The beauty of a panorama can never be described in words; it has been to be seen to be believed. In an extremely crowded world, panoramic spots are few and far between. Oh yes, you can see an entire city laid out in front of you from the top of a skyscraper. But nothing beats watching the natural ones. For instance, the one from Yavapai Point at Grand Canyon is a natural wonder. Check these out and share with your students. A great addition to Google Earth.
360Cities: 360Cities.net has a good collection of panoramic vista from around the world. Most of the panoramic shots are geo-referenced and interactive. You can start off from the Editor’s picks or go to their World panorama map and the Photographer map for travelling to a spot from a world map. You can watch the panoramas in full screen and navigate on it with the controls provided. The sweep of the eye is also represented on a Google map alongside.
If you have Google Earth installed, you can literally travel to spots around the world and view panoramas using a downloadable KML file.
But right now, I am checking out what they advertise as the world’s largest 360 panorama – an 18 Gigapixel shot of Prague.
Panoramas.dk: The panorama website is the work of Hans Nyberg, a photographer and an enthusiast of immersive panoramic images. As he says, an interactive VR panorama cannot be seen in a book or on a printed image. It has to be experienced on a computer screen. The site also has links to other great resources for learning more about the art of VR photography. The site has a huge collection of panoramas from around the world. You can even check out Obama’s Nobel Prize speech or panoramic photos from Tour de France.
Gigapan: The Gigapan panorama website is all about gigapixel panoramic images from around the world. What’s interesting is that GigaPan was developed by Carnegie Mellon University in collaboration with NASA Ames Intelligent Robotics Group, with support from Google.
The panorama website also has a community formed around the common passion for panoramic photography. You can join for free. Use their uploader to share your panorama shots with the general community. You can search through the collection using the search box, or go for the orange filters at the top that are marked as – Most Popular, Most Recent, Tags, and Conversations. You can view a lot of the panoramas on Google Earth using the link given just below the snaps. The site does not give a full screen view, but Google Earth does.
ARounder: Immerse yourself in panoramic vistas of cities, museums, parks, local cafes and stores, cathedrals, and more. ARounder is an online travel magazine and a neat panorama website with a smaller collection than the ones before it. But it is neatly arranged according to region. And there are two outer-worldly places on the moon and Mars too for the space buffs. You can click a location and take a wide-eyed virtual tour through the place. You can also get ARounder’s free iPhone app for some virtual sightseeing while on the move.
I am not going to Tahiti; instead let me do a bit of virtual roaming across the landscape of Mars for a change.
Panoguide: Panoguide is a free central stock of information and community discussion on panoramic photography. Their About page says that the panorama website is also a how-to on techniques for creating panoramic images using a conventional camera and “stitching” the images together on a computer. Click on the tab that says Gallery and dive into their collection that’s arranged around country names. You can also use the Google Map for a point and click approach.
ViewAt: Select the wide variety of locations from the dropdown or on the map and you are there with two clicks. You can watch the default panorama or go for the high resolution image. The site’s forum is also a spot to visit if you are interested in panoramas and photography.
Panedia: Panedia is a combination of Panoramic & Encyclopedia. It is actually a professional services site for ‘georeferenced photography using immersive panoramic technologies’. The site has a small collection of panoramic photos, all on Australia. Every panorama has hotpsots which are clickable links to more panoramas. If you like the Australian outdoors you can check out their small demo collection.
1001 Wonders: This is a panorama tour of the sites that are listed on the World Heritage List compiled by UNESCO. Presently, 263 places are being showcased on the website. The ultimate goal is to panophotograph 1001 sites.