Sunday, July 19, 2009

AutoStitching the Big Apple

We just spent the day visiting a few cultural icons here in Manhattan. This seemed like a fine time to play with a new iPhone app called Autostich, which merges multiple separate pictures into a much larger panoramic image.

I've actually used one of this program's big brothers (Calico) for several years to stitch together mountain photos from my big Nikon into cool panoramas. Both programs are based on image-processing research from the University of British Columbia, which has licensed its algorithms to other developers, including Industrial Light & Magic. We also use similar software at work to stitch together life-sized vertical panoramas of the entire human spine from several smaller shots.

To kick things off, here are 4 iPhone 3GS photos of the Time Warner Center at dusk...

The resulting AutoStitched panorama shows a bit of distortion, but still looks pretty swell.

With a bit of PhotoShopping, it looks even better.

We visited the 5th Avenue Apple Store, which is extremely keen for many reasons. Even in a town with a lot of eye-grabbing architecture, this store stands out.

All of the action at this 24 x 7 x 365 store takes place in a giant underground room beneath the cube. Here's a hasty 6-picture panorama of this store, which earns more money per square foot than Tiffany's:

We also spent some time at the American Museum of Natural History. Here's a panorama of the foyer, which is filled with dinosaurs, including a big brachiosaur. This image was stitched together from fifteen 3.0 megapixel images.

My one-word review: awesome.

It's been quite a while since I have gotten so much pleasure for a buck ninety-nine. It's also pretty incredible to know the sort of image-processing power I now carry in my pocket.

Holy crap.

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