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Category Archives: News

Google Earth Updated With 100,000 Virtual Tours Of Popular Destinations

Google has announced a massive upgrade to Google Earth Tour Guide function, which is already available on the Google Earth application for Android, iOS and desktop PCs.

google virtual tours

In other words, the Tour Guide mode gives Google Earth users a way to explore interesting locations on the map near the point at which they navigated, choosing from a list of selected places that are updated whenever we zoom to a new area of the map . Basically, Tour Guide function is the way Google shows interesting locations which may not even know existed.

For now, those eager to discover new holiday destinations or explore exotic locations from the comfort of your own armchair benefit from a more diverse selection of cities, interesting places and tourist destinations from over 200 countries. Along with the 100,000 new locations and 11,000 collection locations given in October 2012 received improvements, so many worthy destinations reexplorate.

The new collection combines experience virtual tours 3D flyover above virtual replicas of buildings and landscapes, with real photo albums taken from the archives of Wikipedia, which we can form a more complete picture about the real locations. Additionally, Google introduced Place Highlight an option and added more than 1 million images uploaded to Panoramio users archives. Each virtual tour is completed by a collection of images Panoramio chosen as most representative of the target location.

source; http://www.tech.sc

Tour Wrist Uses Augmented Reality To Teleport You Into A Foreign Land

Augmented Reality  of tour wrist

Ever wanted to visit the Trevi Fountain in Rome or the Taj Mahal? Now you can, from the safety of your iPad.

Virtual tours have got to be one of the lamest things ever invented: Sit at your computer, squinting at some never-quite-good-enough photos of a place you’ll never go to while clicking impotently with your mouse to “move” around. But touch interfaces, tablet devices, and augmented reality have changed all that. A company called Tour Wrist has one of the most spectacular virtual-tour user experiences I’ve seen: their free iPad app lets you hold the device up like a magic window and pan it around in physical space to reveal a totally different location — many quite exotic. This video gives you a sense of how it works:

 

Users will soon be able to move forward and backward “into” the scene.

“If you’ve ever played with Google Earth, you zoom in and get this sensation of being able to go anywhere — but eventually you stop going back because it doesn’t let you do anything,” explains Tour Wrist CEO Charles Armstrong. “Our goal is to give you the opportunity to actually explore these places.” At the moment, Tour Wrist only offers 360-degree panoramas — although “only” is an uncharitable way to describe the fluid experience of using them. But soon the company will roll out a feature called Hot Spots which will make Tour Wrist quite Google-Earth-like indeed: users will be able to “look around” in all directions and move forward and backward “into” the scene, much like Google Street View. “Our interface is always in a constant state of improvement,” says Armstrong.

Tour Wrist is plenty appealing for taking a quick pretend-vacation, but Armstrong wants Tour Wrist’s intuitive, 360-degree visual interface to become “a new way of communicating” in general. Compared to typing or clicking, it certainly maps much better to our hardwired intuitions about spatial memory and physical affordances. The idea is to make the term “touring” so open-ended that it can apply to almost any kind of visual communication or demonstration: for example, Tour Wrist already lets you “tour” vehicles as well as cafes, hotels, and museums. Imagine getting a physical sense of the interior of that Range Rover you’ve been eyeing up without ever leaving your Barcalounger.

The Tour Wrist API, rolling out this week, is a big part of Armstrong’s vision to turn his platform into a ubiquitous, sharable form of digital communication much like YouTube, Flickr, or Twitter. Six companies that offer panoramic photo products are already on board to use Tour Wrist’s API. What does that mean in non-dorkspeak? “Say you’re a realtor or just the guy who always finds the hot new place in town,” Armstrong explains. “When you go into this place, you just wave your phone around to ‘paint’ the environment with the camera, and upload it to Tour Wrist.” From there, TourWrist generates an embeddable link that can be emailed or pasted into blogs and other social media. “We’ve really modeled ourselves after YouTube,” Armstrong says. “We give people tools for sharing this experience without forcing them to download the app.”

Will the Tour Wrist experience be as ubiquitous five years from now as YouTube is today? Will 360-degree augmented reality party shots from the Playboy mansion (or news events!) someday go viral like so many cat videos? Tour Wrist isn’t there yet, but it’s an ambitious vision, and given how engaging the experience already is, it doesn’t seem out of the question.

 

source..fastcodesign.com/

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Virtual tours come to mobile Apple users

Image representing iPhone as depicted in Crunc...

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For mobile apple users

International photography company PhotoWeb has realized a technical breakthrough that until now has been beyond the reach of mobile Apple users – the ability to view panoramic virtual tours online.

This is an important development as more and more people are using mobile rather than fixed computers for their web searches. The number of global mobile search devices is predicted to grow to 1.8 billion by 2014 – outstripping the current PC and Mac internet population of 1.4 billion.

With hotel research and booking now done almost entirely on the web, and many people wanting to make informed comparisons and decisions via mobile searches as they travel, accurate and realistic virtual tours of rooms and facilities are increasingly important to PhotoWeb’s hospitality clientele.

But because Apple mobile devices haven’t so far supported Flash, Java or QuickTimeVR – the three popular virtual tour technologies available today – their users have until now been missing out on this functionality.

All that’s now changed, thanks to a recent update to the Safari web browser combined with the innovative new Universal Multimedia Viewer system developed by PhotoWeb. This can identify a mobile Apple user and automatically switch to an HTML5 code to provide full 360 degree viewing. No apps, plug-ins, downloads are needed.

“Our goal is to automatically provide all mobile devices with an image that’s exactly sized and optimized to load quickly and match the resolution of the device” said David Firestone, VP of Sales and Marketing for PhotoWeb. “So the viewer we’ve developed will recognize the device that’s being used, and source an appropriate image from a single high resolution file, using the technology preferred by the device. This means that in addition to supporting the iPad, iPod, iPhone and other small mobile devices, we can also offer optimized viewing in high resolution on larger screens, including a massive 2560 x 1440 view on a 27″ Apple iMac.”

As well as displaying virtual tours, PhotoWeb’snew viewer runs video and presents still photos, using three tabs to access all content. It includes a “book now” button that takes users straight into the booking channel, a mapping function that includes the location of the user and the hotel, and a “share” button to link to Facebook, Twitter, Digg, and hundreds of other social media sites.

PhotoWeb’s Universal MultiMedia viewer is being implemented on thousands more travel sites and affiliates, including Expedia, Hotels.com, Orbitz, Priceline, Kayak, Yahoo, and Google – allowing? visitors to finally be able to view all rich media content on their mobile devices, before deciding where to book.

PhotoWeb was established in 1996, and recently completed the largest ever hotel photography assignment for the world’s largest hotel group, involving 3,500 IHG (InterContinental Hotels Group) properties. PhotoWeb is in the process of converting all? 40,000+ panoramic images of hotel rooms and facilities held on its servers to the new format that’s viewable on mobile devices.

Source = PhotoWeb

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360cities.net Unveils New Record-Breaking Gigapixel Panoramic Photo of London

New Record-Breaking Gigapixel Panoramic Photo of London

Image by Jeffrey Martin, www.360cities.net

Prague, Czech Republic, November 16, 2010 – A newly published 360-degree photo of London takes the
crown as the largest spherical panoramic photo in the world. The image of London, at 360cities.net/london,
has a total resolution of 80 gigapixels, or 80 billion pixels. Shot by photographer Jeffrey Martin over a period
of three days from the top of the

Zooming in in apartment somewhere far away

Image by Jeffrey Martin, www.360cities.net

Centre Point building at the crossroads of Oxford Street and Tottenham
Court Road, the image reveals the highest-resolution view of any city that has ever been captured. From this
vantage point – 36 stories up in the air – an astonishing number of landmarks, houses, skyscrapers, shops,
offices, and streets are visible. Countless people at street level are observable, as well as thousands of
windows, many of which reveal glimpses of life inside.

and a terrace somewhere in the panorama

In short, it is a portrait of London, the likes of which
has never been made before.
Previous attempts at world record gigapixels include a 26-gigapixel image of Paris, a 70-gigapixel image of
Budapest, a 26-gigapixel image of Dresden, and Martin’s previous record holder from 2009, an 18-gigapixel
spherical image of Prague. This new London gigapixel image, if printed at normal photographic resolution,
would be 35 meters long and 17 meters tall (115 feet x 56 feet).
Martin, a panoramic photographer and the Founder of 360Cities.net, created the London gigapixel image
from 7886 high-resolution individual photos taken from the Centre Point building. These thousands of photos
were then stitched together as one single image on a powerful Fujitsu CELSIUS workstation, provided for the
project by Fujitsu Technology Solutions. The computer comprises dual 6-core CPUs, 192GB of RAM, and a
4GB graphics card.
To encourage people to explore the 80-gigapixel image of London in its finest detail, 360 Cities will launch
three separate contests to find and describe items or places in the photo. In the first contest the winner will
receive a Fujitsu 27″ LCD monitor provided by Fujitsu Technology Solutions, computer and camera bags
provided by Crumpler.com will be awarded in the second, and in the third contest, over $3000 worth of
holidays will be awarded, courtesy of Intrepid Travel (intrepidtravel.com) and their subsidiary, Urban
Adventures (urbanadventures.com).
Further information about the making of the image can be found at http://blog.360cities.net/london-gigapixel.
About 360 Cities
360 Cities is dedicated to promoting geo-located, high-resolution spherical imagery by providing the bestanywhere
platform for publishing panoramic photography on the web. 360Cities.net is the web’s largest
collection of spherical, map-based panoramas, and through its partnership with Google Earth, this content is
introduced to an even wider audience worldwide. 360 Cities is a Netherlands limited company with a
subsidiary in Prague, Czech Republic.

see the full tour

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