Carnegie Mellon University

Explore Chicago Via GigaPan

03-30-2009

Explore Chicago Via GigaPan

OhareAirportThe hundreds of thousands of travelers who pass through O’Hare International Airport every day — but don’t necessarily see anything else of Chicago — now can experience some of the Windy City’s famous sights through GigaPan imagery.

Panoramas created with GigaPan, a technology developed by Carnegie Mellon’s Robotics Institute and NASA, are featured on a new city Web site. The imagery of iconic Chicago locations can be explored in detail with 50 HP TouchSmart PCs installed throughout the airport by HP and the Chicago Department of Aviation and Office of Tourism.

GigaPan is a robotic camera mount and software package that allows anyone to create explorable panoramas using almost any digital camera. The technology is now being marketed by a spinoff, GigaPan Systems Inc.

The O’Hare installation includes two “Explore Chicago” technology lounges in  Terminal 2. In addition to HP computer kiosks and comfortable seating, the high-tech lounges feature 30-foot-by-10-foot prints of GigaPan panoramas of the skyline, Millenium Park and the Chicago trading floor of the world’s largest derivatives exchange, among other sights.  The computer terminals feature the city’s new Web site, where the panoramas can be explored in detail.

Many of the Chicago GigaPans were created last summer by Mary Jo Knelly, project assistant, and colleagues from the CREATE Lab of Illah Nourbakhsh, associate professor of robotics. Knelly was on hand to demonstrate GigaPan during the media unveiling of the high-tech lounges and computers March 30.

Byron Spice