PS 4-44 - GigaPan Technology: A web-based platform for ecological research and outreach

Monday, August 8, 2011
Exhibit Hall 3, Austin Convention Center
Matthew R. Opdyke, Natural Sciences and Engineering Technology, Point Park University, Pittsburgh, PA

GigaPan is relatively new and powerful imaging technology that can facilitate student research and outreach in ecology. A GigaPan is a robotic device that holds digital cameras, which directs the camera to capture multiple images of a panoramic scene at great detail. The images are then stitched together into a single panoramic image with billions of pixels of resolution that can be uploaded onto a web-based platform for storing, annotating, and sharing ( Because the resulting panoramas are multi-gigapixel images, they present a virtual scene for exploration and learning. We present an application of GigaPan technology to develop a web-based learning platform for educating the public about stream ecology and using GigaPan images to assess habitat quality for coldwater fishes in a larger watershed study.


GigaPan images were captured in multiple headwater streams of Fishing Creek watershed in Columbia and Sullivan Counties, Pennsylvania. The images were uploaded online and annotated to direct the attention of public viewers to stream features that make high quality habitats for coldwater fishes. GigaPan photography is a powerful, interactive tool that reaches out to the broader public as a way to encourage them to learn about stream ecology. Additionally, the images were analyzed to assess the quality of habitat for trout and serve as references for future images captured at later dates. This photographic data set may be used in watershed management to assess changes in the riparian zone and geomorphic structure of streams, with greater detail than point-and-shoot photography.

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