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Currently, I am the digital production manager at CyArk working with a team of curators, technology experts, and developers to digitally document and archive world heritage sites with an emphasis on at risk heritage. I am also a PhD candidate in “Digital Heritage” in the History of Art and Visual Culture department at UCSC and lecturer at MIT’s Global Architectural History Teaching Collaborative. Finally, I am a proud member of Women Who Code, UC Robotics Club, and Drinking about Museums. This blog is a collection of videos, images, and text relating to new technologies in a museum setting. I plan to experiment and practice what I am writing about and researching in hopes of gaining a better understanding of this emerging field.

Creating Incredibly Zoomable Images with a Gigapan System

When the Google Arts Project came out a few years ago-I saw it as both a glorious study tool, and a procrastination time suck during the first year of my masters.  Of course the project came with its issues, but they fact that I could view, in incredible minute detail, over 1,060 famous works of art from 17 heavyweight international museums, I knew that I needed to learn more. After lots of research, and a few emails to friends working at the company, I settled on the Gigapan System as a relatively affordable (TA salary) alternative.

Google of course is not working on a TA salary but the Gigapan uses the same super high resolution or ‘gigapixel’ photo capturing technology (google’s version cost in the tens-of-thousands). The hardware is literally a robot where I can place my camera on top and take anywhere between 5-50 photos of a single work of art (depending on the size and your distance from the object). I then use the gigapan software to “stitch” all the photos together. Take a look at my very first try May 2011 on a Jules Olitski painting owned by my professor: http://gigapan.com/gigapans/78309/ (make sure to click on the 4 small image clips on the bottom)

Later this month, I plan to photograph part of the San Francisco Public Library’s Rare Book Art and Special Collections for their website. So look for another post in a few weeks!

side note: the gigapan was used by the Mars Rovers, Spirit and Opportunity-(if its good enough for NASA, then its good enough for me!)

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