Wednesday, December 24, 2008

Season Greetings and 2008 Achievements

Merry Christmas to one and all. 2008 has been an exciting year for Panoramic Earth, with thousands of 360 panoramas from all over the world added to the site. Here are some of the year's highlights:
  • Growth to over 3400 panoramas, with new images being added on a near-daily basis
  • 360 panoramas from over 40 countries on every continent bar Antartica (though we'd love to see some from there - anybody?)
  • Over 35 contributing panoramic photographers
  • Use of the tours as embedded content in over 100 other places on the internet
  • Incorporation of the Google Earth plugin allowing users to view the images linked to Google Earth from their own browser
  • About 400,000 visitors during 2008
Next year looks to equally exciting as Panoramic Earth grows to become one of the largest collections of cylindrical panoramas on the planet. We intend to introduce a forum for our users and photographers, as well a special directory for panoramic photographers and resources. Hopefully, by the end of 2009 we will have over 7,000 images.

So, Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year from a content editorial team looking forward to a break!

Monday, December 22, 2008

Panoramic Earth meets Google Earth

Google recently launched a Google Earth plugin API allowing Google Earth data to be viewed in websites in much the same way as the Google Maps data can be used. Panoramic Earth has added this to the viewing options for the panoramas in the site. Thus it is now possible to view the panoramas liked to the Google Earth view in addition to the map, satellite and terrain views previously available. Simply slelct 'Earth' from the Map tab to activate. You may need to download the plugin for this to work. Below is a screenshot of a Brooklyn Bridge panorama from New York in the Google Earth view. A couple of cautionary notes though, the Google Earth plugin is very memory hungry and the geplugin.exe process does not stop when you change back to another view, but keeps collecting data as other map views are moved around. It is also not stopped if that tab / window using it is closed, but the browser is still running. It can, of course, be ended in the Task Manager. Interestingly, the Google Earth plugin is not supported by Google's Chrome browser.

Tuesday, December 16, 2008

Panoramas from Australia's Red Centre

Panoramic photographer Klaus Mayer has been busy again, and there are now over 25 panoramas from Australia's Red Centre on Panoramic Earth. The panoramas cover sights in the vibrant town Alice Springs, surrounding major tourist attractions and remote outback destinations.

The images can be found on the Northern Territory or Alice Springs panorama index. Klaus enjoys traveling around the outback and remote areas of Australia when he has the time, and this collection is sure to grow in the future. To date, the sites covered around Alice Springs include Uluru (aka Ayers Rock), Kata Tjuta (aka Olgas), Kings Canyon in Watarrka National Park, Hermannsburg and outback destinations like Chambers Pillar, Henbury Meteorite Craters and Palm Valley in Finke Gorge National Park.

Klaus' latest image from the Albert Namatjira Monument brings the total number of panoramas on Panoramic Earth to near 3400.

Thursday, November 27, 2008

Panoramic Earth hits 3200 Panoramas

Panoramic Earth has just passed a landmark of 3200 fully interactive 360 panoramas from all around the world. With recent added pictures from the very northern areas of New Zealand, including around Cape Reinga, and other parts of Northland, this global guide continues to grow. Pictures from Australia, especially from around Victoria and South Australia, are also regularly added to the site and the number of contributing panoramic photographers has also grown. As always, these beautiful panoramas are linked to Google maps and are accompanied with local descriptions.

Panoramic Earth continues to make these tours available to other websites to use as embedded content. So, if running a virtual tour from parts of New Zealand, Australia or any other featured place in the world is of interest to you, then check out the site's Use a Tour page. Below is an example tour based around Doubtless Bay, a rugged and beautiful part of Northland in New Zealand.

Doubtless Bay tour provided by Panoramic Earth. All rights reserved.

New York Guide and Map

360 panorama of New York skyline from Brooklyn Bridge. Panoramic Earth image by Peter WattsNew York 360 panorama (c) Peter Watts - all rights reserved

With over 100 panoramas of New York providing an interactive guide to the city, Panoramic Earth continues to expand it's coverage of the USA. New York is one of the most visited travel destinations in the US, and a major entry point for visitors from Europe. Hundreds of thousands of people travel here from Europe every year for the shopping, eating and world famous sights. Panoramic Earth's guide and map of New York covers many of the well known sights, as well as parts of the city not so frequently promoted to tourists.

360 panorama of Time Square in New York at dusk. Panoramic Earth image by Peter WattsNew York 360 panorama (c) Peter Watts - all rights reserved

Each panorama is linked to a Google Map of New York and accompanied with some local and travel information. This allows you to see where you are, what is there and how to get there in one easy, interactive step. For a full list of the New York 360° panoramas available see the New York Panorama Index on Panoramic Earth. As with the other tours on the site, this New York guide can be embedded within 3rd party sites. See the Use a Tour page for more information.

Thursday, November 06, 2008

Google Chrome Slow Takeup

Since it's launch earlier this year it seems that, even with the huge power of Google to promote things, the take up of Google's own browser, Google Chrome, has been quite slow. Panoramic Earth has seen the use of Chrome grow to only 0.67% of it's visitors in the last few months. In addition to this the browser seems to sometimes have problems loading up Google maps at first, though this is resolved when the page is refreshed.

Most of the comments thus far on the web about Google Chrome come from Fire Fox users who have taken a look. They seem pretty unanimous in agreeing that it is a faster browser and, while taking more memory to run when first open, does not suffer from memory bloat like other browsers. However, they also seem pretty unanimous in thier disapointment that there is, to date, little in the way of Add-ons that make Fire Fox so popular among it's users. Most often noted are those like Ad-Block Plus and Informenter. Therefore it seems that unless and until Google Chrome encourages the use and development by such add-ons by the wider community then this browser is not going to see wide uptake in the near future.

Monday, September 22, 2008

Obi Baby & Child Carrier

When hiking around to get to locations you see many different ways people deal with children. A new baby and child carrier is quite innovative. Unlike back pack style baby carriers, the Obi Baby & Child Carrier folds up small enough to fit in a large pocket. It comes in a small pouch which can be attached to a belt. This means that it is only on your back for the time you actually need it - when your child or toddler has run out of energy. For the rest of the time your back is free from any load.

The Obi Baby Carriers are suitable for children between about 1 year and 3 years, depending on child size. The come in several styles and colours, black, cream, and yellow. The carrier is made from strong cotton webbing, which is durable, washable and comfortable to wear.

Monday, September 15, 2008

Beaches of the World

360 panorama of Bournemouth BeachBournemouth Beach panorama (c) Peter Watts - all rights reserved

If you are looking for some beautiful pictures of beaches around the world then Panoramic Earth is a place to come. Here you will find over 200 panoramas of beaches from all over the world, each linked to Google maps allowing you to see where it is and how to get there. The beach panoramas are also accompanied with some local and travel information and there are often other panoramas taken nearby of local attractions, hotels or places of interest.

360 panorama of Bondi Beach in SydneyBondi Beach in Sydney panorama (c) Peter Watts - all rights reserved

Wednesday, August 27, 2008

2700 Panoramas

Panoramic Earth now has 2700 panoramas from all over the earth. The latest image, submitted by Robin Wilson, is a beautiful 360 panorama from Tolsta Bay, an isolated by on the Isles of Lewis, one of the Western Isles, and part of the Outer Hebrides off the west coast of Scotland.

360 panorama of Tolsta Bay on Isle of Lewis by Robin WilsonTolsta Bay panorama (c) Robin Wilson - All rights reserved.

Robin has spent a lot of time photographing this part of Scotland, and his panoramas reflect the care and dedication he has to this part of the world. This picture is stunning, capturing dramatic storm clouds over the island to the south with a massive double rainbow hanging over the beach. To the north, the sun is shining once again, clearly visible over the still ocean in late afternoon.

Find and View Recent Panoramas with Ease

Today we made some changes to Panoramic Earth which will make viewing the recent panoramas added to the site easier to find and follow. On the homepage there are now links to the recent images, displaying them as either a list of recent panoramas or as thumbnail previews of the pictures. These links are found at the top of the 8 most recent panoramas shown on the homepage (the link here will take you to our thumbnail previews):

recent panorama listing on homepage
One will take you to a Photo View table with thumbnails of the images and, unlike before, you can easily browse back through the site additions right to the very first panoramas (from London):

Image showing Photo View table of Recent Panoramas
You can easily select the List View, which will just show the titles of the latest pictures:

Picture of List View table of Recent Panoramas
Links from both will take you to the specific page showing the panorama linked to it's Google map, or to the wider geographical region in which the picture was taken. This should make exploring the world through Panoramic Earth a little easier.

Friday, August 01, 2008

Panoramas from Adelaide

Victoria Square in Adelaide 360 panorama imageAdelaide Victoria Square panorama (c) Peter Watts - all rights reserved

There are now over 50 panoramas from Adelaide on Panoramic Earth. This is the main city of South Victoria in Australia and shows images from both central Adelaide and some of the surrounding beaches (such as Glenelg Beach).

Glenelg Beach Panorama ImageGlenelg Beach panorama (c) Peter Watts - all rights reserved

The list of images on the site can be found either in the Adelaide panorama index, which lists the images by category, or by an Adelaide panorama search, which lists all images alphabetically.

Adelaide Central Market Panorama imageAdelaide Central Market panorama (c) Peter Watts - all rights reserved

Saturday, July 26, 2008

Improved Search Result Presentation

Searches for panoramas on Panoramic Earth has just got smarter as we have just implemented changes that make these more useful. Instead of a simple A-Z list of the search returns, these are now tabulated in a more meaningful way as shown below:

Search Results for 'Beach' on Panoramic Earth
You get -
  • Panorama ID - a site ID given to each panorama
  • Location Name - An active link which will take you to the location listed
  • Region and Country Listing - Shows you where in the world the location is found at a glance.
The search covers more than just the location title. For example, a search for 'victoria' will return both panorama locations with 'Victoria' in the title and also images from Victoria in Australia and other places where Victoria relevant to the search request.

This is much more useful than the old way of presenting search results as shown above.

Tuesday, July 15, 2008

Reaching Critical Mass?

We are finding increasingly that images added to Panoramic Earth are becoming rapidly indexed by Google and also found in the searches. Panoramas of the Temple of Ten Thousand Buddhas, one of the tourist attractions in Hong Kong, was found position 9 and 10 within Google within 24 hours using general search terms relevant to it. Of course, that might all have changed now. For the current status of this page within Google follow this 10000 Buddha Temple search

Friday, July 04, 2008

June top 10 Panoramas

It is always interesting to see what are the most viewed panoramas over time. Here are the list of the top 10 most viewed images on Panoramic Earth during June 2008. What would be even more interesting is to know why some of them are so popular:
  1. Cases de son Barbassa (Spain)
  2. More London Development (England)
  3. Laaloa Beach Park (Hawaii)
  4. James Craig Tall Ship - Bow (Australia)
  5. Staffin Beach - Headland (Scotland)
  6. La Pergola Aparthotel (Spain)
  7. Gentry's Kona Marina (Hawaii)
  8. The Ridgeway - Abbotsbury (England)
  9. The Hays Galleria (England)
  10. Kleine Scheidegg (Switzerland)
They range from holiday destinations in Mallorca through to beaches in Hawaii, and from galleries and architecture to the tops of Swiss mountains. We have to see if the trend changes during July.

Wednesday, June 18, 2008

10,000 Search Terms and the Google Dance

Web life is full of surprises, and none so more unpleasant as a sudden and unexplained dramatic drop in web traffic to a site. About a week ago, we saw a 90% drop in traffic from Google searches coming to Panoramic Earth (see Google traffic graph above). This was unexpected and caused quite a stir. Had we inadvertently broken a new rule and so been penalized? Had Google changing it's algorithm, thus changing the rules? One thing that was obvious from the flurry of related postings to various forums was that we were not alone.

And a week later, again for no apparent reason, things returned to normal. They say a week is a long time in politics - well it sure is a long time on the net when this kind of thing happens.

Friday, June 13, 2008

33 Countries in 6 Continents

With the recent addition of a panorama from the Sidama Savannah in Ethiopia by Richard Greenall, Panoramic Earth now features 360 panoramas from 6 continents. The only one missing currently is Antarctica, and putting up a white image claiming it to be from the South Pole during a snow storm would be cheating.

Similarly, the addition of pictures from Trinity College in Dublin by Matthew Walters adds Ireland to the list of featured countries, bringing the current number to 33. That is now over 2100 panoramas from 33 countries over 6 continents. From mountain tops to caves, jungle to desert, and fields to cities. It is a tribute to the enthusiasm of photographers in many different places, and we want to thank all those who have chosen to display their images on the site to date.

Tuesday, June 10, 2008

2100 Panoramas

Panoramic Earth now has over 2100 panoramas from around the world. Panoramic image 2100 shows the Steam Vents at the Kilauea Caldera at the Hawai'i Volcanoes National Park on Hawaii Island (also known as 'Big Island'), bringing the total number of panoramas from the State of Hawaii to 108.

The global collection of 360° panoramic pictures continues to grow at about 6 panoramas a day from all over the world, so it will not be long before we have to report on image 2200.

Feeds Feed Sties

Sometimes it is interesting to see where the RSS site feed ends up. Recently we came across two sites that incorporate and show the our feed of new panoramas as part of their own site. Good news all round really, and another example of how the net weaves in and out to link various parts together. So if you do not have a feed reader, then let these sites do the feeding for you and just look at the panoramas that they put up. Two such sites are in the RSS Feed Directory and on Photopress which show the new panoramic images and the descriptions, with, of course, links back to the photographer and the page in Panoramic Earth where the image can be viewed with a world map and more information.

Thursday, June 05, 2008

1,500 Panoramas from England

With the recent addition of a 360° panorama from Canterbury in Kent and more images from Dorset, Panoramic Earth now contains about 1,500 panoramas from England covering nearly 60 towns and villages in 19 Counties. This is an impressive number, forming one of the largest collections of panoramic images from the UK available on the internet. So, if you want to explore the hidden secrets and places of interest in England, this is an excellent place to start. The counties featured include:

Cambridgeshire | Cornwall | Cumbria | Devon | Dorset | East Sussex | Essex | Greater London | Greater Manchester | Hampshire | Kent | Lincolnshire | Norfolk | Oxfordshire | Shropshire | Somerset | West Midlands | Wiltshire | Worcestershire

Sunday, June 01, 2008

New Home Page

Picture of the new homepage
Panoramic Earth now has a new homepage giving more options and better access to the rest of the site. Changes include:
  • Thumbnails of the latest panoramas added, linking through to the page
  • Country pins on Google world map allowing quicker access to the country information
  • New list of popular places of interest
  • Goto a random panorama on the site
As before, you can still see the lists of recent photographers who have contributed to Panoramic Earth, and the list of the most recently updated regions of the world to which panoramas have been added.

Saturday, May 17, 2008

1900 Panoramas

Panoramic Earth now features over 1900 panoramas taken from around the world. Each 360 panorama comes with photographers comments and some local information, making it a kind of guide to places. The latest panoramas come from Mount Mauganui in New Zealand, the Tian Tan Buddha in Hong Kong and Central Park in New York.

Mount Maunganui, New Zealand360 Panorama from Mount Maunganui in New Zealandpanorama (c) Peter Watts - all rights reserved

Central Park , New York360 Panorama from Central Park, New York
panorama (c) Peter Watts - all rights reserved

Tian Tan Buddha, Hong Kong360 panorama of Tian Tan Buddha in Ngong Ping, Hong Kongpanorama (c) Peter Watts - all rights reserved

KingPano Panoramic Head Review

When in Las Vegas I had the opportunity to meet with Bill King, the inventor of the KingPano panoramic head. Over a coffee we talked about the development of the head, where he is going with it from here, and my experience and observations while using it. I have used it world-wide for a couple of years shooting over 3,000 panoramas, and found it a light weight, sturdy and inexpensive alternative to other professional panoramic heads available.

Recent reviews put the KingPano as a suitable alternative to the Manfrotto MN303SPH panoramic head, and I agree. For a start it is much cheaper, much lighter and comes with little compromise compared to the Manfrotto system.

Developed over several years, the KingPano and has gone through more than 40 designs. The current version is made of durable Acrylic, with a stop-click base. I have previously reviewed the Panosaurus, and much prefer the KingPano to it. The feel is more solid, it is lighter weight and has a click stop base, which the Panosaurus does not. Similarly, the vertical arm of the KingPano feels more solid than that of the Panosaurus when attached to the base.

The KingPano also comes with a leveling device attached (unlike many rivals). This is a three-ring device, which I am not particularly fond and find fiddly to use. I also found that this was not the most solid system, and at points there was too much flex. Instead, I prefer to use a ball and socket system, such as the Manfrotto 438, which allows you to lock the camera in place with one switch (although this does add to the weight). Bill was kind enough to make me a head without his leveling system, and this has worked a dream.

One of the drawbacks of the current KingPano is that the camera mount has to be unscrewed from the horizontal arm of the tripod each time it is used. This can be a real pain, especially if you are taking a number of images from different locations, but need to set down between shots for transport. In the end I adapted my mounting arm from the Panosaurus and used that.

The other drawback was that the set-up is shorter than the Panosaurus, so could not be set up accurately for the use of zoom lenses. Both systems have problems shooting the vertical zenith shot of spherical panoramas as the attaching screw for the camera can protrude (the Panosaurus has the option of using a recessed screw, but again this leads to a time consuming, more fiddly, set down after each shot).

Bill listened eagerly to my observations, and has big plans for the future. He is setting up a workshop which will make future models in metal, will have a quick release for the camera and overcome the zenith shot issues. He is also considering changing the leveling system and extending the length of the arms. Considering himself a perfectionist, I look forward to having a go with the next model. By then I expect it will rapidly become the panorama head of choice for many.

Saturday, May 10, 2008

Real Player Ad-on Breaks Google Map Search

Ad-onsfor browsers are great, but sometimes they throw up problems. While the RealPlayer Browser ad-on for Fire Fox browsers allows you to automatically find downloadable content on a page it has an unfortunate side effect - it prevents search in Google Maps. So if you have this ad-on active in Fire Fox, then you may only be able to search Google Maps once before you have to refresh the entire page, a pain for those who spend their time go-locating places. We have noticed that this is not the only web function that is affected by the RealPlayer Browser Ad-on. If you are facing this problem then try de-activating this ad-on.
  • Select Tools > Ad-ons
  • Select the RealPlayer Browser form the list
  • Click on Disable
  • Restart Fire Fox and see if the problem has been resolved.
More information from the Google Maps Usergroup. Fire Fox is still reported by most of those who use it to be more stable, more friendly and more adaptable than any of Microsoft's IE family.

Thursday, May 08, 2008

Klaus Mayer - Panoramas from Australia

It has been fantastic to watch a number of panoramas from rural places in Australia being added to Panoramic Earth in the last few days. A new member, Klaus Mayer, has been adding images from both the The Grampians and from Kangaroo Island. Given the vast distances between the two, this represents quite a lot of time in a car.

Klaus emigrated to Australia in 2000 and claims that photography is just a hobby. One, it seems, to which he is committed. He started creating panoramas when coming across Helmut Dersch’s PTViewer a couple of years ago, at a time when he was still using film.

He recently brought a K10D, is now ‘hooked on panos’ as he put it, and started sharing some on a personal home page. His favourite destinations are in the outback, which means that a lot of driving is required, and time is limited to weekends and holidays. Thankfully, being in Australia, sun is often not a problem.

Klaus started adding Australian images to Panoramic Earth in April 2008. A full list of Klaus’s panoramas is available from his profile, and those interested in his work can follow him via his own RSS feed. About the site, Klaus says ‘I like because it shows visitors where the photo was taken and which direction they are facing when viewing the pano’.

Monday, May 05, 2008

Google Maps Loss of Satellite Images

Just over the last few days, the presentation of the satellite images on Google maps has been temperamental, which will cause problems for people wanting to accurately geo-locate pins on maps. For those submitting images to Panoramic Earth, this causes problems both in locating the image and setting the true north point of the panorama. There is not a lot that we can do except hope that this problem, beyond the control of anyone except Google, will be shortly resolved.

Thursday, May 01, 2008

Most Popular Panoramas in April 2008

It is always interesting to see what people are looking at. Here is a list of the top 16 most popular and most frequently viewed panoramas from Panoramic Earth in April. Places in Mallorca are popular at the moment, this may be a reflection of the weather in the UK (Mallorca is a very popular destination for people in England), and the fact that the time to book summer holidays is with us.
  1. La Pergola Aparthotel in Mallorca
  2. Scotts Hotel in Mallorca
  3. Es Canet Parc Agroturismo in Mallorca
  4. Puerto de Sóller Beach outside Hotel Esplendido in Mallorca
  5. Hotel Son Borguny in Mallorca
  6. City Hall in Singapore
  7. St. Peter's Basilica in Rome
  8. Colosseum of Rome in Rome
  9. Millennium Bridge in London
  10. Ketteringham Hall in Ketteringham
  11. The Monument to the Fire of London in London
  12. Westminster Cathedral in London
  13. Tower Bridge in London
  14. The London Eye in London
  15. London Bridge in London
  16. Circus Maximus in Rome

Monday, April 14, 2008

Personal Photographer RSS

There are now individual contributor feeds for all the photographers that add 360 panoramas to Panoramic Earth. These are found in the photographer's profile, and are a great way of keeping up to date with what your favourite panoramic photographer has been up to. It is quite possible to add the RSS feed to a blog, as has been done in in80clicks where the RSS has been placed into the side of the blog allowing visitors to quickly see what has been going on. Naturally, the best way to use these is to add them to an RSS reader. For those new to RSS, the video below is a good introduction.

Wednesday, April 09, 2008

Panoramic Earth RSS Feeds

Panoramic Earth now has an RSS feed, which lists the most recent images added to the site. The feed is available from the home page, or simply click on the RSS button shown above. Now you can easily be kept up to date with all the fantastic new 360° panoramas that are added to the site as and when they happen.

For the future, we are planning RSS feeds for each photographer, and are considering whether it would be useful to have them linked to each country.

Monday, April 07, 2008

Panorama of Dalai Lama's Monastery

Though co-incidental, the timing of this could not have been better planned. As there are protests and arrests in London and Paris over the Chinese treatment of Tibet and their own people as try to carry the Olympic torch to Beijing, a user of Panoramic Earth has uploaded a 360° panorama taken from the personal monastery of His Holiness the Dalai Lama. Here is the Namgyal Monastery panorama. The Namgyal Monastery is found in Himachal Pradesh, Dharamshala, part of India. The Dalai Lama moved the monastery here when the Chinese red army invaded Tibet in 1959.

Thanks to Malcolm Etherington for this unique and timely contribution to the site.

Tuesday, February 19, 2008

360 Panoramas from Rottnest Island

360 panorama from Rottnest Islandpanorama (c) Peter Watts - all rights reserved

Rottnest Island is a short distance from Perth and Freemantle off the coast of Western Australia. It is a popular tourist destination, known for it's sandy beaches, being car free and the small quokkas, marsupials the size of a large rabbit that inhabit the island. The coastline is rugged, carved of the interaction of limestone with the sea. There are now 360° panoramas from Rottnest linked to a Google map.

360° Panorama from Cape Vlamingh
360 panorama from Cape Vlamingh on Rottnest Islandpanorama (c) Peter Watts - all rights reserved

The most famous parts of the island are Cape Vlamingh, named after a Dutch explorer who mistook the quokkas for rats and so bequeathed the name to the island ('rotte' = Dutch for 'rat'). From here it is possible to see whales, dolphins, ospreys and other sea life. Some of the beaches, like Geordie Beach, are lined with holiday accomodation on the shore and pleasure boats in the water. Others are protected from both boats and fishing, and are little secluded places of rest. Among these are Mabel Cove and Little Parakeet Bay.

360° Panorama from Mabel Cove
360 panorama from Mabel Cove on Rottnest Islandpanorama (c) Peter Watts - all rights reserved

Being an island surrounded by lagoons, Rottnest has seen it's fair share of shipwrecks over time, and has 2 lighthouses to ward shipping away. On a good day it is possible to see Perth from the Bathurst Lighthouse on the eastern end of the island.

A Thousand 360 Panoramas

Marking another milestone, Panoramic Earth has now reached more than a thousand 360° panoramas linked to Google maps. The thousandth panorama is of the Inner Harbour at Dartmouth, and was taken by Malcolm Etherington, who wrote the following about the image.
  • "This attractive little harbour in the town centre is known locally as the 'Boatfloat' and is surrounded by busy shops, cafes, restaurants, and many fine Georgian buildings. It connects to the main Dartmouth estuary via lock gates under the roadway, which are currently disused, and so dries out at low tide as seen in this photo."
Malcolm has contributed a number of panoramas to Panoramic Earth, which can be found in the Malcolm Etherington Panorama Index. Some of the panoramas are also featured on EuroPanoramas.

Tuesday, February 12, 2008

Panoramas from the Great Ocean Road

The Great Ocean Road in Australia is about 270km starting at Torquay near Geelong in the east and ending at Warrnambool in the west in Victoria. The road was built by 3000 returned servicemen from WWI, known locally as 'Diggers', as a war memorial to the fallen. Today the Great Ocean Road is better known for the Twelve Apostles, a series of 8 limestone stacks that stand just of shore near to Port Campbell. The Twelve Apostles used to be known as the Sow and Piglets, but this was not considered good for tourism and so the name was changed. In 2005 one of the stacks collapsed into the sea leaving the 8 remaining today. Panoramic Earth now features a number of 360 panoramas taken from various points along the Great Ocean Road showing a number of the prominent formations.

Below are small versions of some of the 360 panoramas featured. Click on the image to be taken to a larger version linked to Google maps of the region where you will also find more information.

Loch Ard Gorge 360 Panorama
360 panorama of Loch Ard Gorgepanorama (c) Peter Watts - all rights reserved

The Twelve Apostles 360 Panorama
360 panorama of the Twelve Apostlespanorama (c) Peter Watts - all rights reserved

The Grotto 360 Panorama
360 panorama of The Grottopanorama (c) Peter Watts - all rights reserved

Sunday, February 10, 2008

New Zealand Seals

Seal at Shag Point, New Zealand
Shag Point in New Zealand is just one of many places where you can see seals. The point of on South Island, a little off the beaten track, so not many people visit it. Which means, that for those that do, there are not hundreds of people wandering around with cameras. The picture shown here is part of a 360 panorama of Shag Point which shows the surrounding rugged coastline and small islands just offshore where many seals can be found basking. At dusk penguins come ashore and waddle up the beach to their burrows in the sand.

New Panoramas on Panoramic Earth