The Gigapxl™ Project

Graham Flint
Joint work with Catherine Aves and Michael Jones

Slides (PDF, 1.4Mb)

The Gigapxl™ Project combines cutting edge large-format photography with digital scanning to create ultra-high-resolution images which are captured at rates in excess of 4 x 1011 pixels per second. Achieving such high rates calls for the careful balancing of many factors; especially the balancing of detrimental effects such as atmospheric blurring, lens aberrations, photographic granularity, and image pixelation. Supplementing the pursuit of ever-increasing information content, a near-term goal of the Gigapxl™ Project is to produce an ultra-high-resolution Portrait of America; the content of which will include images from about 1000 sites in the U.S. and Canada. A longer-term goal is to document for future generations the locations (currently 788) listed by UNESCO as World Heritage Sites. Our presentation addresses not only the technical challenges attendant to these projects, but also the manner in which age-old technology and newly emerging technology have been combined so as to meet the challenge.


A physicist by profession, Graham Flint has sought to bring the perspective of a physicist to other fields; especially to architecture, astronomy, medicine, military science, photography, and, most recently, to information display. Early in his career, he was co-inventor of the world’s first infrared laser rangefinder and subsequently has pioneered the application of lasers in areas as diverse as eye surgery and space-based weaponry. In the context of photography, he has designed cameras for applications which range from cold-war espionage to the Hubble Space Telescope. He has published more than a hundred technical papers and holds a dozen patents.

Graham has held positions as Chief of Lockheed Martin’s Laser Devices Laboratory, as Executive Vice President of International Laser Systems, and as Director of the Air Force’s Developmental Optics Facility. Most recently, and until joining the ranks of the semi-retired last year, he served as President and CEO of Photera Technologies, a California-based corporation specializing in ultra-high-resolution imagery and laser digital cinema. Along the way, he has been Chairman of the Laser Division of the U.S. Electronic Industries Association and Co-chairman of the Channel Islands Alternate Energy Commission. As an avocational endeavor, he has pursued the Gigapxl™ Project, a project which brings together the cutting edges of photographic optics, film technology, and digital processing so as to create landscape photographs which contain unprecedented amounts of information.