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Behind Google Virtual Tours

posted Apr 22, 2013, 10:33 AM by Rafael Marxuach   [ updated Apr 24, 2013, 3:47 PM ]
Multi-level Google Virtual Tour

Multi-level Google Virtual Tours allow large businesses to showcase their interior in a single tour. The tour consists of multiple tours (one per level) connected by the navigation bar at the left corner of the tour window. Try it, see inside the different floor levels of the Sheraton New York Times Square Multi-level Tour.

The work that goes into the production of a virtual tour is technical and laborious. For example, the Sheraton tour was produced from more than 1,500 high resolution photographs. To take these the shutter release was triggered more than 500 times (with each shutter release three bracketed shots are taken) at 125 different locations along the 4 levels covered.

Moving the tripod to each new location define the flow, sequence, and experience of the tour. It’s crucial to select the right locations for the photographs, otherwise you won’t achieve the desired experience. The best experience is accomplished when the photographer is able to visualize the final outcome beforehand. Good planning, proficiency with the equipment and software, and creativity to come up with solutions when difficulties arise are skills required.

After the photo shoot all photographs (the data) are downloaded to the computer, processed, ingested to Google’s Street View software, moderated and matched with the footprint of the building before being published. These steps, occur behind doors and take about twice the labor that goes into the photo shoot.

Any omission or error during the process of taking the photographs result in unexpected expenses and inconveniences for photographer and business owner. The photographer will be required to re-shoot the missed or unacceptable 360 photographs, which means scheduling a new photo-shoot. For the business, to recreate the original scenario isn’t easy - particularly in traffic intensive situations like hotels. Therefore, it's recommended to take these considerations into account when a photographer is selected.

Multi-level tours take planning, technical expertise and careful deliberation. The same workflow developed for these larger jobs is employed in all our jobs. For example this month we also published, Leicht - WestchesterMyHome Paramus and MyHome Manhattan - all one level businesses.

Finally, at the end of the process - magic! The virtual tour comes to life when is published to the most technologically advanced mapping infrastructure in the history of the world - Google Maps.

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