Have you ever sat and waited (and waited) while your Google
Maps reloads the image as you scroll in? A new technology called
Seadragon might change all that -- at least for Microsoft products.
Seadragon is a neat little technology where users run a streaming client that
allows them to view images of much larger images, constantly scaling and
larger resolution tiles of images. Seadragon, on the other hand, uses a
client to constantly focus and defocus a JPG image on demand, without transmitting the whole image. As the Seadragon demo
shows, the client software focuses the image for an effect similar to what you
might experience while looking through an adjusting microscope.
Seadragon's WMP demo (viewable here)
demonstrates a 118 megapixel image dance around the terminal on a 500
per second connection. The set of images to the right are screen
captures from the Seadragon demo of a high quality scan coming into
focus. The image does not abrubtly scale or rerender.
Several blogs are
reporting that this technology has been picked up by Microsoft, although
the official announcement hasn't been made yet -- though another Microsoft
employee blogs about the aquisition here. After Google Maps effectively replaced Microsoft's Terraserver overnight, don't be surprised if we see this technology show up in Microsoft's next generation mapping software.