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Further excessive tech in Seattle: Pictures present employee at tip of House Needle spire putting in new PanoCam

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A worker is visible atop the Space Needle spire with the Seattle skyline as a backdrop. (Space Needle Photo)

There’s Seattle tech, and then there’s Seattle high tech, and then there’s, well, even higher Seattle tech. The Space Needle is showing what it takes to produce its version of the latter.

The Needle’s representatives shared images Thursday of a daring worker installing a new PanoCam atop the spire of Seattle’s most iconic structure last week. The unnamed worker, who strapped in and scaled to the tip of the Needle, topped out at 605 feet for the job and even installed a new lightning rod while up there.

The upgraded PanoCam camera system is a PanoAlpin Roundshot Livecam, built by the Swiss company Seitz Phototechnik. It was installed by Kent, Wash.-based production and design company Breedt, and it features higher quality footage than its predecessor, which debuted atop the Needle on Jan. 1, 2015. The PanoCam feed will now be available 24 hours a day with clear 360-degree views at night for the first time.

The Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, lower center, and the South Lake Union neighborhood are seen in this view of the Space Needle spire work. (Space Needle Photo)

GeekWire reported on the digital experience offered by the PanoCam in a 2018 story detailing some of the best shots captured by the rotating webcam. While the Needle itself is the subject of plenty of photographs of the city, the PanoCam provides a constant view of what visitors to the structure might look out on.

Images are taken every 10 minutes by what the Needle has called the “world’s most advanced webcam.” It takes individual images of up to 66 million pixels which are automatically stitched together, creating a complete panoramic view.

An engineer at Google went viral in January 2018 with a 4-minute-long time-lapse video he created using images taken by PanoCam that showed the rapid rise of Seattle over a 3-year period.

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With old buildings going down and new ones coming up, the video was an almost cartoonish representation of the massive growth taking place in Seattle at the time, particularly around the urban core and South Lake Union neighborhood where giant tech companies such as Amazon, Facebook and Google set up shop.

Three years later, the city keeps growing and changing, and PanoCam will continue clicking.

The Space Needle PanoCam used to stop taking images after sunset, and now features views of the city throughout the night. (Space Needle screen grab)

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