

LARGE scale prints (4 feet high and up to 17 feet wide) of these images will be unveiled on November 11 at Carnegie Museum of Natural History, in conjunction with the opening of the Fine International Conference on Gigapixel Imaging for Science.

The prints will be on display to the public at the museum through the end of the year.

Learn more     Register to attend conference 

Follow Fine Outreach for Science on Twitter @FOFSgigapan


Eagle's Nest petroglyph, Jubbah, northern Saudi Arabia 
by Richard T. Bryant 


Galapagos Bait Ball of Salema 
by Jason Buchheim 


The Big Four 
by Andrew R. Deans and Matthew A. Bertone 


Unhealthy Honey Bee Frame
by Dennis vanEngelsdorp and Michael Andree 


Bergamot and Hummingbirds, Vermont 
by Chris Fastie 


by Molly Gibson 


Penguins at Cape Crozier 
by Stephanie Jenouvrier 


From Sierra de en Medio 
by Rurik List