How would you like to take an interactive virtual tour, flying high over, say, the Pyramids at Giza, zooming in and out, panning across 360 degrees in every direction, and even changing vantage points within the seemingly vast environment.
Or, instead, you could be gazing over the Manhattan skyline, flying over the Golden Gate Bridge in San Francisco, or experiencing the beauty of the Maldive islands from air, land, and even under the sea, just to name a few of the locales that you can experience.
If this sounds like fun, then check out AutoPano, a website that brings dozens of immersive, interactive panoramic experiences of places all over the world, free of charge, to your browser or handheld devices such as iPhones and iPads.
How it works: browse over to the AirPano site and choose one of the many panoramic views. An interactive, 360 degree panoramic image will appear that can be navigated using the mouse, and zoomed in and out of via the scrollwheel. You can explore further by clicking on the many ‘helicopter’ icons that you may encounter, which will instantly transform you to that vantage point. Or, if you don’t see any such icons you can switch vantage points using the thumbnails on the bottom right of the screen.
Versions: most panoramas are offered across different resolutions, although ‘Ultra High’ (see below) is rare, and is not available on most panoramas. The ‘iPhone’ and ‘iPad’ versions seem to be of significantly lower quality/resolution, and do not offer the multiple vantage points available in the browser.
Music or Muzak: the site provides music to go along with your panorama viewing experience. Mostly muzak, unfortunately, with some exceptions. You can switch the music off, though.
The verdict: an amazing site. The photography in this site is professional, well done, meticulously planned, and brilliantly executed. It’s the kind of content that makes you wonder who the people behind it are and what the motivation was to put this photography together (which must have been quite costly). This is a gem-of-a-website – two thumbs up!
[Thanks to reader Panzer for tipping us off about this great site].
Check out AirPano.