Monday, May 12, 2014

Creating a full 360-degree Panorama

I'm playing around with new twist on a long-time hobby and obsession of mine - the stitching together of multiple photographs to create massive panorama images. With the right tools and some patience once can create a panorama that is a full 360-degree "spherical" image.

The panorama looks a little weird when viewed as a flattened rectangle
Photos are shot from a single point in every possible direction including straight up and down. Special software locates the adjacent images and overlaps and stitches it all together into one giant image. This image is like the map image of the world that gets glued onto the outside of a globe - only this image goes on the inside of the globe and one views it from the very center.

There are a number of tricks and helpful tools - both hardware and software as well as an enthusiastic community willing to share hints and images.
One of the key pieces of hardware (besides a camera) is a tripod attachment that allows the camera to be positioned so the lens center and focal point can be the axis around which the camera rotates rather than the traditional center of the camera body where the tripod mount happens to be. I'm using a head built by an enthusiast called the Panosaurus. See the site for details and a lot of links about creating and using spherical panoramas.

Many different software options exist to help you stitch together the images and prepare them for display. I am using a commercial solution called Autopano by a company called, Kolor. It is based on another commercial system called krpano. However one can also achieve the same results using completely free open-source software like GIMP and Hugin - see this site for instructions.

I'm using the Kolor product thanks to a kind mini-grant from my work - the panorama creation is just the beginning. I will be teaching myself to use Kolor's Panotour Pro which is an authoring tool that allows one to turn one or a whole series of panoramas into a virtual tour complete with hotspots, text and image overlays and links as well as embedded audio and video. My next post will cover the creation of one of these tours - a prototype of the inside of a museum gallery.

Friday, April 06, 2012

Who's been eating my cabbage

Who's been eating my cabbage

Saturday, March 31, 2012

Sun Rays

sun cloud
Originally uploaded by sweet lil' bunny.
nice clouds here in S. FL

Monday, September 20, 2010

Banyan Street

University Drive in Coral Gables has some of the most magnificent Banyan trees I've seen. At one point they form a cool shady tunnel over the road and as you walk or ride by on the path you are treated to a fantastic maze of trunks and roots with enough nooks and crannies to hide an army of pixies.

Monday, May 17, 2010

Inside the Sleeping Giant's Cranium

Full Sized Zoomable Panorama available at Gigapan

This sandstone promontory in southern Connecticut resembles a giant resting on its back. Back in the day they used to quarry stone out of the top of its skull. If you look closely you can see the geological neurons...

Thursday, May 13, 2010

Beaver Creek Valley


About a mile up the river from the Ona Beach State Park lies this emerald jewel of a valley. The State of Oregon has completed purchasing three different tracts of land that comprise this entire section of the valley and will be opening the Beaver Creek State Natural Area sometime this year.

Oregon Live story
OR State Parks profile

Friday, April 16, 2010

Early Spring Blossoms

Early Spring Blossoms
Originally uploaded by sweet lil' bunny.
Though it's not as warm as one might hope, the purty flowers are all coming out to show us that Spring is not a figment of our collective desire to be rid of another long cold New England winter.

Monday, February 08, 2010

The Tubes of Internets

This photo just popped out of the past on some flickr sidebar to remind me that my workspace has a lot going for it these days. Fewer giant silver tubes is as good a reason as any to celebrate.

Thursday, January 28, 2010

snow beautiful

snow beautiful
Originally uploaded by sweet lil' bunny.
snow beautiful

snowy today

snowy today
Originally uploaded by sweet lil' bunny.
snowy today

Friday, November 27, 2009

Forgotten Corner

Originally uploaded by sweet lil' bunny.
I recently came across this photo I took of a old storage closet that was open briefly during the library renovation - I like knowing that all the old leaded windows and pews no one uses any more are still around if a little dusty.

Legacy (data that is)

I tend to give my profession as "Jerk of All Trades" when asked in a context where that's going to be interpreted charitably. Nominally I am charged with Computer and Information Systems Support (i.e. Desktop Support). That sort of work including training, which I perversely enjoy won't take up more than 50-60% of my workday on average leaving the rest for the more interesting learning experiences. Most recently, this remainder time has been eaten by the seemingly infinite task of converting the collection management data and systems of a large and ancient research and institutional archival repository - including a location database that talks to an aged behemoth of an ILS. The exciting variety within the legacy data has been the real beast up to now. It's a bit like turning an oil tanker - churn away, all ahead full for a very long time before the view out the front window begins to change in the least. So, "converting to what?" one might ask. The plan is for all the various description, and management and location data to converge into the open source Archivists' Toolkit.

We (I'm only a small part of a valiant team effort) have also been engaged in a development-on-a-shoestring game trying to add plug-ins necessary to handle our systems' specific needs. Most of this has been thoroughly detailed on the AT @ Yale blog by one of my hardworking co-conspirators. Shortly, although at this point I wouldn't bet a nickle on the exact date, we will present the rest of the staff with an as-finished-as-it's-gonna-get-for-now prototype version. Then begins the hard part of getting the thing to actually work in the real world with actual users! Oh the bugs and heretofore un-thought-of paradoxes that crawl through my dreams.

One of my other sidelines has been thinking and being minimally involved in digital preservation - particularly for AV materials. I find that the insane maze of formats, files and standards that one must thread to even begin to plan the migration of a video archive into digital for the purpose of preservation boggles the mind. It is also a good illustration of the problem legacy data presents in any collection management system. A reputation as a large and venerable institution is one sort of legacy, but it hides a legacy of another slightly less thrilling sort.

Thursday, September 24, 2009

Flashlights! Night Hike at Common Ground

A good way to celebrate the Autumnal Equinox - crickets and tree frogs were there too.