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Gigapan of Historic Map Depicts Momentous D-Day Invasion

To give an immersive glimpse into the strategy behind of one of the greatest single military invasions in history, Richard Pickering created a gigapan of the map used by General Dwight D. Eisenhower and the other commanders of the Allied Expeditionary Force to plan and execute Operation Overlord and the D-Day invasion of Normandy on June 6, 1944.


The Details of D-Day

The original 1944 map used by allied forces during the World War II D-Day landings still hangs in Southwick House, near Portsmouth, England. Southwick House served as the headquarters of the main allied commanders in the months leading up to and on the day of the attack. “The map spans from floor to near the ceiling and contains much more information that is unavailable at a fleeting glance,” says Richard.

The blackboard map is made of wood, depicting the English Channel and the coast of Normandy, with chalk notes marking the coastal cities. It includes information that was critical to the allied forces, including tide predictions and landmarks for navigation. A key denotes the positions of current allied and enemy ships along the coastline in addition to the routes the convoys of ships would take to land in Normandy. All of the pins, markers and notes remain on the map as they were in early June 1944 when Eisenhower made the strategic decision to invade Normandy, the turning point that ultimately led to the end of World War II.

Historical documents surround the map, including copies of the messages Eisenhower and Admiral Ramsey sent to soldiers, sailors and airmen the morning prior to the invasion. In addition, meteorological forecasts of the days leading up to and post D-Day can be viewed; important documents that led Eisenhower’s decision that the weather in the early morning on June 6 would be ideal to launch the assault.

Richard captured the gigapan of the D-Day map with the EPIC Pro, a Nikon D300S and used GigaPan Stitch to produce the final image. Viewers can zoom in to see intricate details of the map and a close-up view of historical documents that surround it.

“By completing this project I hoped to give all people interested in military history the opportunity to look at the D-Day Map in detail without having to visit Southwick House,” says Richard.

GigaPan Technology Helps Share History

Richard’s gigapan is an excellent tool for educational purposes, providing students, historians, and educators the opportunity to explore the map and learn more about the invasion. It not only provides reference for history but also gives a unique glimpse into the details of an important day in the history of the world.

“A good gigapixel image is one which is both good to look at even at its widest view but also having lots of detail for the navigator to find beyond the normal zoom range,” says Richard. “Operation Overlord was a pivotal point in World War II and everyone seems to have forgotten that it was planned not only using this incredible map but also in such beautiful surroundings.”

Richard posted his panorama on GigaPan.com to easily share the image and allow others to snapshot interesting details.

“GigaPan is the largest online community for Gigapixel imagery so it was only natural that if I wanted to share the map with as many people as possible, then GigaPan.com was the place to go,” says Richard.