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...

New Panoramas on Panoramic Earth