Back in 2003, it was Max Lyons who created from 196 photos, each of 6 megapixel, the world’s first gigapixel photo. It was a milestone in photographic history and he could still do it manually without any automated motor-controlled tripod head. Nowadays, most of the 100+ gigapixel images are taken by a computer controlled tripod head. Max still has his original website with the photo, how he did it and further explanation online. You find it here.