New Panoramas on Panoramic Earth

Wednesday, July 23, 2014

Google Maps Goes all 3D on London

Google Maps has given London a 3D makeover, allowing us to fly around the city like never before. Click on the Earth view of the map and, voilà, you are now flying through the virtual city as if in a computer game. All the buildings, bridges and landmarks within London are rendered and their perspectives change as you scroll around.

London is the latest UK city to receive the new makeover, others include Birmingham, Leeds, Reading and Stoke-on-Trent. So now you do not need to go to the top of the Shard to see what London looks like, simply pull it up on Google Maps and move around. What is more, weather will never get in your way. It is am impressive achievement, yet Google plans for more with the release of Project Tango and the desire to create a 3D map of the entire world, inside and out.

These 3D maps are an addition to the Street View panoramas (or photospheres as Google likes to call them). The later still provide the best images from street level, producing interactive virtual tours of cities, like this virtual tour of London. While amazing, the 3D rendering from Google maps looses detail at close zoom, detail which is clearly picked up in panoramas shot at street level like the one below.




© Peter Watts, originally written for Panoramic Earth.

Saturday, March 08, 2014

Makarska and the Dalmatian Coast in Croatia

Makarska from the Statue of St Peter © Peter Watts 
Makarska is very picturesque town in the Dalmatian Coast in Croatia. Nestled between the Biokovo mountains and the Adriatic Sea at the mouth of the Makarska Riviera, it is a very popular tourist destination during the summer months. The whole area is steeped in history, having been occupied for thousands of years and is even written about in Egyptian and Cretan tablets. During Roman times it was called Muccurum, and remains of Roman rule can still be seen in the region, not least in Split which contains the remains of Diocletian's Palace.

The image shown here is one of a collection taken whilst on a cruise down the Dalmatian Coast. Such trips are popular as they offer the opportunity to move from one town or island to another in comfort and ease, providing a new place to explore each evening.

The panorama below shows a view from the other side of the bay. Makarska has plenty of holiday apartments and hotels to suit all budgets and is well worth exploring if you are travelling through the region.


Panorama of Makarska Bay and Hotel Osejava supplied by Panoramic Earth


Written by Peter Watts

Wednesday, December 11, 2013

St Martin in the Fields Church Virtual Tour


St Martin in the Fields 360 Panorama Image

St Martin in the Fields is a famous church in London, found on the north east corner of Trafalgar Square. The current church was designed by James Gibbs in the early 18th century. At the time it was built, the church stood in a field part way between the City of Westminster and the City of London. In 2006 a Roman grave was found on the site, indicating that the site had been used as a religious place of worship for hundreds of years.

This interactive, 360 panorama shows the interior of the church. It was taken by Peter Watts in September 2013.



Today, St Martin in the Fields is a popular concert venue, with classical concerts and organ recitals often being held in the church itself. Beneath the church, in the Crypt Cafe, jazz concerts are often held. Being right next to Trafalgar Square, the church is also a popular tourist attraction. It is also the parish church of Buckingham Palace, Number 10 (Downing Street) and the Admiralty.

Friday, August 23, 2013

Virtual Tour of The Stawamus Chief

The Stawamus Chief, most commonly known simply as The Chief, is a massive granite monolith about an hour outside Vancouver and just south of Squamish. Towering over 700m above the Howe Sound, it is a very popular hiking destination in the summer months, offering unparalleled views over the surrounding area. It is also very popular with climbers worldwide, offering plenty of opportunities for all levels.

The Chief has three peaks, each of which is accessible by foot. Most people climb to the lowest, First, peak for the views. The 360 panoramic image below is taken from the Second peak, showing the view over Squamish and the Howe Sound. From here it is a short traverse past a dramatic chasm to the top of the Third Peak, 702m above sea level.

Panorama of The Stawamus Chief supplied by Panoramic Earth


A number of routes ascend The Chief, all starting from the same trailhead near the carpark and campsite. A part of the way the trail splits with one branch ascending a very steep gully to the Third Peak directly. The other continues up for some distance more before splitting again with separate trails leading to the First and Second Peaks.

All the trails are rugged and steep, but the views at the top are well worth the effort. Panoramic Earth now holds a number of virtual tour images taken on various parts of The Chief, providing the most comprehensive virtual tour available of the second largest granite monolith in the world.

Wednesday, June 19, 2013

Offer of FREE Gigapixel Virtual Tour Photography for Indian Charities


Later this year (read very soon) Kilgore661 will be visiting various parts of India doing a Gigapixel photography trip. He is offering FREE gigapixel virtual tour creation for Indian charities. His current itinerary includes visiting New Delhi, Hyderabad, Tamil Nadu and Goa.

For more information see Kigore in India 2013 and this article here.

This kind of photography is ideal for helping promote work and inform (potential) supporters of what is going on. It is well suited for things like health clinics, orphanages, refugee work, social developments and more. Virtual photography of this kind is usually very expensive, so this is not an opportunity to be missed.

Another free offering is also being made by Panoramic Earth, which is willing to offer FREE HOSTING of any 360 panoramas that a charity already has. For an example, see what the site did for HeartKids. As the charity can also provide information to go with each image on the site, it can be a great way of creating another means for people to find out about your work. 

Tuesday, April 09, 2013

Phantom Flex4K Camera Shoots 1,000 fps in HD

Though not about panoramic photography I thought this one worth a mention. Phantom have launched their next generation of high speed video camera, the Flex4K. It is capable of capturing up to 1,000 frames per second (fps) HD footage at a resolution of 4096 x 2160. Showcase footage of a house fire shows of the stunning impact and potential of the camera.

- First footage from the new Phantom Flex4K - "Let me know when you see Fire" from Gregory Wilson on Vimeo.

The film was made by Brendan Bellomo and cinematographer Greg Wilson
 using a prototype camera and working with the Hebron Fire Dept. and the Glastonbury Fire Dept. in Connecticut.

For the technical, this is a true 4K RAW camera capable of shooting 1,000 frames per second (fps) in 4096 x 2160 resolution. It can shoot anything from 23.98 fps up to 3,000 fps but at the higher end the resolution drops from 4096 x 2304 to 1280 x 720. At high speeds it shoots in 5 second bursts, which does not sound like a long time, but when replayed at 24 fps this extends to 3 minutes viewing.

Such a system does not come cheap, starting at £109,000 and rising to about $165,000 when all the extras are added on.

Thursday, March 28, 2013

Gigapixel 360 Panorama from Gale Crater on Mars


The Curiosity Rover on Mars has been busy taking pictures. About 405 of them with the two cameras on the vehicle's mast. These have been combined to produce a spherical panorama measuring 90000x45000 pixels (or 4 billion pixels). The result is a stunning spherical, gigapixel image of the Gale Crater

For those who want the technical details, this was taken betwen Martian solar days 136-149
using both the 100mm Narrow Angle Camera (NAC), and 34mm Medium Angle Camera (MAC). Though not the largest Gigapixel image ever produced, it is probably the most amazing in terms of technical achievement. 

Though you may not be able to produce an image of this kind, you can get yourself a bit of the Mars mission. Ok, so it would be in Lego, but someone has put together plans for how to build your own Lego Curiosity Rover and landing stage