Gigapixel imaging, ESA Australia, Dec 2012
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Gigapixel imaging, ESA Australia, Dec 2012



Talk given by Tim Brown at the annual Ecological Society of Australia, 2012 meeting in Melbourne, Australia.

Talk given by Tim Brown at the annual Ecological Society of Australia, 2012 meeting in Melbourne, Australia.
More info on the Gigavision project here:



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    Gigapixel imaging, ESA Australia, Dec 2012 Gigapixel imaging, ESA Australia, Dec 2012 Presentation Transcript

    • Gigapixel resolution time-lapse imaging for phenologicalmonitoring of every plant in a landscape. Tim Brown, Postdoctoral Fellow, Borevitz Lab, Australia National University
    • To address the environmental andmanagement challenges of the 21 st century weneed a substantially better understanding ofhow ecosystems work. – Exponentially more data – Better models – Long time-series data sets 2
    • Ecology – Where’s my PCR?Understanding high-order complexity is hard!1. The environment is complex and continuous but we typically only measure limited data over limited snapshots in time2. Difficult and expensive to track change on the ground at high spatial and temporal resolution3. Long term data sets are rare, particularly of images – Satellite data is good but not high enough resolution for many applications1. Hard to maintain field-based research over ecologically meaningful time periods with high enough sample sizeTo understand ecosystems we need to be tracking “everything” in the environment at high time-rates for long periods of time.
    • • What if we could watch every plant in our field sites from our desk? – Map out population genetics, biotic/abiotic data on the landscape – Slide back in time and watch any interaction for as long as there have been sensors – Students start new research projects beginning with all the data previously collected at a site The technology is here – We need to dream big! 4
    • Gigavision: gigapixel timelapse cameraCollaboration between Borevitz Lab (U. Chicago, USA) and TimeScience (my company)The Challenge:• Build a solar powered, weatherproof gigapixel camera that can record daily phenology from every plant in a field area.
    • Gigapixel Imaging – How it works The Gigapan and Gigavision systems allow you to capture hundreds or thousands of zoomed-in images in a panorama. Images are then “Stitched” into a seamless panorama. (Single 15MP image) Area: ~7ha The super-high resolution of the final panorama lets you monitor huge landscape areas in great detail. Area: ~1m2
    • The Gigavision Camera – Specifications• ~1.5 billion pixels / panorama• Avg. resolution of ~1 pixel / cm over 7 hectares – (~600 million times the resolution of MODIS)• Open-source - Built with off-the-shelf components• Cellular (3G) or 802.11g wireless access (160MP “thumbnails”)• Automated capture up to 1 image / hr• Solar powered (<15w power consumption)• ~$30,000 -> could be more like $10-15,000• “Light-phenotyping” of >500 plants for ~$60/plant For full specs, see Brown et al. 2012. (Google: “gigavision chapter”
    • Camera Field of View (FOV)
    • Dataset statistics • Oct 2009 – Oct 2011 – 2 Growing seasons (April – Oct) • 1-4 panoramas / day (~154 images/panorama) • >184,000 individual jpg images captured • Processed data = 70 million 200x200pixel images • 6TB of space • 417 usable noon panoramas 11
    • Growing seasons 12
    • Image Visualization and Data Collection
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    • Species• 513 individual plants identified• 8 prominent species (non grasses)• Species: – Hoary Puccoon = 344 – Unidentified (yet) = 52 – Cottonwood = 47 – Black Oak = 36 – Sand Cherry = 18 – Juniper = 9 – Wormwood = 3 – Pitcher’s Thistle (Endangered) = 2 – Marsh Marigold = 2 15
    • Limiting factor is increasingly software • For example: – Axis Q-6035e • $4,000 USD • Can run on-board software • ~2 gigapixel image in < 10 min at any focal length • Temp range: -40 to +50C • 50W 16
    • GigaPan – Low Cost Gigapixel ImagingGigaPan (non-timelapse)• $350-$1,000• Works with any camera• Great for documentation and low time-resolution monitoring (e.g. monthly, annual)Example:• Alta Ski Area Bark Beetle Project – Maura Olivos, Alta Environmental Center – Annual gigapixel survey images – Identify beetle infested trees for removal – Online panoramas:• More examples of gigapans here: •• GigaPan hardware:
    • Alta Bark Beetle Project – Initial survey path for potential panorama locations Data collected with EveryTrail smartphone app ( )Panoramas:
    • (1) Collins Weather (2) Baldy Shoulder (3) Road Shot (4) GrizzlyBrowse all panoramas online here:
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    • Project summary statistics Site Name Approximate Area Image Resolution Average Pixel Resolution (Acres) (Gigapixels) (Pixels per square inch) Collins Weather Station 697 4.07 0.93 Baldy Shoulder 770 8.84 1.83 Road Shot 211 3.26 2.46 Grizzly Gulch 188 3.65 3.1 Total: 23.5 billion px TOTALS 830 acres Avg: ~3.2 px/cm2 Avg: 4.7 billion px (Area Estimates:
    • Funding sources and many thanks to…TimeScience /• Christopher Zimmermann (Data management, image processing, online interface)University of Chicago• Justin Borevitz (U. Chicago, not at ANU)• Nina Noah, Whitney Panneton (University of Chicago)GigaPan Systems – Download this talk here: