Posts tagged ‘virtual tours’

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.

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 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 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 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: 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 at 360 Cities are dedicated to getting people started with panoramic photography and virtual tours. The more people practicing this virtue there are, the better. Therefore we’ve created online resources to get you started. For information about using 360 Cities, browse our Help Center, ask questions in our Community Support Forum, leave questions below this article or contact us directly. Questions about panoramic photography in general can be asked and answered at Panoverflow, a site devoted to helping beginners and experts to get their questions answered.

One of the things that we believe will make life of pano photographers easier is the virtual tour hosting platform, which is a part of 360 Cities website. Virtual tours hosted there are not simple 360-degree interactive panoramas, but full-blown virtual tours, including graphical floor plans, hotspots and interactive transitions between panoramas. We call them Immersive Tour Widgets. The tour widgets can embedded into your or your client’s website to let you or your customer experience a hotel, restaurant, shop, office etc. through fully spherical, 360-degree panoramas. Take a look at an example video of how the virtual tours can look like:

(the video features imagery from a virtual tour of Intercontinental Tahiti Hotel Resort created by Gregory Panayotou)

The 360 Cities website allows its members to build such virtual tour using the Immersive Tour Builder. The tour builder is a hosted online solution, no download is necessary for your or for the viewers of the created virtual tours. After you upload panoramas to 360 Cities, it allows you to add a graphical floor plan, connect the panoramas with hotspots and then publish the preview of the finished tour to our website. After we receive a payment from you or your client (depending on the type of collaboration), and you can then embed the tour into your client’s website. This tutorial video will guide you through the process of creating a virtual tour.

To get started with the Immersive Tour Builder, you must have created a 360 Cities account,  be an approved author and you must have uploaded panoramas that you want to use for the virtual tour. If you’re stuck at any point, please let us know. We’re here to help you! Good luck, happy building and happy selling! :)

We invite you to take a virtual tour of Tikal. To start a tour, click on one of the blue pins on the map below.

Imagine your are in Guatemala and that you are just visiting Tikal, the ruins of one of the largest cities the great Maya civilization has ever built. The site so extraordinary that it was chosen by George Lucas as one of the filming locations for Yavin 4 in Star Wars Episode IV: A New Hope. There are literally thousands of buildings everywhere around you in the jungle, still waiting to be discovered. You can feel the energy in the air, the breeze of the wind in the trees is almost like shamans whispering ancient secrets to everybody who is willing to listen.

Start your tour at Acopolis del Norte, in front of Gran Plaza in Tikal. There is a hundred of structure just on this single plaza. The most magnificient Templo I (The Temple of Grand Jaguar) can be seen on the left side of the plaza and Templo II (The Temple of Masks) to the right. Feel free to climb on the Templo II, it guarantees a satisfying view of the plaza and of the Templo I.

Screenshot of the Tikal virtual tour

Just about 10 minutes of walk from here you will find the 58 meters (190 foot) high Templo V. If you dare to climb the steep stairs it will reward you with an amazing view of the surrounding jungle. For those not so brave, you can take a look at the shelter next to the temple, which has pictures of how the temple looked when it was found by the archaeologists for the first time.

From here you can either go to take a walk to a nearby ceiba tree, the national tree of Guatemala, or go to the Templo IV in the west, which offers another breathtaking view of the Gran Plaza. Now, without further do, enter the virtual tour yourself by clicking on one of the blue pins:

(Click to open the tour in a new window)

The virtual tour was created using the Immersive Tour Builder technology by 360 Cities and then embedded into this blog. If you are interested in getting a tour like this for your business or venue, please contact us.

The maps in our virtual tours (and in normal images as well) have grown bigger today! That means a lot more space for the maps. Before the change, the maps occupied just a small rectangle on the lower-left hand side of the panorama as you can see in this youtube video of the old version. Now the space for the map and panorama is separated which means:

* The panorama is now fully visible (no longer the lower-left corner is covered with a map)

* The map is much bigger, more pins and more of the surrounding area is visible

This will allow us to implement many of the prepared changes and improvements that are now in the queue. Stay tuned for more updates.

The map is on the left side and panorama on the right. This is a new unified layout for images and virtual tours on our site from now.

To see live demo of the new map, visit our Virtual Tour Gallery Page.

Distuss this feature on our forums or read more about our virtual tours.

Centrum FotoSkoda, an established store for photographers and movie-makers and a cultural center in Czech Republic, just published an interactive virtual tour created using 360 Cities Immersive Tour Widget. It features 6 interactive floor plans and 19 panoramas and it was easily embedded into FotoSkoda website thanks to the 360 Cities Immersive Tour Widget technology using a single line of code. That meant less work for FotoSkoda because 360 Cities takes care of all hosting and technical implementation.

We are proud to host such an interesting virtual tour and we like the way it increases the quality of the FotoSkoda website for their visitors. Thank you FotoSkoda for choosing 360 Cities!

Click on the images below to explore the interactive virtual tour:

FotoSkoda Virtual Tour

FotoSkoda Virtual Tour (click the image to view interactive version)

FotoSkoda Virtual Tour

FotoSkoda Virtual Tour (click the image to view interactive version)

Visit our site to find out more about our Immersive Tour Widget product.

We’re pleased to announce that we recently began offering our Immersive Tours via graphic design studio lucidCircus, who is active on both the U.S. and European markets – press release.  We’re excited about the opportunity to have our Immersive Tours included in some of lucidCircus’s creative web projects.

lucidCircus and 360 Cities combine efforts

lucidCircus and 360 Cities combine efforts

If you are interested in partnering with 360 Cities, please read this and contact us.

Thank you everybody for participating in the Restaurant Tour Promotion. During October and November 2009, the users of our Immersive Tour Builder were able to create one restaurant tour and embed it in the restaurant’s website for free. We’ve had many interesting submissions, some of which will be added to our Virtual Tour Gallery page soon.

From the feedback we’ve been getting,  it’s clear that most of you are interested in seeing examples of virtual tours embedded in restaurants’ websites. We cannot show all of them for various reasons (we don’t have the links, the tours are not embedded yet, we were asked not to write about it, etc.) However, we did the least we could do and we’ve selected three nice looking tours and linked them below. If we didn’t include your tour and you want us to write about it leave a comment below the article.

Now that the promotion is over, you can of course continue using our Immersive Tour Builder to create any number of virtual tours you want! You can create a tour for free and show it to your client using the tour preview page. You only have to pay the activation fee when you want to embed the tour into your client’s website. Take a look at our tutorial on how to build your first virtual tour using 360 Cities.

Below are three examples of restaurant websites that received a free embedded tour during our promotion:

The Old Stone Bar and Grill, Ireland (by Gearóid Casey)

The Old Stone Bar and Grill

click on the picture to open the website

Excalibur, Hannover (by Igor Marx)

Excalibur, Hannover

click on the picture to open the website

Note that the Excalibur restaurant tour contains more than 5 panoramas, which was more than it was allowed in the tour promotion. That was possible due to the fact that the client paid for the additional panoramas in the tour.

Restaurante Fondue Mezzanino (by Luciano Correa)

Restaurante Fondue Mezzanino

click on the picture to open the website

Do you want us to write a blog post about your tour? Leave a note in the comments! If there’s enough requests, we’ll post another article soon with your websites and tours.

If you are looking for inspiration in an immersive tour, look no further:

InterContinental Tahiti

InterContinental Moorea

InterContinental Bora Bora Thalasso

InterContinental Bora Bora Le Moana

These four magnificent tours were created by Gregory Panayoutou for InterContinental Resorts in French Polynesia.  Testimonial from appreciative client:

“Gregory Panayotou’s creativity and talent combined with the remarkable 360 cities immersive tools have allowed our four InterContinental Resorts in French Polynesia to really enhance our worldwide communication. We are extremely pleased to have our resorts displayed in the default layer of Google earth thanks to 360 cities immersive tour platform. All in all it is a great proposition that I highly recommend to any hotel wishing to communicate efficiently and in a fashionable way.”

Pierre Lesage

Regional Director of Sales & Marketing

Thanks to Greg for making this happen.

We at 360 Cities love to eat. We think our viewers and fans like to eat, too, and we’d love to offer them some beautiful 360 Cities Immersive Tours of restaurants to stimulate their appetites. Therefore, we are making the following delicious offer to our Immersive Tour Builder community:

During October and November 2009, Tour Builders may create one restaurant tour and embed it in the restaurant’s website for free.
(It’s up to you whether to charge for your photography)

- It’s OK to use your existing already published panoramas.

- Your restaurant tour must be created by November 30, 2009. This offer will not apply to any Immersive Tours created after this date.

- Your tour must be created according the rules

To get started: Full rules, example tours and more information