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This is the place for Gigapan.com members to offer peer-to-peer support for exchanging tips, ideas, comments, etc.

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Forums » General Gigapanning » Gigapan wish list

Gigapan wish list
Glen David Short Glen David Shor...
Total Posts: 50

Yesterday I received an emailed questionnaire from Gigapan, apparently doing market research about customer satisfaction. Without exception I gave Gigapan a big tick, as I am a true fan of gigapan. But… a few small things could be improved. Their last question asked for suggestions. I will post my suggestions here for discussion as I am sure they can be added to and/or improved upon also. Maybe some of these features already exist on the Epic Pro, my suggestions mainly pertain to the Epic 100 model, which I own:

“Looking forward to seeing new models come out, hope they have these features on every model:

1. tethering facility for all Epic models – some smaller cameras support tethering – and cameras and laptops keep getting smaller yet more powerful, and advanced features should not be limited to the Pro model; size and weight become a factor when hiking to a mountaintop lookout.

2. Time lapse option for all models. Extra features mean extra buyers, and some great HD time-lapse has been shot with point and shoot cameras. In fact, they are preferred by some TL photographers, as they are cheaper and their electronic shutters don’t wear out as quickly as DSLR mechanical shutters.

3. Less lash in the plastic gears – maybe go to metal or harder plastic? This is a major problem with heavy lenses and windy conditions, no matter how sturdy your tripod is, there is wobble. Even the Pro model is susceptible: http://gigapan.com/forums/1/topics/412

4. A power inlet for external battery. A standard voltage of 12, 9 or 6v would be handy, compatible with a car lighter outlet or you could hook up an external battery pack of four D cells.

5. Smaller increments in horizontal moves – so you could make panning time-lapses. About 1000 shots over a 360 revolution would be great, but 2000 would be better. This feature has been requested by others before http://gigapan.com/forums/1/topics/516?page=1#p…

6. Implement the promised royalty-sharing deal for Gigapan prints, as detailed in paragraph 4 of this Gigapan press release: http://www.gigapan.com/cms/pdf/printingpressrel…

7. Website integration with Google Earth could be greatly improved, similar to the way Kilgore.org’s gigapan tools already are: http://www.kilgore.org.uk/cgi-bin/surfing/surfe…
Maybe also a google map showing where each member’s gigapans were taken could be added to the members’ profile pages.

8. A dashboard or analytics page – something like YouTube has – would encourage people to add more gigapans that other people like. I posted one gigapan that notched up 2000 views in a matter of weeks, yet I have no idea why, because I can’t see who linked to it. The strange thing is, nobody left any comments, so I assume they were outsiders, not registered members of the gigapan site.

9. Better level system. The green bubble is good, but something better – maybe an electronic or automatic level – would put an end to all those tilted panoramas."

10. Option to add “Date Taken” at the time of uploading, this would save having to navigate back and do it after its been uploaded.

11. For same reason, option to geolocate GPS co-ordinates at the time of uploading, and/or

12. Ability for gigapan website to automatically read gps co-ordinates when present in the exif data, and – at the discretion of the member – automatically geolocate the panorama.

13. When geo-locating, make the map open at the same gps co-ordinates as the member’s last panorama. Often more than one pano is shot in the same vicinity, this would save a bit of time.

14. Option for members to have a Gigapan.org watermark placed over the panorama, to thwart copyright-infringing screenshot grabbers.

15. Option to block members who post inappropriate/offensive/ridiculous snapshot comments, from commenting on your particular gigapans. If your panos have ever been bulk snap-shotted by UFO-ologists or cyber-stalked by conspiracy-centric New Agers, you will know what I mean.

16. Change gigapan webpages background colour from white to black – its much easier on your eyes!

17. Award “virtual badges” to members who post good gigapans – but an algorithm would have to be devised that rewards quality over quantity – maybe based on the explore score combined with number of views, “likes”, or other criteria.

18. Adapt the mechanism firmware so it “remembers” your prime lens FOV, saving time. You could, say, enter “Lens 1” or “Lens 2”, and not have to go through the whole FOV calibration again.

19. Adapt firmware to include an option so it pauses or emits a ‘beep’ at the end of each row. This would remind you to hit the pause button and refocus in a common situation: where the foreground comes in closer.

20. Beep or alarm if the mechanism detects a bump or vibration from wind that caused movement beyond the minimum overlap.

21. Program the geolocating box so it accepts the various forms of GPS co-ordinates. When I make a GPS reading at a gigapan site, I get the co-ordinates in this form from my Holux GPS unit: S 13 deg 32’ 49.73" , W 072 deg 01’ 13.48". Unlike some other sites, I have to convert it before Gigapan’s google map will accept it. (BTW, a handy converter can be found here: http://andrew.hedges.name/experiments/convert_l… )

22. On the members’ profile pages, reverse the order of the sample gigapans, ie, the member’s most recent gigapan should be shown by default. My first gigapans are not the best! I, like probably most others, made quite a few errors in my early days and these gigapans I only leave on the site for historical reference. Or, better still… give the member a range of options – such as ordering them according to size, popularity, number of views, number of snapshots, comments etc.

23. Weatherproof the mechanism… better than rigging up an umbrella or abandoning a 1hr shoot (+ set-up and travel time) just because of a few drops of rain. There are great weatherproof DSLRs and laptops on the market now, which would complement this. Gigapanning would then be feasible in inclement conditions. A few rubber seals here and there should do the trick. Or, sell as an accessory a transparent plastic raincover.

24. Increase the allowable size of gigapan internal mails – its limited right now to a very small number of characters.

25. Ability to pan from right to left, as far as I can see the Epic 100 can’t do this, it would come in handy in some situations, especially during sunsets/sunrises, or when clouds are clearing from a certain direction.

26. I like Gigapan Stitch software, because I can stitch larger numbers of images with my aging laptop’s limited RAM. But for smaller panoramas I use APG. If Gigapan could emulate APG in terms of anti-ghosting and varied projections – well, then Gigapan Stitch would sell like hotcakes!

One other suggestion which just occurred to me is, with modern camera sensors continually increasing in size (the new Nikon D800 has more than 36 megapixels!) the day is approaching when you will be able to take a 0.05 gigapixel image with a single DSLR shot (and in fact there are large format cameras that can already do this). So I myself would have no qualms if Gigapan.org doubled the minimum upload size limit to 0.1 gigapixels (of course only after giving members ample notice, and leaving all already-uploaded panoramas online as historical archives).

Any other suggestions?

Craig Craig
Total Posts: 4

Got to agree on the analytics – as a newcomer it’s annoying not being able to find out where they’re being linked from/to.

Got to agree on the gearing – too much lash. A retro kit would be good which will tighten up the gearing on the head.

Paul Heckbert Paul Heckbert
Total Posts: 32

Glen: those are good ideas. I work on the Stitch and Upload software so I’ll respond primarily to those comments. Yes, we’re planning to improve the controls at upload time (on the client side, inside Stitch or Upload, as opposed to web-side) over geolocation. What we plan to support is optional extraction of latitude & longitude from image EXIF and uploading of that to the web site.

Do you think it’s better to have GPS uploading on or off, by default? I can see arguments both ways: on by default is a great way to encourage more people to geolocate their gigapans. Off by default protects privacy better (perhaps you gigapanned your vacation home).

Gigapan Stitch & Upload Developer

Glen David Short Glen David Shor...
Total Posts: 50

Hi Paul, in response to the privacy issue, yes, why not let the member opt in at the time of uploading or stitching, ie let the default be to NOT include the EXIF GPS data, but give savvy members the option if they need it.

Glen David Short Glen David Shor...
Total Posts: 50

I just noticed gigapan.org has implemented a few of the above suggestions, notably improving the geolocation function by adding a zip code box, and on members’ profile pages, showing the most popular images, rather than the earliest images; also a step towards an analytics page has been made. A big thank you to gigapan! And I would encourage my fellow gigapanographers to send in their own suggestions, I am sure they will be assessed and given consideration by gigapan hierarchy. After all, what’s good for members, is good for gigapan.org. And the collective genius of our 50,000+ membership probably means there are quite a few good ideas mulling around.

The Gigapanographer Currently Known as "Kilgore661" The Gigapanogra...
Total Posts: 108

What are these “analytics” people are referring to? I was interested by the announcement of changes to the web site, but I can’t see anything significantly different.

Glen David Short Glen David Shor...
Total Posts: 50

Hi Kilgore
I was referring to the dashboard when I wrote “a step towards an analytics page has been made”. Certainly you are correct, it’s not really an analytics page, not yet anyway, but we can live in hope our gigapan webmasters will one day add features like hit counters, URL incoming links, time spent perusing each image, etc.

Tom Nelson Tom Nelson
Total Posts: 49

My main feature request: a “free” mode to let me navigate to any part of the image to capture interesting action, then resume the pano where I left off. I know I can pause and step backwards but that’s way too slow. I want to pause and use the arrow keys to go directly to the spot I want. It doesn’t have to fit the gridwork of the panorama I’m shooting.

Glen David Short Glen David Shor...
Total Posts: 50

Regarding the possibility of shooting a 0.05 gigapixel image with a single shot: that day is almost upon us: http://petapixel.com/2013/07/22/canon-may-drop-…

Forums» General Gigapanning » Gigapan wish list