Wednesday, March 22, 2006

Panoramic Earth - Some History

So, where did come from, where are we going, or is it all just round in circles? Well, it can certainly feel that way when taking panoramic images, as anyone who has done so for some time will be able to tell you. The whole concept of creating a library of panoramic tours from around the world started some 7 years ago in the recesses of the brain of Martin Watts, the main force behind MAI

A few years later, almost over the proverbial pint, this was being discussed with Peter Watts (yep, brothers), with London in mind. The challenge then was to be able to successfully accomplish a couple of things. A kind of Mission Impossible (ish). London is a big place, a busy city and very popular as a travel destination.

Challenge 1 : The Photos.
Not quite as easy as it sounds. London is big. It is busy, and people don’t tend to take the needs of anyone else, least of all someone with a tripod, into account as they rush by (well, through if you are unlucky).

After the people come the huge numbers of buses, vans and other vehicles both large and small that delight in obscuring the building of interest. It is simply not a matter of just turning up and pointing a camera. Especially when the best locations for a given shot appear to be the middle of the road.

And then you can toss in the greatest variable of all – the British Weather. As has been commented not a few times, London is not quite as sunny as would be indicated by the current tour. No, indeed. But endless grey clouds and raindrops an appealing picture make, do not.

Challenge 2 : The Usage
Having battled through the former, finally rising tired from looking at pixels, the second challenge has been to get it ‘out there’. How do you, on what was then a non-existent budget, promote the tour effectively and will people really want to see it. Well, more on that later, but we have managed to get to the point where a search for ‘London Map’ on Google, MSN and others, will show among the first page of returns. The golden page. On a shoe string. With hours of slog. Well, maybe the domain name helped a bit ;)

This gives us confidence that what we have managed to do for London, we will be able to do for the other locations we cover in the future. After that came Hawaii Island, two weeks of running around, all those fantastic beaches and no time to swim (except twice at the end of long days).

And where will we go from here? Well, look out for Paris, New York, Rome, Barcelona and others which all feature in our plans for 2006.

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