Very Large Images on the Web: Which blogs display very large images in simple and satisfying ways?
November 29, 2010 10:05 AM   Subscribe

Very Large Images on the Web: Which blogs display very large images (2.3MB smallish example) in simple and satisfying ways? How can I do the same?

I'd like to display some large, highly-detailed images in a wordpress blog (largest would be around 12000px; average would be 4000px). I'm looking for sites that do this well, and for wordpress plugins and themes that would help me do the same.

I'm not sure of what the various display idioms (Google Earth-style pan/zoom? Others?) are or what they are called, but I'd like to know more about them. I'm sure I've not seen all of them.

The solution I'm seeking would be compatible with different browsers (within reason), and different screen resolutions (within reason). It'd be simple, elegant, not gimmicky, not glitchy, and would feature the image and not the interface.

I'm no expert at this, but I'm not scared of complexity. I have a background in GIS and seamless visual data, but little or no web chops. That said, I can follow directions and work through technical matters. Many thanks.
posted by jjjjjjjijjjjjjj to Computers & Internet (12 answers total) 7 users marked this as a favorite
Response by poster: Also: Images would all be public-domain, and I would want to encourage sharing them; meaning a "download at highest resolution" option (not necessarily as part of the display interface) and no watermarking or other... obfuscation. Helpful but not strictly necessary would be a "download this portion of the image at highest resolution" capability.
posted by jjjjjjjijjjjjjj at 10:05 AM on November 29, 2010

I find Big picture quite satisfying to look at.
posted by special-k at 10:23 AM on November 29, 2010 [1 favorite]

Astronomy Picture of the Day routinely runs pictures as big as you're talking about. The way they do it is to have a reasonable size version of it on their web page, which can load fast, and link to a full-sized version for those who want to see them.

The full-sized version just loads directly; you're on your own viewing it. But with modern browsers that's not very much of an issue. Both IE8 and the latest Firefox support zooming in the browser.
posted by Chocolate Pickle at 10:28 AM on November 29, 2010

I like this nice simple presentation of Haeckel's Kunstformen der Natur, which appears to use a flash SDK called Openzoom. (The only obscurity is that you need to shift-click or ctrl-click to zoom out.) There's also, which uses fancier technology, but might support bigger images.
posted by theodolite at 10:29 AM on November 29, 2010 [1 favorite]

Response by poster: I like "the Big Picture" as well. But I think it's important to note that I'm looking for something that'll display images an order of magnitude larger. Think 10,000+ px compared to Big Picture's 1,000px.
posted by jjjjjjjijjjjjjj at 10:31 AM on November 29, 2010

Not sure if this fits your image needs, but the demos should give you a sense as to how it works. I also don't know offhand if you can easily embed images from their site or their software into your blog.
posted by jasonhong at 10:31 AM on November 29, 2010

I can't speak to the wordpress part, but in general this is handled by chunking the source image into square tiles at various steps of resolution and using a viewer application that requests just the required tiles based on the client's zoom and pan settings. There are many implementations of this approach to choose from: Zoomify, Silverlight Deep Zoom, IIPImage Viewer, djatoka.
posted by alb at 10:31 AM on November 29, 2010 [2 favorites] has a lot of high definition vintage photos. Info says they are about 2500x3000 pixels.
posted by CathyG at 10:56 AM on November 29, 2010

You can use the google maps interface to do this. Here's an example I put together; I think it's around 4k pixels on a side.
posted by pombe at 1:32 PM on November 29, 2010 [3 favorites]

Almost too obvious to say, but reason why you don't see too many images the size you're looking for is economic -- the bandwidth costs would be extremely high for someone hosting their own blog. Even with Amazon S3 or whatever, a spike in traffic from Slashdot or whatever could put a big dent in your finances.
posted by AmbroseChapel at 5:26 PM on November 29, 2010

Just a data-point from someone who frequently browses for very large images (historical maps and satellite images for work): I generally hate it when people use tiling viewers. It's just wasted overhead in 90% of cases, because there are only two views I ever care about: sized to the browser, and full size. I think tiling is only worthwhile when there is a level of detail which cannot practically be exposed via a "download full size" option, such as images over 1 gigapixel.
posted by Nothing at 8:06 PM on November 29, 2010 [1 favorite]

(And even then they are frustrating.)
posted by Nothing at 8:07 PM on November 29, 2010

« Older Austin vs. Chicago   |   What are these particular swans doing on this... Newer »
This thread is closed to new comments.