The 6 best websites for gigapixel panoramas and images

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The 6 best websites for gigapixel panoramas and images

One of the coolest features that photography provides is the ability to stitch multiple photos together and create gigapixel-level panoramas. Once thought to be impossible, now they are all over the web, allowing us to virtually admire places that we may never visit in real-life. Here is a list of websites where you can find some of the best gigapixel panoramas!

Google Street View is a great way to check out a city and how to get to a place. Moreover, it can show what you would see if it were to visit a specific place. However, it does not provide that bird’s-eye view that we are all craving for, so you are probably in need of something else.

The advancements in the digital imaging industry have allowed photographers to create panoramas. They are those wide shots that anybody can create even with a smartphone.

In recent years, 360-degree panorama photography has been born. Photographers are creating small planets in order to reveal what they see all around them.

The next step in this evolution is called gigapixel-level panoramas. Armed with impressive photography gear, photographers are capturing thousands of images from the same spot, facing every direction. As one could imagine, they are pretty awesome and you could be lost for hours in a panoramic photo.

There are several online resources that consist only of gigapixel panoramas. In this article, we are taking a closer look at a few of them. You may have heard about these websites, although some may be unknown to you. Either way, here are the best six websites for high-resolution panoramas!

GigaPan says it provides the best gigapixel panoramas created with “full panoramic equipment”

The name of this website comes from combining the words “gigapixel” and “panorama” – we have a “giga” and a “pan”. As a result, gigapans are gigapixel panoramas that provide amazing details and they are all comprised in a single photo.

Gigapan also features an extensive collection of more than 50,000 panoramas. Photographers can create their own panoramas, as the website offers solutions for that. Robotic camera mounts and a dedicated software are put at one’s disposal for the right price in order to generate unique views of a city or place.

Users can explore gigapans by their popularity and right at the top you can find a beautiful Shanghai skyline or explore Rio de Janeiro ahead of the 2014 World Cup.

As expected, the interface is pretty straightforward, allowing users to explore a panorama with the keyboard and the mouse. Fullscreen mode is supported, too, just like on 360cities.net.

Anybody can become a user and anybody can purchase a panorama. Additionally, some users will choose to allow embedding of the photos, so your website’s visitors can interact with a gigapan.

In order to check out the full collection and explore the world in high-resolution photos, go to the official GigaPan website.

360cities – one of the most extensive gigapixel panorama collection on the web

One of the most popular websites housing gigapixel panoramas is called “360cities”. Its tagline consists of “a panoramic world proudly created by people”. This is because anybody can create such photo and submit it to the website. As a result, people all over the web will check out your panorama, allowing you to become a “Pro”, “Expert” or “Maestro” member.

360cities is filled with thousands of panoramas from all over the world. The most notable is the 320-gigapixel London panorama captured from the BT Tower during the 2012 Olympics. This is the world record holder of highest amount of gigapixels and we have previously featured it on our website.

Tokyo, Prague, and many other cities or places can be viewed in high quality, courtesy of 360cities. Additionally, you can check out a number of aerial panoramas captured from bird’s-eye view.


2014-05-06 Unobstructed view from the Oriental Pearl Tower. Shanghai. China

What goes up must come down so 360cities provides plenty of underwater panoramas. You can check out the Olho D’agua river, Amedee marine reserve, or you can go underwater in the beautiful Raja Ampat Lagoon.

But why stop at Earth? This website allows users to leave our beloved planet and explore Mars. NASA’s Curiosity Rover has captured all the shots and Andrew Bodrov has stitched them together in order to give us a glimpse of our cosmic neighbor.

The controls of all 360cities panoramas are identical. You can use the keyboard as well as the mouse and the interface is very smooth. Another important feature is that some panoramas can be embedded in your own website, so if you have a blog, then you can share your favorite panoramas with your readers.

For more details and to interact with thousands of panoramas, head over to 360cities right now.

The Vancouver Gigapixel Project specializes in panoramas as well as virtual tours

It may not be as popular as 360cities and GigaPan, but the Vancouver Gigapixel Project is actually home to an impressive number of amazing panoramas. Although most of its panoramas depicted the city of Vancouver, the website has expanded its horizons in recent times.

Users can explore Paris as seen from the Shangri-La hotel with a 360-degree angle of view as well as other European cities, such as Edinburgh, Prague, and Berlin.

The website also offers panoramas captured at sporting events, such as the Stanley Cup and soccer matches.

Vancouver Gigapixel Project
Snapshot captured from the Vancouver Gigapixel Project’s website. It consists of a 360-degree gigapixel panorama of Paris taken from the Shangri-La hotel.

Perhaps the coolest feature of this website consists of “GIGAmacro” capabilities. Want to explore the human eye at gigapixel quality? Well, you can do it thanks to the Vancouver Gigapixel Project.

Other macro shots are depicting a McDonald’s hamburger, a sweet gum leaf, a spotted oleander caterpillar, and a snail-eating beetle.

Users may need to get used to the interface and controls, but once they get the hang of it, they will not encounter any difficulties. It is worth noting that we have not found a way to embed the panoramas. This action may be possible, so we are not ruling it out.

If you want to capture panoramas for the Vancouver Gigapixel Project, then you can find out more details about the hardware and software at the official Gigapixel website.

Gigapixel Tour – explore France just like a tourist

This website allows users to explore tourist locations, mostly in France, giving them the impression that they are there. Gigapixel Tour can be used to discover even the smallest details in cities such as Monaco, Marseille, and Cannes.

The website prides itself with photos that offer a resolution of billions of pixels with an enlarged field of view, while providing extensive zooming capabilities. As a result, the level of detail is impressive and the interface is among the smoothest we have ever encountered.

Additionally, the gigapixels can be explored with ease thanks to amazing controls. However, it appears that there is no way to embed the photos in your own website.

Gigapixel Tour
The Gigapixel Tour of Monaco. This photo has been zoomed out completely, but you can get down to street-level as the photo measures 45 gigapixels in resolution.

Nevertheless, the Gigapixel Tour offers realistic views of French tourist locations, including Cannes and Nice. The website has recently expanded its panorama offer to Spain, so you can check out Barcelona in high resolution.

There are some other works available, too, including the Arc de Triomphe in Paris as well as the Eiffel Tower. Additionally, the Dam of Castillon Lake and the Stone-pit of Grands Caous can be explored through high-quality panoramas.

Google Art Project provides works of art at stunning resolution

Roughly three years ago, Google launched its Cultural Institute Project. The search giant has decided to offer collections and archives from museums all around the world.

The Cultural Institute also includes the Art Project that consists of high-resolution photos of artworks from museums located in more than 40 countries.

There are more than 40,000 works in the collection, including the ones located in The White House and the Palace of Versailles.

Google’s Art Project can be browsed by collections, artists, or even artworks. The categories are pretty straightforward, just like the controls. Although you cannot embed the shots in your own website, you can create your own gallery or share the pages on social networking websites.

Google Art Project
Vincent van Gogh’s Starry Night is one of the most popular paintings on Earth. This painting and many other artworks can be explored in detail at the Google Art Project.

Another important part of the Cultural Institute is called World Wonders Project. Google allows visitors to explore the Stonehenge, the Pompeii, and the Great Barrier Reef among others. They are all worth viewing, as not many of us get the chance to explore these sites in person.

There are plenty of other exhibitions on Google’s Cultural Institute so visit the project’s website right now.

Blakeway Gigapixel allows sports fans to tag themselves in a gigapixel panorama

It appears that gigapixel panoramas can also be captured inside the venue of a sporting event. Have you been to a soccer or hockey match recently? Well, check out the Blakeway Gigapixel project that consists of high-resolution photos captured inside a variety of stadiums.

Blakeway offers interactive panoramas that allow fans to tag themselves in a photo. If you find a sporting event you have attended, then zoom in to your seat and tag yourself in the photo. You can then share the gigapixel image and show everyone how you were cheering for your favorite team.

Blakeway Gigapixel
Blakeway Gigapixel is specialized in panoramas captured at sporting events. Here is a zoomed out photo of the Dallas Stars team at the American Airlines Center on March 8, 2014.

Most photos offer a quality of 26 gigapixels and some have been captured in only two minutes. This seems too fast, but this is what you have to do during a sporting event as the breaks are rather short. However, Blakeway does say that the longer the time at its disposal, the higher the quality of the photos will be.

Beside soccer and hockey matches, there are lots of photos captured in the National Football League, college basketball, and college football.

It is very easy to explore a gigapixel panorama and very easy to tag yourself in the photo, like if you were there. However, the images cannot be embedded in your website. Nevertheless, go to Blakeway’s page and explore an impressive collection of panoramas captured at sporting events.

If you feel like there are others that need extra attention, go ahead and let us know in the comments section!

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The 6 best websites for gigapixel panoramas and images