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Last Updated: Friday, 26 November, 2004, 09:28 GMT
Terapixel digital images approach
Shooting Delft, TNO
Dutch researchers claim title of largest panorama from a fixed point
Giant images formed from billions of pixels are popping up everywhere from telepathology to satellite and space imaging.

Following a story on the BBC News website about Dutch researchers creating the largest panoramic digital image in the world, many readers wrote in to dispute the claim.

Although the 2.5 gigapixel snap taken of Delft in the Netherlands is the largest panoramic photo taken from a fixed point and fused into a single image by especially tailored technology, there are larger digital images in the world.

One example is the 10,000 gigapixel Millennium Map that is a complete aerial photograph of England and Wales put together by imaging company Getmapping UK.

"The image consists of an seamless aerial photograph of England and Wales stitched together using approximately 160,000 images," said Richard Rowles, systems developer for the firm.

The big picture

The Gigapxl project aims to create cameras that can take ultra-high resolution snaps that can produce images that are up to 4 gigapixels in size

Aerial view of the Victoria Monument in London (Picture: Getmapping UK)
Aerial images are usually very high resolution
Kemp Watson wrote to say that his work with telepathology for Canadian firm Aurora Interactive produced images far bigger than those created by the Dutch team.

He said the medical images he produced were typically about 32.5 gigapixels in size and this year may pass the terapixel barrier.

Backdrop Warehouse, which prints digital images more than six metres long, said it too worked with digital snaps that were typically larger than those produced by the Dutch researchers.

The team that works at the TNO Labs that produced the huge panorama said it was aware that others were working with much bigger digital images.

"We have never claimed to have made the largest digital image in the world," team member Jurgen den Hartog told the BBC News website.

Subtle technicalities

"Obviously there are larger digital images in the world, especially in the area of satellite or aerial imagery," said Mr den Hartog from the TNO team.

"However, these images are not panoramic as they are not taken from a single viewpoint," he said.

The claim of biggest digital panorama also stands up, said Mr den Hartog.

"Other photos are broken into multiple panels, are therefore not a single image, and cannot be viewed as such," say the Dutch researchers.

Mr den Hartog also recognizes that in astronomical surveys of the sky, larger images are taken from a single viewpoint.

"If you regard these highly scientific images as a photo, then perhaps TNO should rephrase the claim from 'the largest panoramic photo in the world' into 'the largest panoramic photo of the world'."

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