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Monday, March 5, 2012

11 Ways to Find and View Panoramic Images

Thanks to developments in camera and web technology it has become quite easy to capture panoramic imagery. Panoramic imagery provides viewers of a better sense of the view one experiences when standing in a location. For example, a panorama of the Grand Canyon is more informative than a standard image view. Here are some great places where you can find panoramic imagery online.

AirPano offers dozens of spectacular 360 panoramas of famous landmarks and cities around the world. The AirPano panoramas can be set to auto-play with a music accompaniment or you can navigate the panoramas manually. To find a panorama on AirPano you can browse the listings, search by keyword, or view a Google Map of all of the places AirPano has capturedAirPano panoramas can be viewed in high or low resolution according to the speed of your Internet connection. The panoramas can be viewed on an iPad. You can also view the AirPano files in Google Earth.

Panoguide is a site on which users can browse through galleries geolocated on a Google Map. For students and teachers who would like to contribute panoramic images of their own to the gallery, Panoguide provides detailed directions on how to get started. Panoguide also provides user discussion forums through which you can learn even more about creating good panoramic images.

Patrimonium-mundi.org is undertaking an ambitious project to capture and share 360 degree panoramas of all of the UNESCO World Heritage sites. Currently, Patrimonium-mundi.org is up to 277 panoramic images of World Heritage sites. Visitors can rotate all of the images and some of the images allow you to zoom in and zoom out to look at the details of World Heritage sites. You can locate panoramas by browsing the world map or by searching for a site in the search box.

Tours from Above hosts panoramic aerial imagery of cities and landmarks around the world. In all there are 49 panoramic aerial views of places and landmarks including the Eifel Tower, Victoria Falls, and various sites throughout New York. You can locate imagery by choosing from a drop-down menu or by selecting placemarks on the Tours from Above Google Map.

Vista Zoo is a Google Map featuring 3D panoramic tours of more than 1400 locations around the globe. The Vista name comes from the 3DVista products used to construct the 3D panoramic images shown on the map. Click on any placemark on the map to be taken to a collection of 3D panoramic images of that location. In some cases there is sound to accompany the panoramas.

Arounder is a free site that offers 3D views of famous places in European cities, North American locations, and the Moon. The imagery is very clear and detailed. Visitors can explore 360 degrees of each image using the simple navigation tools that appear at the bottom of every image. When you're on the Arounder homepage click on a city to see a map of that city. Then click on the red(ish) placemark icons to explore the imagery.

360 Cities provides extremely clear panoramic imagery of places around the world. The bulk of the images are of places in Europe, but there is also some great imagery from North America, South America, Africa, and Asia. The panoramic imagery of 360 Cities is so clear and transitions so smoothly that I almost made myself dizzy while playing around with imagery of Atlanta, Georgia. Images on 360 Cities can be explored online using the Google Map provided on the 360 Cities website or you can view the imagery in the 360 Cities Google Earth layer. 360 Cities imagery can also be embedded into your blog or website.

View At provides panoramic views of dozens of notable places from around the world. The panoramic views can be viewed on the View At website or viewed in Google Earth. Although they offer different views, in many ways View At is similar to 360 Cities.
Panoramas.dk hosts dozens of interactive panoramas from around the world. The panorama that must have been the most difficult to capture is this view from the peak of Mount Everest. The list of interactive panoramas includes views of cultural festivals and tourist attractions. The database of US panoramic views includes the Grand Canyon, the Jefferson Memorial, and two dozen other panoramas.

Bing Maps Streetside Views for desktop browsers contains street level panoramic images. The Streetside Views offer panoramic views of city streets and landmarks. In Streetside Views you can slide through the panoramas to virtually tour streets in major U.S. cities. The Streetside View includes an overlay of business names and street names when available. Here's a landmark in Streetside View for all of my fellow Red Sox fans.

History Buff is a neat website that teachers of US History should spend some time exploring. One of the best features of History Buff is a set of fifteen narrated panoramic tours of interesting and significant historic sites. Some of the panoramas you will find in the collection include Davy Crockett's childhood home, Appomattox Courthouse, Thomas Edison's birthplace, and Valley Forge.

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