Posts tagged ‘panorama’

(from oldest to newest)

Transsylvania: The Big Wheel in the Turda Saltmine

Panoramic photo by Michael Pop.
Click the image to open the interactive version.

Cornouaille: France Finstere Camaret sur Mer atelier naval 2

Panoramic photo by Roland Raele.
Click the image to open the interactive version.

Hanoi: Ngoc Son Temple

Panoramic photo by Thang Bui.
Click the image to open the interactive version.

Switzerland: Davoser Sea

Panoramic photo by Roland Herger.
Click the image to open the interactive version.

Moldova: near Corneshti, old Orhei ,Moldova 2010 06 panorama3

Panoramic photo by Nikolai Soloviov.
Click the image to open the interactive version.

USA: Skate Rental at Historic Midway State Park

Panoramic photo by David Mariotti.
Click the image to open the interactive version.

New Paltz: Lake Minnewaska Sunset 20100702

Panoramic photo by Mark Fink.
Click the image to open the interactive version.

Mallorca: Bodega Cooperativa de Felanitx , Es Sindicat

Panoramic photo by Andreu Vicens Oliver.
Click the image to open the interactive version.

Panoramic photo by Kostas Kaltsas.
Click the image to open the interactive version.
Panoramic photo by Marijan Marijanovic.
Click the image to open the interactive version.
Panoramic photo by Thang Bui.
Click the image to open the interactive version.
Panoramic photo by Dashtseren Tulga.
Click the image to open the interactive version.
Panoramic photo by Noel Jenkins.
Click the image to open the interactive version.
Panoramic photo by Marcio Cabral.
Click the image to open the interactive version.
Panoramic photo by David , .
Click the image to open the interactive version.
Panoramic photo by C B Arun Kumar.
Click the image to open the interactive version.

These are three of almost a hundred business panoramas uploaded to 360 Cities in last two weeks by PRO account holders.

Restaurant of Hotel fazenda Eco Resort Recanto Alvorada


Restaurant of Hotel fazenda Eco Resort Recanto Alvorada in Brotas SP

Noumea Dentist New Caledonia


Noumea Dentist New Caledonia in Noumea

Oyster restaurant


Oyster restaurant In tibau do sul near pipa and natal in Brazil

Do you want to be featured in next week’s update? Leave a link to your recently published pano in the comments below or send it to us directly via the contact form. If you send us email or a Skype message please mention a link to this blog post.

Here’s our list of our favorite panos uploaded to 360cities.net last week:

How many animals can you count in this one?


Big Pine Mountain, San Rafael Mountains, Santa Barbara in California

Stunning Skydiving Panorama During Freefall


Free Fly Skydiving in Péronne in France

London Naked Bike Ride


London World Naked Bike Ride 2010 in London

For the newest panos uploaded to 360cities.net, check out our Recent Activity and discover the new and exciting images on your own.

For years people have been asking us for paid accounts with extra features.

For months we’ve been thinking about it.

And for weeks working on it.

360 Cities PRO Account

Introducing 360 Cities PRO

The 360 Cities PRO account has everything that the free account has, plus some extra adorable add-ons. 360 Cities PRO accounts are designed for professional panorama photographers who want to use 360 Cities for business purposes. The key benefit is that they allow you to publish panoramas that clearly promote a business. This is very useful for promoting hotels, restaurants, cafes, bars, shops, etc. If you name the images properly then thanks to our search engine optimization don’t be surprised if the panoramas end up ranking better than your company website. :)

The second great feature of PRO accounts is that you can publish awesome HD virtual tours on the 360 Cities hosting layer. A virtual tour on 360 Cities is a group of panos (panoramic images) that represents a virtual walk-through of a place. You can build a tour by simply uploading panoramas and grouping them together, but if you want, you can also add a nice-looking floor plan, map and clickable arrows that point to nearby locations to make the virtual walk-through complete. You can then send a public link to the tour to anyone or to embed your panoramas and virtual tours to websites. If you already are a professional VR photographer experienced in creating virtual tours for businesses in your area, 360 Cities can become an effective value-added service to help you increase your business and save you time.

Our publishing system completely automates the process of putting panoramas and virtual tours online. All you have to do is upload stitched panoramas. Our system does everything else like creating many different image versions and sizes and locating it properly on the map based on a range of data you input using our content management system, a forms-based user interface that gives you the ability to add descriptive text and control a number of settings. For virtual tours we you don’t need to worry with XML and hosting issues, we handle everything for you, even if you embed your tour. This is all a big time and money savings for you.

The third benefit of a PRO account is that you can put your company name in your account name. Your account name is the name that appears visually on the site as your photographer’s credit so it’s a good way to promote your company via 360 Cities.

Sign up for a PRO account today. For more information, please check out our PRO Account FAQ.


Today we are launching what we announced yesterday: Business Panorama Publishing, which moves us one step closer to the official launch of PRO accounts. Now anybody who signs up for a PRO account will be able to upload panoramas that promote a business to 360 Cities. If you name the images properly then thanks to our search engine optimization don’t be surprised if the panoramas will end up ranking better than your company website :)

Compare free and PRO accounts

An example panorama promoting a business:

Kampa Park by Jeffrey Martin
Kampa Park by Jeffrey Martin (click on the image to open the interactive version)

Deluxe Hotel Room by Riefa Istamar
Deluxe Hotel Room by Riefa Istamar (click on the image to open the interactive version)


A couple of weeks ago we started reviewing your newly uploaded panoramas to check if they promote a business or not. It was a preview of the upcoming PRO account feature we announced more than a month ago: Business panorama publishing on 360 Cities. The initial phase was used as a way for us to get feedback from you and now it’s over. Today (Monday June 14th) is the last day you can publish business panoramas for free. After this date you will need to have a PRO account to publish your business panoramas.

Just to be clear: This applies only to newly uploaded business panoramas published on 360 Cities after June 14th. Existing business panoramas uploaded on or before this date will stay published in your account and the business status won’t apply to them.

We won’t unpublish your newly uploaded business panoramas immediately after the review, at least not during the first weeks, but we will mark them as business and will ask you to either sign up for a PRO account or to unpublish them. Eventually we will start unpublishing business panoramas immediately after the review for free account holders.

Q: Do you have any examples of panoramas promoting business?
A: Yes, here are some examples.

Q: I don’t understand why one of my panos was marked as a pano that promotes a business!
You can always contact us to request a second review (please always include links to the pano in question).

Q: How does the review process work?

Each pano you publish on 360cities.net is manually reviewed. If your pano is marked as promoting a business by the review team and you have a free account, the pano is unpublished. More information

If you have any questions whatsoever feel free to ask questions below this blog post, in the forum or contact us directly.

This article was first posted on 360 Cities site in 2008 by David Martin, Jeffrey Martin and the 360 Cities team. The information is still interesting and relevant so let me repost it here. I’ve left most of the text exactly the same but I changed some of the links and inserted comments in italics where the information was not accurate anymore. -Jan


You are probably already familiar with medium of 360 degree panoramic images from either Google Street View or KML PhotoOverlays in Google Earth (from the GigapxlGigapan, or 360 Cities layers). Tools for authoring panoramic images are getting very good, but the process of preparing and presenting such images on the web is still difficult. That is part of the motivation behind the creation of 360cities.net: panoramic photographers use our site to replace the otherwise difficult and time-consuming process of publishing their geotagged panoramas to the web.

You can turn on the 360 Cities gallery layer in Google Earth to view panoramas from our system (Update: 360 Cities is now a part of the default layer in Google Earth). The screenshots below show how these panoramas appear in Google Earth. From top left to bottom right, these images show (1) the 360 Cities icons marking the locations of panoramas; (2) the info window that opens when you click on one of those icons; (3) the floating sphere that appears when you get close to one of the images, and (4) the view from inside the spherical image. In this article we will demonstrate our technique of creating these spherical panoramic PhotoOverlays for Google Earth.

Google Earth Screenshots (click to view larger images)

What Is a Spherical Panoramic Image?

A panoramic image is the ultimate wide angle image. A normal photo shows you what the world looks like in an instant in time from a single viewpoint over some limited field of view. The widest wide angle lens, a fisheye lens, can show you up to a 180 degree field of view, which covers half the viewing sphere (Update: there are now lenses that can cover more than 180 degrees). A spherical panoramic image, on the other hand, covers the entire viewing sphere, so that you can look in any direction. A spherical panoramic image is not a 3D image: It is still a single viewpoint image, but its field of view is not limited. (Update: There are now so-called one shot cameras that cover the whole 360 degrees. They are great for taking spherical photos without any knowledge of stitching, but their image quality is still mediocre).

Because a panoramic image shows you what the world looks like from a single viewpoint, it is shaped like a sphere. Computers aren’t so good at representing spheres, however, so panoramic images are stored as regular rectangular images. One could use any cartographic mapping to unwrap the sphere onto a rectangle. The most common representation used for panoramic images is the equirectangular projection, which looks like this:


The Birth of Benjamin Martin by Jeffrey Martin

In an equirectangular projection, the equator and all lines of longitude are undistorted. You can picture the projection as follows: Prick a hole in the north and south poles of the sphere, and cut the date line. Now unwrap the sphere onto a flat surface by stretching at the poles without stretching the lines of longitude so that the image forms a rectangle. In an equirectangular projection, the lines of longitude and latitude form a grid of equal sized squares. The equator is the central horizontal line; the north pole is all along the top, and the south pole all along the bottom. Distortion is minimal at the equator, and infinite at the poles. The aspect ratio of an equirectangular image is 2:1, because the equator is twice the length of each line of longitude.

One does not typically view the equirectangular image, or “equirect”, directly because of the severe distortions in the polar regions. The equirect is simply a means of storing the underlying spherical image. Special software can render an equirectangular image into an immersive panoramic experience. Click on the image above or below to view it in the 360 Cities system. Make sure to click and drag on the image at 360 Cities to pan; shift and control keys zoom in and out.


Old Town Square Christmas Market by Jeffrey Martin

Conclusion

Panoramic images provide a compelling immersive experience that cannot be matched by traditional imagery. There exist good tools for creating and rendering these images, but managing and publishing them yourself is difficult and tedious. 360 Cities is a platform that fills that crucial gap in the tool chain. Not only does 360 Cities make embedding high resolution panoramic images on the web a snap, the image may be viewed in Google Earth as well. Now you have an excuse to buy that cool fisheye lens…

Our partner whl.travel goes to some of the most interesting and untouched places on the planet and so do we.  Both John Gore and Jan Vrsinsky have visited and immortalized the Sani Pass, look at the panos


Sani Top Chalet in South Africa

Benita Wentzel has done an interesting piece on the tarring of the pass on whl’s excellent travel blog.  It’s definitely worth the read.

360 Cities founder and CEO Jeffrey Martin gave a talk at the Tucson 2010 Panoramic Photography Conference on April 15th and unveiled our new and improved offer to the professional panoramic photographer community: 360 Cities PRO accounts.

We will still have free accounts and we’ll keep the ability to publish an unlimited number of panoramas on 360cities.net and on our Google Earth layer (if approved). 360 Cities PRO accounts will be a new addition. PRO accounts are designed for panorama photographers who not only want to publish their general panos, but also want to use 360 Cities as part of their paid work for customers.

The launch date will be announced in the near future. When we launch it we’ll have two kinds of accounts:

  • Free accounts for sharing panoramas with the world, putting them on the 360 Cities map and (if approved) also on Google Earth. Free accounts let you publish any general pano that’s cool or interesting or simply important to you or your friends.
  • PRO accounts have all the functionality of free accounts with the added ability to publish commercial / business panoramas and virtual tours, i.e., of hotels, shops, restaurants, etc.

To sign up for a free 360cities.net account, go to the 360 Cities homepage and click Sign Up or Join.

PRO Accounts: Publish All Your “Business” Panoramas

360 Cities PRO accounts give you the right to publish an unlimited number of “business” panoramas on 360cities.net. What is a business panorama? It’s an image of, for example, a restaurant, hotel room, shop, museum, club, bar, etc., that clearly promotes the business it shows. (But a pano of you and your friends having a party in a bar or restaurant probably wouldn’t be considered a business pano.) We will publish a more detailed definition soon. If you’re a free account holder and you upload a business pano, it will remain in your unpublished queue. If you decide to purchase a PRO Account later, your unpublished business panos can then be published.  IMPORTANT: The new definition applies only for panos published after we launch the PRO accounts product — commercial / business panos that have been published before now will remain free.

EXAMPLE BUSINESS PANO: Spa - Hacienda El Carmen in Mexico


PRO Accounts: Publish Your Virtual Tours

All tours published by PRO account members will be included in our new virtual tour hosting layer on 360 Cities. As a PRO account member, you will be able to publish any number of virtual tours that you’ve created using our Immersive Tour Builder. URLs in the new tour layer will look like this: 360cities.net/virtual-tour/ID-OF-YOUR-TOUR. Our current “business pages” will be renamed to virtual tours for the sake of simplicity. Free account members will need to purchase the PRO account if they’d like to publish virtual tours.

EXAMPLE BUSINESS PANO: Seaforth Country Lodge Dining Room in South Africa


PRO Accounts: Embed Your Virtual Tours

As a PRO account member, you’ll be able to embed your business panos and virtual tours into your clients’ websites for a small fee for each embed (prices coming soon). The embedding price will cover one year instead of three years and will be lower than our current price. It will still be possible to embed non-business 360 Cities panoramas in non-commercial websites for free.


Is my panorama a business panorama?

If the main or obvious purpose of the pano is to promote a business, yes. We’ll provide a more detailed definition with examples soon.


When are you going to launch PRO Accounts?

In June 2010 (stay tuned for updates).


I’m currently using 360 Cities to show my portfolio. Do I need to purchase a PRO account?

No. You only need to go PRO when you want to publish “business” panoramas or virtual tours.


What’s the price of a PRO Account?

We’ll reveal the pricing soon, but the cost of a PRO account plus the cost of embedding a virtual tour in a website will be lower than we currently charge for embedding (in some cases much lower). In fact, we think you’ll like the change a lot. If you are really interested in getting started with a PRO account even before we officially launch, contact us to find out more.


Some other Questions?

Ask them below this blog post, we’ll answer them either immediately or in our next blog post about the new PRO accounts.

Update April 29th: Discuss PRO accounts in the forum

To learn more about 360 Cities PRO accounts, keep reading this blog.

We’re pleased to officially announce an exciting partnership with WHL Consulting. Project:Exposure serves to promote local businesses and hence support sustainable tourism, which is something that we take quite seriously at 360 Cities. The details of Project:Exposure are explained in the press releases below – please note that this press release is not boring (I’m reacting to a comment I’ve heard a couple of times recently that press releases are boring and nobody reads them).  We’re honored and excited to be cooperating with WHL Consulting and to be a part of Project:Exposure…and we’re proud of the press release!

April 14, 2010 – WHL Consulting and 360 Cities have formally agreed to collaborate as strategic implementation partners of Project:Exposure, a groundbreaking small-business development program. Both companies, innovators in their fields, see cooperation on Project:Exposure as an opportunity to advance a shared commitment to empowering local small and medium enterprises around the world.

Initially created and launched by WHL Consulting, Project:Exposure provides targeted assistance to locally owned and operated hotels and tour operators. Project:Exposure helps them acquire the tools and knowledge for successful online marketing through established far-reaching distribution partners.

360 Cities Founder and Photographer, Jeff Martin taking a panoramic image of writer Michelle Rodrigues participating in an ancient ceremony at Guachimontones ruins

In practical terms, the Project:Exposure program completes an audit of existing tourism products in a specific destination and then drives the development of high-quality photographs, professionally written content and authoritative marketing material essential when selling travel product in any medium. Program participants are also given the opportunity to examine firsthand the benefits and effects of Project:Exposure through WHL Consulting Market Access Training seminars on the dynamics and significance of the Internet and e-commerce in tourism.

WHL Consulting’s partnership with 360 Cities now adds the guarantee of striking cutting-edge visuals to the suite of products and services on offer to program participants and clients.

2nd floor at sunrise – Hacienda El Carmen 4 in Mexico

“360 Cities’ position as the leading site for immersive panoramic photography, as well as its extensive network of immersive photography, experts makes them an ideal partner for Project:Exposure,” said Zachary Rozga, CEO of WHL Consulting. “Every single property that participates in Project:Exposure will now receive a fully-spherical panoramic image distributed through the 360 Cities platform of over 3 million visitors per month.”

The partnership also aligns the two organizations’ dedication to enabling local participation. Both companies have built their businesses on platforms that allow for local partners to upload and manage content through centralized processes. The coming together of WHL Consulting and 360 Cities means that the 360 Cities photographer members – the world’s best panoramic photographers – have a new and promising paid outlet through which to apply their skills in the service of local entrepreneurs who otherwise could not afford them.

Jeffrey S. Martin, founder and CEO of 360Cities.net, expressed optimism that “both local tourism destinations and 360 Cities’ local photographers will benefit from the cooperation on Project:Exposure.”

WHL Consulting
WHL Consulting is a professional services company with a singular focus on providing innovative, high-tech solutions to micro, small and medium-sized enterprises (MSMEs) in the tourism industry. WHL Consulting aims to improve the competitiveness and long-term sustainability of MSMEs by leveraging technology and business processes to connect them to global markets through established distribution partners, like whl.travel, and then using the pull of the market to guide capacity building. WHL Consulting is a WHL Group company.

360 Cities
360 Cities is the Web’s largest and most breathtaking virtual tour, showcasing tens of thousands of fully spherical, high-resolution panoramas made by hundreds of photographers all over the world. “360 Cities’ mission is to bring the world closer through the utility and beauty of 360-degree interactive photography on the Web. 360 Cities is a Premium Content Provider to Google, Inc. The panoramic content is included for all 400+ million users of Google Earth.”

Contact:

Zachary Rozga
zachary@whlconsulting.com

Jeffrey Martin
jeff@360cities.net