BT Tower centre of record breaking 320-gigapixel panoramic photo

BT has commissioned a 360-degree panoramic photograph of London and in the process has set a new record, resulting in the largest panoramic photo ever taken.

The BT Tower was at the centre of the feat, performed by experts from 360Cities, and the gigantic image was commissioned as a celebration of BT’s involvement in the London 2012 Olympic Games.

"The BT Tower is such an iconic London landmark, and became a focus for the capital’s celebrations in 2012," said Suzi Williams, ¬†BT group marketing & brand director. "What better way to capture that remarkable year than with a full panoramic photograph taken from its roof?" It was actually taken from the 29th floor, but who’s counting?

Beautiful as the doughnut photo is, the technicalities of its capture make for sexy reading. The photo is comprised of 48,640 frames captured with Canon EOS 7D cameras fitted with the EF 400mm f/2.8L IS II USM lens, with the Extender EX 2x III teleconverter.

The camera equipment was mounted on specialist Clauss Rodeon VR Head ST mounts which are capable of breaking a 360-degree arc into 72,000 individual steps. In this case, firing four frames a second.

The capturing process took three days, but it has taken three months for the Fujitsu Celcius R920 computer to produce the final result. The workstation is equipped with 256GB of RAM and has 16 cores running at 3.2GHz.

If printed, the resultant image would be 98 metres long, with a height of 24 metres. In terms of double-decker buses (the SI measure for anything large in London), that’s 11 buses long and almost three buses high.

You can check out the image itself at btlondon2012.co.uk/pano.html and, like other images of this type, you can pan and zoom to take a look around. It's quite magnificent, and full of roofs.