Seadragon: a nifty online viewer designed for very large images

321 from Microsoft Labs is a free web service designed to view, zoom, pan-into, and share large images on the internet without degrading them or otherwise making them smaller.

I had two reactions here: the first was … wow! cool!. The second, I was initially wondering what the point of this was, exactly.

If you are asking the same question, the answer is that this is built to view really large images; which is to say images with enough detail and visual data to make it worthwhile zooming in, panning, and doing all the cool stuff that Seadragon can do. More notes below:

  • Fullscreen: can maximize to fullscreen (click on the icon in the bottom right).
  • Images: can be used on images found on the web. If you want to use your own images, upload them somewhere first. Remember that its designed to view really large, hi-res images.
  • Sharing links: Seadragon will provide a URL that you can send to and share with others.
  • Embedding in a website: Seadragon will also provide the code you need to embed the image and in a page. You can modify the code to customize width and height.

See it in action below

Note: I’ve had this image on my hard drive for a while and unfortunately do not remember whence it came; cannot give credit.

The verdict: a nice toy to play with. It is perfect if you have large images that you would like to view or share without making them small and “internet friendly”, and for panoramic images as well. This is also a great way to publish images of artwork, commercial brochures or scientific images that may be rich in both visual information and text.

Compatibility: a modern browser.

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