I’m no fan of Microsoft operating systems. That said, Microsoft does turn out some really great stuff from time to time. Seadragon is part of that and if you’ve watched the Obama inauguration on CNN, you’ve probably noticed their related product PhotoSynth as well. (blah blah, take me to the good stuff)
I dislike the way PhotoSynth only works if you start by uploading your content to Microsoft, basically putting your property into the hands of a corporation that has a lousy history of respecting your rights in that area. I wouldn’t recommend anything more that playing with it, for now. It is a bunch of fun to do so though and I hope they manage to develop it into something that’s slightly less offensive to people with privacy and intellectual property sensibilities like myself.
Seadragon is another story though. Using the Deep Zoom Composer, which is freely available for download off the Microsoft website, you can generate a set of images that will allow a Deep Zoom into an image of arbitrary size. Perhaps you’ve seen the more popular examples of it in the past few months. Like the Hardrock Memorabilia that require a Silverlight plugin to be installed. Or perhaps you own an iPhone and have downloaded the Seadragon app that allows you to view the Library of Congress image set (I don’t know of any way to show it to you online, but there’s some Youtube movies of the app in action online).
I’ve put together a set of panoramic views of the Western USA to start to make up for the lack of images on my roadtrip blogposts. I hope you enjoy them, while I figure out a way to take the performance hit on my server…
(If you -are- an iPhone user, add http://grismar.net/deepzoom/usa.xml to your Seadragon app and browse the set that way)