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article imageVisit Machu Picchu online with huge 'zoomable' image (video)

By Anne Sewell     Nov 29, 2012 in Travel
To raise awareness to the plight of Machu Picchu, degraded by so many tourists visiting the site, Jeff Cremer of Rainforest Expeditions took a whole load of high-definition photos. Now you can scroll, zoom in and visit from the comfort of your home.
If you have always wished you could visit Machu Picchu, but never managed to get there, you now have the opportunity to view the entire site, in high-definition detail. With the 15 Gigapixel image of the mountaintop ruins, you can scroll and zoom to your heart's content.
Taken by Jeff Cremer, marketing director of Rainforest Expeditions, a company that runs eco-tourism trips to the Peruvian Amazon, the huge image of the Incan site took nearly two hours to photograph.
The 15 Gigapixel photo, represented above left, is made up of 1,920 separate images, stitched together using a program called GigaPan.
Group making the huge high-definition image of Machu Picchu  Peru.
Group making the huge high-definition image of Machu Picchu, Peru.
The video above shows step by step how the amazing image was created, giving some amazing views of Machu Picchu.
Cremer told OurAmazingPlanet that he made the image partly to raise awareness about the degradation of the historic site, with so many tourists visiting. He says that he does want people to visit, but that they must stick to the marked pathways to avoid worsening erosion and degradation.
The site of Machu Picchu was recently placed on the watch list of 100 Most Endangered Sites in the world by the World Monuments Fund, a New York-based non-profit organization dedicated to preserving historic sites.
How the picture was made:
The picture was made with the Canon 7D and a 400mm lens. It consists of 1920 pictures with 18 megapixel, which was recorded by a photo-robot in 1 hour and 44 minutes.
With a resolution of 297,500 x 87,500 pixel (15.9 gigapixels) the picture is the highest resolution photo of Machu Picchu ever taken.
Image stitching was done on a MacPro Hexacore 2.67Ghz, 32GB Ram and OCZ 960GB RevoDrive
Render time was 1.5hrs.
The image took 11.5 hours to upload to which is the largest upload of a .PSB file to date.
The software required 10.5 hours and 120 gigabytes of free disk space to read and convert the PSB file, and 1 hour to do the upload of 6.9 gigabytes.
One of the best views of Machu Picchu overlooking the main square and the Huayna Picchu mountain in ...
One of the best views of Machu Picchu overlooking the main square and the Huayna Picchu mountain in the background of the site.
About Machu Picchu
Machu Picchu is an Incan site in Peru from the 15th-century, situated 7,970 feet (2,430 meters) above sea level on the eastern slope of the Andes.
The site is believed to have been built by Pachacuti Inca Yupanqui, who was the ninth Inca ruler, in the mid-1400's. According to many archaeologists, it is possible that Machu Picchu was constructed as a royal estate of sorts.
The existence of the site was published for the first time in 1911, by explorer Hiram Bingham III, a professor at Yale, after he visited the site. Typical of the Inca, the buildings were made without mortar, and their granite stones were quarried and precisely cut to fit together and stand the test of centuries.
More about Machu picchu, Peru, zoomable, Photograph, 15 Gigapixel
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