Monday, December 19, 2011

Winter Walks in London

Everyone will have their favourite walk round London, and this is but one suggestion that takes in one of the best Royal Parks, stunning panoramic views, fantastic market stalls and pretty boutiques. It will take about 2 hours depending on how much time is spent admiring the views or browsing the stalls.

The walk starts at Great Portland Sreet tube from where it is a short distance to formal, laid out Avenue Gardens part of Regents Park. After this you can either continue up through the northern end of the park or make a (probably not quick) detour left to the Queen Mary Rose Gardens.

At the top of the par we pass by London Zoo and then cross the Regents Canal and along Prince Albert Road to Primrose Hill. For those inclined, it is a short, but steep, walk to the top for stunning panoramic views over the city. Exit at the north-east corner onto Regents Park Road and continue north along a pretty row of boutique shops and cafes - a good place to grab a slice of cake and drink.

Panorama of Primrose Hill supplied by Panoramic Earth

Continue across the railway bridge and then head right down to Chalk Farm tube where there is a fantastically painted building. At this point you begin the return trip turning south and heading back to Camden Market. This is where you can loose a lot of time browsing the various stalls selling almost anything you could imagine, including a lot of local arts and crafts.

Panorama of Camden Lock Market supplied by Panoramic Earth

The weary can opt to end their walk here or finish it by either wandering up Parkway past the Jazz Cafe and a fantastic health food shop or along Regents Canal. Both routes end up near the north end of Regents Park and from there you head south to end up back at Great Portland Street.

Monday, December 12, 2011

London at Christmas

Once again London has geared up for the run up to Christmas. Once again the lights are on in Oxford Street and ice skating rings have opened up at the Natural History Museum, Somerset House and other venues. The Winter Wonderland has arrived in Hyde Park and thousands of people our out to find various Christmas shopping bargains, enjoy the rides or relax at the Bavarian Village (shown below).

Every year just before Christmas Oxford Street and Regent Street are closed to traffic, and them promptly fill with tens of thousands of people who descend on the shops. One of the busiest shopping days of the year, it is accompanied by various street entertainment, rides and music, making for a festive atmosphere.

And yet in the midst of it all on wonders if the Christian meaning behind Christmas has somehow been lost.

Saturday, November 19, 2011

Occupy London Campaign

For the past few weeks the tent city of the Occupy London anti-capitalist protest has occupied the space in front of St Paul's Cathedral in London. This is the closest that the protest group could get to the London Stock Exchange, situated just north of the Cathedral. On the day that the Corporation of London came to issue eviction notices to people, Peter Watts, a virtual tour photographer, went down to the site to create a virtual tour of the protest.

Peter said that he found the site friendly and relaxed. The large 'University' tent provided all kinds of information about the protest and a daily list of events, talks and activities.

Understandably, Occupy London intend to remain for as long as it takes to persuade people that the status quo in the City can not be allowed to continue, and that issues around corporate and capitalist greed need to be addressed. Also understandably, the City would like the protest camp to move, for media attention to focus on other things and, probably, for them to be able to get on with business as usual.

The precise 'business as usual' that the Occupy London group are intent on preventing.

Friday, November 11, 2011

For Remembrance Day

Also known as Poppy Day, Armistice Day or Veterans Day, Remembrance Day is a day when the Commonwealth countries pause to remember all those who have fallen in the line of duty since World War I. It is used to mark the time when hostilities ended at 11am on the 11th day of the 11th month.

Panorama of Poppy Field in Bloom supplied by Panoramic Earth

The poppy became the symbol of the day, this delicate flower filling the fields of the fallen in many parts of the front line in Europe. We present the image above as a reminder of the sacrifice made by many who fought, whether they won or lost, in hope of a better future.

Friday, October 14, 2011

The Best Roman Palace in the World

If you are interested in seeing the most complete Roman palace in the whole world, then you need to head for Split, a port town on the Dalmatian coast of Croatia. There you will find Diocletian's Palace, built in the 4th century for the Roman Emperor as a retirement home.

Some home - containing army barracks, imperial quarters and servant sectors, the walled compound was capable of housing several thousand people. Central to the complex was the Emperors mausoleum, now Split Cathedral. While there, climb up the Bell Tower for fantastic views over the palace and rest of the city, as shown below.

Friday, August 26, 2011

Panoramic Earth forms Partnership with Aaduki

Panoramic Earth recently formed a partnership with Aaduki insurance offering both professional and amateur camera insurance through their services. In addition to a range of camera insurance and film equipment policies, Aaduki also offer Public Liability, Employer Liability (EL) and Public Indemnity (PI) insurance, a must for any professional. For the amateur, having insurance gives you peace of mind when taking your photography gear out for a shoot.

More about the different insurance policies can be found on the Aaduki website, or by reading these articles:
We at Panoramic Earth are very excited about this opportunity, Aaduki is a strong and reputable brand and we are delighted to be associated with them.

Friday, August 12, 2011

Great Ocean Road Updated

The virtual tour images from the Great Ocean Road in Australia on Panoramic Earth have been updated. Viewers can now explore the road through various full screen images showing off the amazing coastline and rock formations along the route. While the most popular part of the road are the Twelve Apostles, other more inaccessible areas of the road are considered by some to be more stunning. It is just that the coach tours do not go there.

Editor favourites from the route include Loch Ard Gorge shown below.

Panorama of Loch Ard Gorge Beach supplied by Panoramic Earth

If you are on the Great Ocean Road and want a really good view of some of the sea stacks of the Twelve Apostles, then the best thing to do is to go down Gibsons Steps nearby and walk along the beach. Then you get away from the crowds and have a better perspective of the cliffs and stacks.

Thursday, August 11, 2011

Exploring Mallorca

Most of those who visit Mallorca this summer will inevitably spend almost all their time in their own hotel or beach resort, or walking around the shopping streets of Palma. Then there are the large crowds that are bused to some major tourist attraction to join the thousands of others. These people will miss out on many of the fine things that Mallorca has to offer, little villages tucked away in the mountains, tiny Calas along the northern coast, ancient forts and castles on the hills.

As this map below shows, Mallorca has so much more to offer, and it is worth making the effort to get out and explore a little. Away from the beaches, many Mallorca hotels are tucked away in beautiful surroundings with dramatic views.

Mallorca tour provided by Panoramic Earth. All rights reserved.

And here is a view over Cala Banyalbufar, just one of the small Calas that line the dramatic northern coast. Not as easy to get to as the beaches on the south, but incredibly beautiful and quiet.

Wednesday, July 13, 2011

Rob Bowker - New Panoramic Earth VT Contributor

Panoramic Earth welcomes Rob Bowker to our regular contributors. A graphic designer and photographer based in Oxfordshire, he has 25 years experience working as a a graphics and publications manager in the charity sectors. Not content with this, Rob continues to find new photography challenges, inspired by Hockney’s ‘joiners’ back in the eighties and the late Ian Hamilton Finlay’s treatment of text with landscape. More of his work can be seen on Photoshelter and on his own blog.

His foray into panoramic photography and virtual tour work started with a crude 360˚ pan using a borrowed K1000 Pentax 35mm film camera of a long-since demolished area of Bradford slum (which he intends to dig out and put together). Since then he has progressed through animation and film making to the VR panoramas, which, he says, ‘scratch the same itch!’.

Panorama of Wallingford Bridge supplied by Panoramic Earth

Rob, "really loves the way a flash panorama allows you to capture intimate and otherwise uncelebrated corners of the world. On viewing, the effect is immediate and compelling." Not an unusual response to 360 panoramas, and a sentiment voiced by his son seeing an early shot of Wallingford Bridge, who exclaimed, "Wow, it’s just like being there!"

One of his current favourite panoramas is of Queen’s Arbour, near to Wallingford Castle. Rob considers this a work in progress and is moving onto creating fully spherical images, which he will continue to share on Panoramic Earth in the future.

Out of this World - Mars Panorama

Mars Interactive Panorama
After the Moon, the next stop in the sights of manned space flight programmes is Mars. If ever you wondered what that would look like, then take a look a this Mars Landscape Panorama
which gives you a 360 view of the Red Planet.

Known as the McMurdo panorama, it was put together from 1400 individual images taken by NASA robot Spirit during the winter months on Mars when it could not move. So the next step is to put a person up there with a camera and tripod - any photography companies interested in sponsoring...?

Thursday, July 07, 2011

New Large Map Views from Panoramic Earth

Panoramic Earth has launched a new layout for it's virtual tours on the site, using a larger image and map presentation, as shown below with a view of the Brooklyn Bridge in New York City. Now it is easier to explore the area around a given location on the Google map, and easier to see what other virtual tour images are nearby. Just click on the Large Map View link below the virtual tour image to get the layout below.

Panoramic Earth Large Map View of New York City
Whereas the normal map view presents the panorama next to the map and the text description below it, the new view gives a wider presentation of the image above a wider map. And you can still get to the location description and information. Simply click on the
Description tab next to the panorama for the location data. To go back to the traditional view, click the Small Map View below the panorama.

Luxury Holidays in Cyprus

Cyprus - golden sands, ancient sites, fantastic restaurants. A beautiful and fantastic place to holiday, and ideal for children. Several luxury Cyprus hotels and beach resorts offer excellent facilities for whole families and many are very aware of the need to provide activities for children.

An excellent choice for family-friendly hotels is the Columbia Beach Resort in Cyprus. Here the parents can relax around the pools, enjoy the beaches and a bit of golf, steam bath or Jacuzzi. You can unwind with various health and spa treatments and then enjoy the evening in the restaurants and cocktail bars.

In the meantime, a dedicated children's club will take care of the 3-12 year olds, with planned day trips and other events. Take the weight of looking after your children off your mind and bring them to a holiday resort where they can make life-long friends and have an amazing time.

These beach resort hotels provide the best for the whole family on Cyprus: relaxation, luxury and fun. A Cyprus holiday to remember.

Thursday, June 23, 2011

Cider with Rosie and Slad

In the Cotswolds, near to Stroud, is the tiny rural village of Slad which was thrust into world view by it's association with Cider with Rosie, written by Laurie Lee. The village lies in the picturesque Cotswold hills and has not much more than a line if stone buildings, village pub and church.

The pub, the Woolpack Inn, is popular with walkers and locals from the surrounding villages. It's name is a reminder of the wool and clothmaking industry that once dominated much of the Cotswolds. Laurie Lee is buried in the churchyard of the village church, Holy Trinity, just across the road from the pub.

Slad is just one of many village full of little bits of history tucked away in the Cotswolds and well worth exploring. The small collection of virtual tour images from around the village show why the region is very popular in the summer months. Rural, picturesque, quiet and relaxing.

Thursday, June 09, 2011

Panoramic Earth Blog Nominated by Teach Street

It is always great when someone recommends what we are doing. Today we found out that the Panoramic Earth Blog has been recommended to TeachStreet to become a featured blogger, which is a great compliment.

You can find us there under the Photography Classes section through the links above and also suggest your own blog to them.

Saturday, May 28, 2011

Summer Skiing on Val Senales Glacier

Val Senales Glacier at the end of Val Senales is a stunning place to be, surrounded by some of the highest peaks of South Tyrol. As shown in this virtual tour panorama, the scenery takes your breath away. Even better for skiers, as evidenced by the pair of skis stuck in the snow, the height of the glacier allows for year-round skiing.

Panorama of Val Senales glacier supplied by Panoramic Earth

For skiers, the Funivia Ghacciao cable car delivers you direct to the four lifts serving 2 red and 3 blue runs on the glacier, which also has a snow park and 5km of Nordic ski track.

Spurious Patent Threatens VR Technologies

According to the IVRPA, an incorrectly granted patent now threatens all creation, distribution and use of all and any virtual tour technology and images, whether for commercial or personal use. Dated June 2nd 2004, the '400 patent (US Patent 6754400) places a potential strangle hold on all virtual tour photographers, developers of panoramic image software, any company displaying these images and any person pursuing this as a hobby.

The IVRPA sate that the patent also covers the use of any lens combination, any method of creating and storing such images digitally, use and generation of hotspots within panoramic images, use of mouse to manipulate images. The company holding the patent has already sued VT producers and clients using the images, shutting a few down.

Every aspect covered by this patent is had been previously published. Back in 1998, 6 years before the issue of the '400 patent,
Professor Helmut Dersch developed Pano Tools and released the code under the GNU General Public License and there are commercial agreements as far back as 1999 that cite the use of VT technoligies, like this one with Microsoft, no less.

It seem remarkable, therefore, that the US Patent office should have granted the '400 patent, but the industry is now in the costly position of having to contend this ridiculous patent. Arrogant attempts to starnglehold the industry have been tried before, most notably the failed attempt by iPix.

Tuesday, May 24, 2011

360 Panorama of Whole Night Sky

Night Sky Survey Image by Nick Risinger
Every so often something amazing comes along that truly has the capacity to make one stop and just go 'Wow'. The Photopic Sky Survey is one of those things. Photographer Nick Risinger travelled nearly 60,000 miles taking individual images of the night time sky and then painstakingly stitched them together to form a composite 360° night time panorama.

The task was painstaking, dividing the sky into 624 uniformly spaced areas and then seeking out light-free places from which to capture the images using 6 cameras. Each sector was photographed 60 time using 4 short, 4 medium, and 4 long shots for each camera to help to reduce the amount of noise, overhead satellite trails and other unwanted artifacts.

The result is stunning. A fully interactive spherical image that shows the night sky if one was suspended in space where the earth should be. The Milky Way and other galaxies can be explored, zoomed in on and panned around. As if that was not enough, the interactive image can be overlaid with the stellar constellations sky map.

This is a truly amazing achievement. And now to find a HD projector and blank wall...

Friday, March 18, 2011

St Paul de Vence and Alpes Martimes

It is always great to see new parts of the world open up on Panoramic Earth. Recent additions by Isabel Marques show the beautiful countryside around St Paul de Vance in France. This beautiful, medieval town grew up around a hill fort in the Alpes Martimes just north of Nice. The earliest fortifications around the town date from the 13th century, and it is still surrounded by 16th century walls.

In addition to the beautiful countryside shown in the virtual tour above, St Paul de Vence has on offer several museums, including the world famous Fondation Maegh.The town is a delight to walk around, relax in and has numerous rustic cafes on offer. It makes an ideal day-trip for those wanting a break from the bustle of Nice.

This panorama is free to embed in your site. Please see the Embed Tour page for details.

Wednesday, February 09, 2011

Beautiful Panorama of Rome

Just one of the many dramatic 360° panoramic views and virtual tours of Rome. This one was created from a series of images taken on a sunny day while walking around the Cupola of St Peters Basilica in the Vatican. It provides a dramatic 360 view of the Roman skyline.

See the complete virtual tour of Rome, featuring pictures and information from many of the most important and popular landmarks and tourist attractions around the city, or search out your favourite place on the Rome panorama index.

Travelling to Rome? Check out these cheap Rome hotel deals.

Friday, January 07, 2011

Personal Panoramic Image Maps

Available to anyone who uploads 30+ virtual tour panoramas to Panoramic Earth is now able to embed their own collective virtual tour on their site(s). Using simple, cut and paste code, this personal tour will show the location of their panoramas linked to Google maps.

Always starting at the latest location they added, and automatically updated with you new images, this is a great way to allow people to view your latest work added to the site.

And how to get the code? The option becomes available when you reach the 30 image target. Then you simply need to go to your profile and select the Personal Maps option listed near the bottom of the profile menu. Copy the presented code and there you have it. Below is tour for Peter Watts.

Virtual tour provided by Panoramic Earth. All rights reserved.

New Panoramas on Panoramic Earth