360Cities.net has announced an upgrade to their panoramic photo site. I’ve mentioned them before, but never did a full post. Their site is dedicated to allowing anyone to upload or view geo-tagged 360 degree panoramas from around the world. You can view the available photos on a map. Some of the new features including a better panorama viewer, RSS feeds for locations or photographers, multi-resolution panoramas for higher detailed panoramas, and more. In the past year they’ve grown by 10X to over 8000 panoramas in 100 cities. Not only that, but they have full support for Google Earth viewing including use of the Google earth 4.2+ Photo Viewer mode. This means you can get the full immersive 3D-like panorama experience inside Google Earth. To illustrate this in action, I’ve made the following short video (no audio, 1.5 minutes) showing 360Cities panoramas being used in Google Earth:
As seen in the video, you can zoom in to see more detail (depending on the resolution of the original photo) and pan around to get a real sense of a place. As 360Cities amount of content grows, I hope Google will want to include them as a layer as well. I do think 360Cities needs to use the KML regioning tools so they don’t show too many placemarks at once (it can slow down GE a bit).
Stefan Geens at OgleEarth has done a full review of the new 360Cities site, and has even started uploading some of his own panoramas for viewing in 360Cities. I recommend reading Stefan’s article if you want more insight into what 360Cities offers. You can view all of their available photos in Google Earth through the 360Cities KML file (be patient, it may take a while to load the 8000 placemarks).
There are also two layers available in Google Earth with very high resolution immersive panoramas: Gigapxl and Gigapan both found under the Gallery layer. Read more about Gigapxl here.