Image credits: BigPixel Studio

BigPixel Studio, officially Shanghai Jingkun Technology, has been creating super high-resolution panorama images of cities worldwide since 2014. Its latest image is captured from the top of the Oriental Pearl Tower in Shanghai and has a 195-gigapixel resolution. The image is so detailed you can zoom in and see pedestrians' faces and even make out license plates.

Contrary to rumors floating around the web, BigPixel's detailed 360° panoramas are not captured using satellite imagery but are rather built using many images shot using a traditional camera with precise control. The thousands of images are then processed and merged using the company's in-house technology.

For this image, I zoomed in on the leading image slightly

The company is hired by firms and cities around the world. The images are, after all, great marketing tools. After discussing the client's needs, Shanghai Jingkun Technology then works with the client to pick a perspective and then starts the capture process when the weather allows. Images are captured over a period of months. Each image is individually processed before being used as part of the final composite image. Shanghai Jingkun Technology adds interactive functions for the image and then assists with promotion when the final interactive image is ready.

A bit more zoom

So far, Shanghai Jingkun Technology has created images for more than 70 cities worldwide, and its images have been viewed over a billion total times. You can check out its different images, including photos captured in Hong Kong, Beijing, Reykjavik, Zurich, New York, the Vatican and more.

At this zoom level, you can make out the vehicles and see pedestrians, but you can get even closer...

Per Business Insider, the new image in Shanghai is the largest image ever captured in Asia, and the third-largest image in the world. The new image is Shanghai Jingkun Technology's first image with 'hundreds of billions of pixels.'

At maximum zoom, you can see some detail of people's faces and even read license plates. Although it's unclear at precisely what elevation BigPixel captured images in Shanghai, the tower they used is over 1,300' tall. It's incredible to be able to see this level of detail from this distance, and you can do this at 360°. Try it for yourself.

Business Insider also notes that such technology has 'obvious' potential to be used for surveillance. That might be true in the case of long-term surveillance, but as of now, it takes a long time to capture all the required images and is far from useful for real-time surveillance. What it is useful for, however, beyond being interesting, is recording a city's place in time over a given period. It's fascinating to see how cities change and develop over time and having such detailed images of places is invaluable.