High resolution imaging: Capture, storage and access

eResearch 2014, Melbourne
Paul Bourke
October 2014


Photographic images are a key asset in many areas of research and resolution is often a limiting factor to their research and archive value. In cases where higher resolution is necessary one quickly realizes that it is not possible to simply purchase a camera with an arbitrarily high resolution sensor. One solution to acquiring higher resolution images is to take a number of photographs and, using a range of algorithms in computer graphics and machine vision, combine those photographs into a single high resolution composite image. The process is scalable, the higher the resolution required the more photographs need to be taken. Such images have the advantage of capturing/recording in a single image the detail (zoomed in) as well as the context (zoomed out) of an object or place.

There are a number of challenges that arise when dealing with the resulting high resolution images. These include

  • The format by which such images are stored and/or archived. Many popular image file formats place limits on the maximum number of horizontal or vertical pixels.

  • Accessing and exploring these images require techniques not generally supported by databases, simple image software or online image viewers. The images cannot in general be loaded into memory and usually need to be viewed using hierarchical variable resolution techniques .

  • Interacting and studying these images can benefit from high resolution graphical displays that can leverage the human visual system as well as the underlying software and data structures to present the images at interactive rates. The displays include recent 4K single panels or projector based displays as well as tiled arrangements.

  • Given the success of capturing valuable research images using these techniques, the question arises as to whether they can applied to the combining of photographs of a historic nature that were captured without this process in mind.

Abstract: Abstract.pdf

Presentation slides: presentation.pdf