The Challenges of Using a Gigapan in Field Based Micro- and Macro-Sized data Collection and Image Processing

Document Type

Conference Proceeding

Publication Date


Original Publication Title

Diggin’ Deep (USDA Forest Service Minerals and Geology Management Publication)


Natural Sciences


Gigapan is an up and coming affordable tool in photogrammetry. The high-resolution panoramic images are useful to document geologic features at the macro and micro scales. This project focused on variability and tests the accuracy and usefulness of the Gigapan Epic Pro in multiple settings throughout the Upper Peninsula of Michigan. The Gigapan is equipped with an affordable Canon 7T crop sensor DLSR and a Canon 50MM F1.4 lens. Unlike other projects in which the Gigapan was challenged for a particular task, this project challenges the equipment with a variety of obstacles and is designed to present the successes, failures, and modifications needed to both software and hardware. In the field high-resolution microscale images of mid-Silurian Reef Facies were collected. This microscale experiment is used to test the Gigapan’s ability to capture high-detail textural changes in the rock facies. Large macroscale images of a dolomitized rock quarry were collected to determine if the resolution was sufficient to confidently identify the stratigraphy of the rock face from 30 meters away. Many objects with closer proximity to the Gigapan, like trees and large boulders, competed for focus, attempting to draw the attention of the camera away from the rock face. The Gigapan was also challenged with taking a 360-degree image of a littoral cave for which the Gigapan had to take a variety of very dark and very bright images. This test is particularly strenuous on the algorithms used for Gigastitch, Gigapan’s image stitching software.

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