Archive for July, 2009


The new!

July 30, 2009

We’ve taken all of the pieces of Seadragon technology and wrapped them up in a nice bow with the new Just drop the URL to any image on the web (JPG, PNG, GIF, TIF, etc.) into the box, and we serve up a smooth zooming Seadragon viewer for it. Behind the scenes we’re using DeepZoomTools on an Azure server to handle the conversion, and serving it up using Silverlight Deep Zoom when available and Seadragon Ajax when not. The result is (hopefully) an extremely smooth and simple experience, even though there’s so many bits that make it up.

It all started with a suggestion from Sean Dunn, which rolled into Out of the Box projects by Aseem Kishore and Boyd Ferris. Ben Vanik wrote the Silverlight viewer we’re using, and James Darpinian wrapped it up with Seadragon Ajax so we can use Silverlight if available and JavaScript otherwise. From there, Aseem did the lion’s share of the work to build out the service and tie the whole thing together, with UI design by Shepherd Yang. Ken Perkins kept us all on track, and Jesse Wang made sure the whole thing was solid. Of course everyone on the Seadragon team was involved in one way or another, and we’re all terribly excited to have it finally up on the web!

We’re especially interested to see how people end up using the site. Every time there’s a huge image posted on digg, I’d love to see it posted via so people can see it better. I can see Seadragon being a great alternative to ViewOnBlack for sharing your Flickr images. People can even use it to present their art portfolios on their own sites. If you see or think of any interesting uses, I’d love to hear about it!


Recording a Seadragon session?

July 23, 2009

I’ve just been chatting with Kent Sullivan, a member of the Northern Pacific Railway Historical Association, and he’s got a cool Seadragon idea that requires some dev help. Basically he’s looking to record a user’s movements in realtime as they pan and zoom around an extremely large image, so that those movements can then be played back synchronized to the audio of that person talking about the contents of the image.

This sort of technology would be useful for a lot of scenarios. In Kent’s case, it’s part of a multi-year project, in partnership with the Great Northern Railway Historical Society, to digitize and make available thousands of different documents and photos that help describe the history of these two important railroads (now part of the BNSF).

One of the projects he’s working on involves train sheets, the sheets upon which dispatchers recorded the movement of every train across a given geographical area during a 24-hour period. There is a treasure trove of information in these sheets because it helps historians (and railfans, and modelers) understand how a network of trains interacted to move passengers and freight – and what the volumes were, and who was doing the work. Each sheet is about 6’ long x 2’ high.

They’re just beginning the process of scanning the sheets that were been saved by the NPRR, a sample of the thousands that were created down through the years. These sheets take some explanation in order to understand them, however, as they are very densely populated and many abbreviations are used. Fortunately, a few dispatchers who created the sheets are still with us, and one of them has volunteered to describe a sample sheet for recording purposes during his trip to Seattle on August 5.

Kent and I both think that Seadragon would be a fabulous way for this dispatcher to give an interactive tour of the sample sheet. What Kent needs help with is creating a mechanism to record the dispatcher’s movements with Seadragon and a way to synchronize the audio narration that he provides. Could someone in Seadragon community help? Maybe there are some railfans out there? Leave a note in the comments or email

Ian Gilman


Infinite Canvas back in business

July 16, 2009

As previously mentioned, we had to relocate Infinite Canvas to a new server. Fortunately the folks at JGate have been very helpful in getting us set up, and the folks at AppJet have kindly redirected the original domain to point at the new server, so all the old links work and everything should function the way it did before. I’ve turned editing back on and everything looks good, so it’s back to our previously-scheduled explorations in visual expression!

UPDATE: The AppJet link no longer works. Please use instead.


Zoom Quilt

July 13, 2009

One of the coolest applications of zooming technology (from an aesthetic standpoint) is the Zoom Quilt projects. Artists work collaboratively to create hugely detailed scenes with a focused center point into which the next artist’s piece zooms, and the next, and so forth, revealing an seamless thread of intricate worlds within worlds.

Zoom Quilt 2
The creativity here is tremendously impressive and demonstrates the power of zooming as a community endeavor. The first Zoom Quilt was done five years ago — pioneers!

Zoom Quilt 1 (2004)

Zoom Quilt 2 (2007)

Kate Welch


New Deep Zoom Composer features

July 9, 2009

Janete Perez on the Expression team has written up intros to some of the new features in the June 2009 Deep Zoom Composer release. Check them out:

Adding Links


Creating Menus


Slideshow Support



Ian Gilman