Thursday, June 10, 2010

4 Ways to View the World in Panoramic

Google Maps Streetview provides a great way for students to explore cities and interesting places around the world. As good as Streetview is, it isn't available for all places (like the peak of Mount Everest) and sometimes even where it is available it leaves something to be desired. Here are four sites and services featuring high-quality panoramic and interactive imagery of famous and interesting places around the world.

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. 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.

Sculptris - 3D Modeling Software

I usually don't like to write posts about software that I haven't had hands-on experience with, but after reading about Sculptris on Download Squad I had to share it. Sculptris is free 3D modeling software for Windows (no Mac option, I have a Mac). Sculptris is designed for creating mock-ups of sculptures and 3D objects with an almost "hand-drawn" appearance. Sculptris doesn't appear to be intended for creating boxy architecture drawings. Learn more in the video below.

Applications for Education
Sculptris looks like it could be a neat program for art students to use in the creation of sculpture models. Students could design 3D images before moving on to the use of clay or other materials.

Open Clip Art Library

Two days ago I shared with you a link to source of free photos called Veezzle. Today, I'd like to call your attention to Open Clip Art Library. Open Clip Art Library is a gallery of more than 31,000 clip art images that have been released into the public domain. All of the clip art in the Open Clip Art Library can be downloaded and reused for free.

Applications for Education
If you or your students are looking for some clip art that is different than the standard images found in common presentation tools, the Open Clip Art Library is a good place to find it.

Send Your Face (Or Students' Faces) Into Space

A couple of years ago NASA offered the opportunity for students to send their names to the moon on a robotic lunar explorer. Now NASA is offering people the opportunity to send pictures of themselves into space on two upcoming shuttle missions. NASA's Face in Space program allows you to upload images of yourself to be sent on two shuttle missions later this summer. To participate just upload an image of yourself and select the mission of your choice. When the mission has been completed you will be able to print a Flight Certificate signed by the mission commander.

I'm sending an image of myself and my niece on a shuttle mission. Maybe she'll appreciate it in a few years. :)

Applications for Education
NASA's Face in Space program could be a good way to get elementary school students excited about space science.

Here are some related items that may be of interest to you:
Interactive Tour of the Hubble Telescope
Star Child - Learning for Young Astronomers
NASA Quests and Challenges