04 August 2011

Zoom.it - A New Way to See Your Ancestors

Zoom.it is a free service that lets you view a photograph in a new way with deep zoom and instant load speeds. Ever since reading Mark Tucker's post about Zoom.it back in February I have been meaning to try it with some of my biggest photographs.

My great grandfather, Henry H. Rowland, is the third person from the back left.
JUNE 13th 1956"

How I did it:
  1. Uploaded Image to one of my Ancestry.com Member Trees
  2. Clicked the image to open it in a new window and copied the URL
  3. Pasted the URL at Zoom.it and waited for conversion
  4. Pasted the provided embed HTML in this blog post
Before uploading I spent hours trying to get the best image possible. The images I chose to practice with were so large I had to scan them in multiple parts.

What I learned:
  1. JPEGs for upload, save a TIFF version with your genealogy backups.
  2. Use GIMP for free to manually combine multiple scan images and/or edit your photos
  3. Stick to 15 MB or less for JPEGs
  4. 4 GB RAM needed for combining multiple scan photos
  5. Scan at 600 dpi (less is inferior and more is unwieldy)
For the picture above I digitally cut the 3 scans with GIMP and alined them. Then, I smudged the lines a little to make them less obvious. In the future I hope to review an image composite editor such as Microsoft I.C.E. to see how it does with auto-stitching. At some point I may purchase a Flip-Pal scanner which scans large images in 4x6 sections and auto-stitches them with the provided software.

If you have any large images you'd like to see online, please try Zoom.it for yourself. Then comment here and let me know what works for you. (e.g. image hosts, editing software, & techniques) You can even leave a link to your Zoom.it image.

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