Monday, September 28, 2009

Guiberson Fire Damage GigaPan

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GigaPan is another project we work on in the Intelligent Robotics Group at NASA Ames. The Gigapan camera is a simple robotic platform for capturing very high-resolution (gigapixel and up) panoramic images from a standard digital camera.

GigaPan can be used to collect panoramas that cover a broad area of terrain at very high detail. That's great for before-and-after shots of post-disaster damage. For example, the Yosemite Extreme Panoramic Imaging Project collected panoramas covering many of the walls in Yosemite National Park. These will be used as "before" images to help estimate the volume of fallen rock after future landslides.

This panorama, taken from a hilltop near Grimes Canyon Road, was stitched together from about 500 photos that took 40 minutes to collect. It covers a broad area of vegetation burned by the Guiberson fire. We hope the information will help guide rehabilitation efforts. For example, landslides are a concern after a fire in rugged terrain like this, and firefighters can take steps to avoid them like installing hardware to guide stormwater runoff.

One technical note -- the camera skipped two frames in the upper right of the GigaPan and we filled the holes in with sky so that the panorama would stitch. As a result the tops of some distant hills have been cut off. The problem is pretty obvious when you see it. None of the other data is suspect as far as we know.

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