HD ViewWe’ve seen several high-quality images in the past that have been assembled together to form one large image. The latest breakthrough was the 1-trillion pixel image that required a special file format to manage the 143GB file. Other popular ones include Chicago By Night at 1-gigapixel and Machu Picchu at 1.5-gigapixels.

Over in the forum Max pointed out a 13-gigapixel image of Harlem, which is astonishingly huge. There was no doubt that it was an awesome site, but navigating around the massively detailed photo was quite a chore. Well, that was until Richard mentioned the HD View option that the photo had.

I had never used this feature before on any image, but curiosity got the best of me so I tried it out. The downside is that it will require you to open Internet Explorer and install an add-on, but I can say without a doubt that it is worth it.

So what is HD View? It’s a project by a Microsoft Research group, and here is why they created it:

Recent advances in camera and sensor technology and software for stitching images together has led to the creation of images containing billions of pixels (gigapixels). These images are often panoramic, that is, they cover very wide fields of view. Since monitors typically contain only one to two million pixels, it is only possible to actually see 1/1000th of such image data at once.

HD View leverages current graphics hardware to allow smooth panning and zooming.

I think that this is something you really have to try out at least once, and here are some great places that use the technology:

So try out HD View and let us know what you think. I was quite stunned by it.