Microsoft’s Gigapixel ArtZoom showcases a 360-degree, panoramic view of Seattle

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Tired of seeing all the Panoramas, Google Street Views and virtual tours to space? Well, don’t quit just yet. Check out what Microsoft’s 20-Gigapixel ArtZoom Project has to offer.

A team of computer scientists from the Microsoft Research Interactive Visual Media Group has sewn together 2,400 digital photographs of Seattle into an interactive, 360-degree, 20-billion-pixel panoramic image. Hundreds of artists, performers, photographers, videographers, coders and editors collaborated to contribute to this project.

Using its own Image Composite Editor and Photosynth technology, engineers at Microsoft research developed Gigapixel ArtZoom, that lets you explore the beautiful city and discover local artists while stumbling across the several Easter eggs which they have left behind.

“The mission of Microsoft Research is to extend the state of the art, and technologists really benefit from seeing the world through artists’ eyes,

“It challenges us to build better tools and technology. Artists are the pioneers at the edge of what’s possible, pulling us into the future.” says Michael Cohen, head of the Gigapixel ArtZoom.

Gigapixel ArtZoom is an attempt by Microsoft to find a common ground between technology and art. And unlike earlier panoramic projects, this time you will find real people in the images too.

“The fun in a panorama comes from panning around, zooming in, and discovering things, and when you do see someone you wonder what they’re doing.

“So for Gigapixel ArtZoom, we decided to take this beautiful cityscape of Seattle and fill it with people to find: the artists, acrobats and performers who give this city such a vibrant life.”

To give you an idea of how large and crisp the images are, consider the numbers of pixels your HDTV can fit together, and multiply that by 10,000. All photographs were taken using a Canon DSLR camera with a professional-grade 400 mm lens.

You don’t require any special software to access Gigapixel ArtZoom. Open any web-browser, and click here.