Do you enjoy looking at 360° panoramic photography? If so, then check out TourWrist, a web site that offers geo-tagged panoramic images for your perusal, similar to previously mentioned Panoye. Unlike Panoye, however, TourWrist also offers a free iPhone app that makes consuming/viewing panoramas easy and spontaneous, by putting in the palm of your hand (and your pocket), and offering an interactive “immersive” view from every conceivable angle.
But TourWrist seems to be difference from the usual community upload/sharing services (e.g. Panoye) in a number of other respects, most notably the fact that it’s panoramas (called ‘tours’) seem to be much more polished and professionally produced than most of what you would typically found on the web. Moreover, while the topics covered include many ‘cultural’ and artistic images, which is what I expected to see, the majority of images (19,000 out of approx. 24,000) seem to be of a commercial nature (restaurants, resorts, hotels shopping, and the like).
This is not necessarily a negative in and of itself (imagine being able to get a 360° panoramic preview of many close by restaurants while you are travelling, for example), but it does lend the app a certain commercial quality that limits its appeal as an image browsing tool for pure photographic enjoyment. This commercial quality is also reinforced by the site’s unexpected focus on hawking panoramic photography equipment and on linking users with professional photographers; but in any case it’s not to say that the app (esp. the iPhone app) isn’t a lot of fun to play with. It certainly is.
The quality of the images is simply outstanding, and I was surprised to be able to browse every single image from every conceivable angle, (i.e. “Immersive view”, up and down and around, and not just left and right). Images are not published by a user community but rather obtained in two ways; professional photographers providing images via direct uploading (or using the TourWrist Publishing API), and large imports of existing panoramic databases.
TourWrist is supported via a “freemium” model, which seems complicated but makes a distinction between whether you are a normal “amateur” user/consumer of images, or whether you are a professional or have a commercial/advertising intent (see here for more info).
The iOS app: is very nicely done, esp. rotating the device to scroll across the panorama (optional, but a very nice touch). I also like the fact that it has a search box. The only strange thing about it though is that I was not able to get to some images which I saw on the website when I attempted a search on the iPhone.
[Thanks go to Dan from GreatTV for the tip]