I just watched a really interesting presentation of a technology called Seadragon that was acquired by Microsoft:
In the presentation, we find out that Seadragon can be used to process and visually work with many gigabytes of photographic images without any slowdown.
Further, the technology is used in Photosynth to spatially map thousands of photos into a navigable virtual space. In the picture above, the presenter shows an example of what happens when every photo on Flickr tagged "Notre Dame" is thrown at the Seadragon technology.
Anyone on a decent connection can try out Photosynth for themselves here: http://labs.live.com/photosynth/
Be sure to check out the Grassi Lakes collection where you can see climbers ascend the Rocky Mountains: