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A digital imaging table is a flat table that contains a screen. Digital imaging tables are available in all shapes, sizes and levels of quality, depending on price range and the purpose for which they are intended. Essentially though, a digital imaging table allows people to view a monitor from overhead.
A digital imaging table may be produced to display only still images, or it may be intended for moving pictures as well. It may contain only a few set colors, or it may have color depth equal to that of the most quality computer and television monitors. A digital imaging table may range in size from a small 5" (12.7 cm) screen all the way up to an enormous 6' (2 m) screen.
The digital imaging table is widely used in intelligence and military operations, as it offers a picture of assets on the ground in a way that is conducive to viewing and discussion by multiple people. In fact, the image most people have in their heads of a digital imaging table comes from military movies, in which commanders are often seen hovering over one tracking the course of airplanes or troops. A digital imaging table may also be useful for large businesses, as a way to track products or manage personnel. Many tables are tied into GPS systems so that they can provide real-time information as to the location of trucks, planes or key people.
Digital table technology has a wide range of applications, but it particularly shines any time one has a need to overlay data on top of a map. Many state agencies make use of a digital imaging table to track such things as police response and forest fire fighting, while petroleum companies may use them to plot oil exploration and equipment deployment. A digital imaging table may also be a useful aid for classroom learning or museum displays, and many people have experience with such devices in the context of a natural history or science museum. The hands-on feel that a digital imaging table gives the user easily translates into a feeling of excitement and control in a learning environment.
A modern digital imaging table can cost tens of thousands of dollars, with smaller models costing in the thousands. At the upper end, however, the price is well worth it. The best tables offer more than 4 million pixels in their display, with auto calibration features, color management and touch screen technology built into the display. While they are currently well outside the price range of most consumers, as the technology continues to develop, prices continue to drop, and it may not be long before the digital imaging table becomes a cornerstone of an avid computer user's setup.
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