I came across this website and was fascinated with the images produced with even a cheap digital camera.
Gigapan Systems was established as a commercial spinoff of research from NASA and Carnegie Mellon University to produce high resolution panoramic photos.
Essentially a small robotic camera mount takes hundreds to thousands of pictures of a subject and software stitches these images together to produce a seamless high resolution image.
The model of the Gigapan system for small digital cameras is about 300 bucks.
Here's a 45 Gigapixel shot of Dubai
North Carolina State University's Insect Museum digitized hundreds of their drawers of specimens using Gigapan. The snapshot feature allows for annotation of the image such as species determinations and loan requests.