December 7, 2003

The Gigapixel Grand Canyon

A friend told me about this, but seeing is believing. Even better is reading about how it was done. Check out Breaking the Gigapixel Barrier and be amazed.

How much detail does it contain? Much, much more than would be captured by any conventional digital camera...even those that cost more than a new car. For example, the Canon 1Ds (about $8,000) captures 11 megapixels, while the BetterLight Super 10K-2 scanning back (camera not included!) captures 140 megapixels, but costs about $25,000. I also believe that a gigapixel image surpasses what even die-hard admirers of large format photography argue is possible with large format cameras. For more thoughts on this subject, you might also want to read this essay.

Here's another way to think about it. Given that the resolving power of the human eye (under ideal conditions at the center of the retina) is about 1 arcminute (1/60th of one degree), this image captures considerably more detail than I (or any other normal sighted human) was able to see with my eye when standing on the overlook at Bryce Point. Assuming one pixel per arcminute, an image with dimensions of 3780 x 2485 would suffice to capture the amount of detail that the naked eye could resolve. This image has more than 100 times this detail. Looking at the full sized digital image, one is able to see things that might have been difficult or impossible to spot, even when using binoculars.

He's got some samples to show you.

Posted by Vanderleun at December 7, 2003 12:12 PM
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"It is impossible to speak in such a way that you cannot be misunderstood." -- Karl Popper N.B.: Comments are moderated and may not appear immediately. Comments that exceed the obscenity or stupidity limits will be either edited or expunged.

Adhere to System Appearance. Does your application use all the sweetly colored buttons, delightfully shaded windows, and all the other "bells and whistles?"

Posted by: Jerman at January 12, 2004 7:06 PM

By building an application that takes advantage of Aqua's many facets, you help ensure that your application will not only look good, but have a chance of becoming a raging success. After a new user clicks on the icon of your program, the first thing he or she sees is the application interface. I know that when I review a product, I am very critical of its visual design. I usually have a short time to learn the new software, so design and ease of use are very important. Aside from those who marvel at the beauty of the command line, most users tend to react the same way.

Posted by: Petronella at January 12, 2004 7:07 PM

But limit your animations to whatever is required to communicate the necessary information. Avoid annoying animations that discourage ease of use. Ask yourself, "What do I need to show the user, and what is the cleanest way possible to achieve that?" A good example is the Mail application for Mac OS X. Whenever a new message arrives, the Dock icon changes appearance to indicate a changed state.

Posted by: Owen at January 12, 2004 7:07 PM

Adopt Sheets. I really like the use of Sheets in OS X. The use of Sheets lets me know which window my dialogue belongs to without hijacking my system.

Posted by: Barnard at January 12, 2004 7:07 PM

Adhere to Layout Guidelines. Did you leave 12 pixels between your push buttons? Does the positioning of your pop-up menus make sense, and when do you use a pop-up versus a scrolling list? Are you using the right types of buttons for the proper functions?

Posted by: Nicholas at January 12, 2004 7:07 PM

In building your amazing Aqua application, one of the most important things to consider is the Dock. There are three things your app needs to be "Dock Compliant." Now, I write this knowing that the Dock will be going through some major changes soon, but for the most part, these should still hold true.

Posted by: Maurice at January 12, 2004 7:07 PM

Adhere to File Locations. Make sure that when your users save documents, your application knows where to put them and also gives users flexibility.

Posted by: Wymond at January 12, 2004 7:08 PM

Drawers. Similar to Sheets, this is a "child" window that gives users access to items that do not always need to be present. But when do you use a drawer and when do you use a palette?

Posted by: Faustinus at January 12, 2004 7:08 PM

Due to the positioning of the Dock, remember that when you build an application, you have to be sure that new document window sizes and positions do not violate the Dock's space. Dock is temperamental and Dock loves his space. If you default to a window size that expands behind the dock, users will have a difficult time reaching the navigation and resize areas at the bottom of the screen. I can personally say that more than once I have been rather peeved that I couldn't get to an area of the window to resize because the default window settings always pop up behind the Dock. In addition, the new Dock in 10.1 will allow users to position their Dock location on either side of the screen as well.

Posted by: Hugh at January 12, 2004 7:08 PM

At WWDC, I listened to Apple representatives make some excellent points about taking the time to build a 100%-compliant Aqua application, and I think all developers need to look beyond the code and listen to what the folks at Apple have to say

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