The Gigapxl Project that is part of the newly updated default layer for Google 4.2 beta isn’t the only content out there that is taking advantage of the new KML 2.2 tags, specifically the <PhotoOverlay> tag, which lets you accurately position high resolution photograps and the viewer’s perspective so that the image fits in with the surrounding lanscape.
Gigapan.org is the photo sharing site of the Global Connection Project at Carnegie Mellon University/NASA Ames Research Center, and Randy Sargent — who is a project scientist there — writes:
Anyone can upload a large panoramic image (50 megapixels minimum), click on “Place in Google Earth”, and you can adjust the panorama’s orientation and field of view until it’s correctly placed. gigapan.org does all the work to convert to something that’s viewable in Google Earth :-)
It looks like all this will soon be automated, at least for the dedicated amateur professional: there is a whole page dedicated to a soon-to-be released robotic mount for digital cameras that records the orientation and angle of the camera when a photo is taken. It looks suspiciously like the mount of my Celestron telescope:-) but that would certainly provide what’s needed to record the requisite data to feed a <PhotoOverlay> tag.
Some further panorama-themed notes:
- The image zoom and movement controls are accessible to all content within <PhotoOverlay> tags; it is something everyone can use via KML, and not a Google-specific tool (as I had guessed this morning).
- <PhotoOverlay> tags can deal with flat 2D images, partial or full cylinders, and also spheres.
- The functionality is still buggy for me, running 4.2 beta on a Mac. Sometimes the larger image is upside down, sometimes it disappears, and quite often it doesn’t resolve when zooming in. I’m not sure if this is because of load on the servers, or if it will require an update. Is it working well for PCs? I should boot into Windows sometime… but life is so short!
- Remember the much-promoted news from December 2006 where Pennsylvania announced it would use gigapan technology to make panoramas of US Civil War views? Well, now the technology is in place, so we can start expecting something to happen on that front…
- So is gigapan.org like panoramio on steroids?:-)