Stunning interactive panorama photo taken atop WTC spire

By: Associated Press
By: Associated Press
A new interactive photo taken from the spire of the nearly completed World Trade Center tower offers stunning 360-degree views that can be zoomed in and out.

This image provided by Time Inc. shows the cover of the March 17, 2014 issue of Time Magazine, featuring a panoramic photo taken from atop 1 World Trade Center in New York. The image is made up of 567 images taken over the course of five hours and stitched together. The camera was attached to a 13-foot long aluminum pole and mounted just 10 feet below the tip of the 1,776 tall structure. (AP Photo/Time Inc., Jonathan D. Woods and Michael Franz)

NEW YORK (AP) -- A new interactive photo taken from the spire of the nearly completed World Trade Center tower offers stunning 360-degree views that can be zoomed in and out.

The high-resolution image, taken by Time magazine, was posted on its website Thursday.

Users can pan across the photo and zoom in tight on the cityscape, including landmarks such as the Statue of Liberty and the Empire State Building, without losing any clarity.

Time said it got exclusive access to the tower's spire from the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey, which owns the site. It took eight months to design and construct a 13-foot rotating arm to which a camera with a 100-millimeter lens was mounted, the magazine said on its website. It worked on the project with Portland, Ore.-based GigaPan Systems, mechanical engineers and welders.

"Over a five-hour span of orbital shooting on Sept. 28, 2013, the camera produced 567 pictures that were then stitched together digitally into a single massive - and zoomable - image of everything the eye can see in all directions," according to the website.

Click here to see it for yourself.

According to GigaPan, its panoramic photography equipment is based on the same technology employed by NASA's Mars rovers to capture the images of the red planet.

The panoramic image also is featured as a wrap-around cover of Time's issue hitting newsstand Friday. The issue includes an article about the 12-year construction of the building, formerly called the Freedom Tower.

The magazine came up with the idea of shooting the photo because it wanted to "create a new image that would memorialize the rebirth, the healing of Lower Manhattan following 9/11," Jonathan Woods, Time's senior editor of photo and interactive, said on the website.

"More than anything, when people see this photo, I hope they appreciate being brought somewhere where they can't go," he added.

The tower is the nation's tallest building. Its beacon and spire together stand 408 feet tall, bringing the building to a symbolic height of 1,776 feet.


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