The world's largest stadium photograph, with 90,000 potential Facebook tags

If you were in London recently and watched the 2011 FA Cup Final (it’s a football soccer thing) at Wembley, you would have been part of history — the world’s largest 360-degree panoramic photo was shot there. The photo is huge, and with an insane amount of detail, but there is also a bit of fun going on here with social media as well.

The Wembley 360 is a 10-gigapixel photograph that was prepped and shot with a 24-hour deadline. The photographer, Jeffrey Martin, had some obstacles to get through to shoot the photo — lighting, positioning, stitching, and, oh yeah, capturing 90,000 moving fans — but he managed to follow through with the task.

The kit itself comprised of a professional Digital SLR and zoom lens mounted on a custom designed programmable robotic tripod head. The robot turns, focuses and snaps photos in a continuous motion around 360-degrees until the entire inside space of the stadium has been captured.

The hundreds of high-resolution images were then transferred to the stitching server via a super fast broadband pipe. Once uploaded, the images are automatically joined and blended together. The actual processing of the final image was done on a special Fujitsu Technology Solutions Celsius R670 workstation with 192 gigabytes of RAM and 24 CPU cores.

In short, upwards of 1000 individual photographs are sorted, matched, stitched and enhanced to produce a finished image that would otherwise take days or weeks to create using traditional methods.

To make things even more interesting, Wembley is inviting people to tag themselves and their friends in the photograph. So… 90,000 Facebook tags? That sounds like a potential for a world record! So get tagging!

Written by James Mowery

James Mowery is a passionate technology journalist and entrepreneur who has written for various top-tier publications like Mashable and CMSWire. Follow him on Twitter: @JMowery.
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