Photo Tours, a Google Maps feature introduced today guides you through a 3D photo scene, are available for more than 15,000 popular sites around the world, from famous landmarks such. Please note that using photo tours requires Google Maps with WebGL.
"Photo Tours can be initiated from Google Maps in two ways. First, when you search for a place, such as Trevi Fountain, the results in the left panel will indicate if there is a photo tour available: click either the thumbnail image or the link to start the tour. Alternatively, if you're browsing the map and click on the label for a particular landmark, the info window that appears will indicate if a photo tour is available," explains Steve Seitz, Software Engineer, Google Maps.
"Every photo in the photo tours is attributed to its contributor, so if you have great photos of places you've visited on Picasa or Panoramio, make them public to be eligible for inclusion in these photo tours!"
Seitz explains how Google produces these photo tours,
"we use advanced computer vision techniques to create a 3D experience from public, user-contributed Picasa and Panaromio photos. We start by finding clusters of overlapping photos around major landmarks. From the photos, our system derives the 3D shape of each landmark and computes the location and orientation of each photo. Google Maps then selects a path through the best images, and adds 3D transitions to seamlessly guide you from photo to photo as if you're literally flying around the landmark and viewing it from different perspectives," he explained.
The following video demonstrating photo tours feature of Google Maps:
Google also launched the latest 45° imagery update in Google Maps features new imagery for 8 international locations and 11 U.S. locations. "This also marks the first time we're publishing 45° imagery for France," Google said.
The new imagery is available for folling places:
International: Avignon, France; Reus, Spain; Rotterdam, Netherlands; L'Alcudia, Spain; Gandia, Spain; Sueca, Spain; Burgos, Spain; Los Palacios Y Villafranca, Spain
US: Albany, GA; Omaha, NE; Baytown, TX; Miami, FL; Amarillo, TX; Monroe, LA; Manchester, NH; Alexandria, LA; Rapid City, SD; Loudon, TN; Farmington, NM