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II. Shooting Gigapan Panoramas: A Robot and Camera Guide

In this Guide to the Gigapan, we hope to teach you, from the ground up, how to use Gigapan in your classroom or organization as a powerful and versatile educational tool.

Complete Gigapan Kit includes:

  • EPIC Robotic Camera Mount - $299 - $895
  • Camera-$119
  • Extra camera battery-$19.95
  • Camera bag-$29.99
  • AA charger-$64.45
  • Tripods-$99
  • Extra plate-$14.95
  • AA Batteries- a kit will need 12 (this is a pack of 10)-$19.95
  • SD card reader-$4.99
  • 8 GB SC card-$8.68

Introduction to Gigapan Equipment


  • Show whole group step – by-step as they do their own setup.
  • Tripod
  • Extend legs
  • Unscrew outside handle; screw into top hole (DON’T GET TOO TIGHT)
  • Work two handles to get platform somewhat level
  • Adjust height
  • Tripod Mount – get out of bag


  • Put mount on EPIC
  • Put EPIC on tripod
  • Can move EPIC platform around when OFF, but NOT when on
  • Put tripod bag inside Gigapan bag
  • Level – tighten handles (NOT TOO TIGHT)


  • Attach Camera to Gigapan
  • Lens of camera centered over diamond notch
  • Adjust arm that pushes picture button
  • Camera settings  (one time setup)
  • MENU button
  • Camera menu
  • Digital zoom off
  • Flash Settings
  • Red Eye Corr. - off
  • Red Eye Lamp – off
  • Review off
  • IS mode – off (image stabilization)
  • Date Stamp - off
  • Tools menu
  • Format before every shoot if you have downloaded pictures
  • File numbering – continuous
  • Lens extract – 1 minute
  • Power savings
  • Auto power down – Off
  • Display off - 3 minutes (or longest time possible)
  • Set date/time
  • Camera – set every time
  • Nervous tap – push picture button ½ way down often to keep these settings
  • Menu dial on top of camera – P Mode (Program AE)
  • Function set
  • ISO: select low for well lit (80-100), higher for low lit (lower better image quality)
  • White Balance – set for light you are in (Never AWB – auto white balance)
  • L – JPEG File Size - largest file/finest resolution
  • Zoom in all the way
  • Flash – off (Press right scroll button (flash) until flash is off)
  • Point camera at subject, then set: Hold down picture button ½ way until see green square in frame
  • Set AEL (top of dial) Auto Exposure Lock
  • Set AFL (left on dial) Auto Focus Lock
  • Orange card
  • Look at directions on front and image on back
  • This is what you must do with EVERY Gigapan


  • Turn EPIC ON: Hold OK Button
  • New Panorama (tap)
  • Set top left (tap) and lower right (tap) OR 360°
  • Record number of rows and columns for each Gigapan image
  • Show Panorama: ok or skip (x)
  • Checklist
  • Options
  • Time per picture (our camera 3.6 seconds)
  • Battery status (needs to be over 8)
  • Field of View (our camera 11.5)
  • Pause – push X to pause; push X again to restart


Download Images to Computer and Stitch


  • Create new folder for every photo shoot
  • Memory card from camera to card reader insert into computer
  • Drag folder from memory card to computer folder
  • Remove memory card
  • Rename folder – call source (Cathedral source)
  • Open Gigapan Stitch program
  • Drag source folder into Gigapan Stitch
  • Select images for one panorama
  • Determine # rows and columns (use recorded numbers)
  • Stitch & Upload: Export to TIF and/or UPLOAD to Gigapan.com


1. Planning process: students can work in small groups to plan where and when to take a photograph. They can first create a schematic plan on paper, and submit it for review before venturing out to take the shot.

2. Some of the best learning happens when students are “just messing around” with technology. Allow time for them to figure some of this out for themselves. Then ask them to explain it to others.



1. Time Lapse: Shoot the same Gigapan multiple times, and stitch with the Time Machine Creator http://timemachine.Gigapan.org/wiki/Main_Page This will create an explorable video where you can move back and forth in time. To see an extraordinary version of this, go to Timelapse.


2. Idea Mural: A middle school teacher put a large sheet of butcher paper on the classroom wall and instructed his class to make an idea map around a curricular topic. He then took a Gigapan of the paper, loaded it, and had students interact with it online: each student selected the idea of another person, and instigated a dialogue with them using the snapshots. This could be done internationally.


3. Scavenger Hunts: “Where’s Waldo?” activities where students must look deeply. See the Fossil Hunt for ideas.


4. Hallway Projects: Print and display large images for the public to view. People can use sticky notes to comments, or create a “response space”. Very powerful.


5. Citizen Science: Post images to public forums and ask for comment and dialogue. Ex: students in Hawaii posted image and asked people to count the number of plant species they could identify. Actual number can be estimated by eliminating outlier counts. The more responses, the more accurate the count.


6. Sensitization Technique: Begin by showing an 8x10 print of the photo, and ask students to comment on details. Then show them the Gigapan and see them engage even more!


7. Documentation: History must be documented, in written form as well as visually.

Gigapan Time Machine

Each Time Machine captures a process in extreme detail over space and time, with billions of pixels of explorable resolution. Travel back in time to witness the creation of the universe. See more Gigapan Time Machines.

Gigapan Education & Research Incentive

For qualified applicants, Gigapan offers the opportunity to purchase a Gigapan EPIC or EPIC 100 with a discount of 20% off the listed price. To apply for a Gigapan education and research incentive, please contact us.