USA: Google added a new feature to Google Maps that enables 3D photo tours of more than 15,000 popular sites around the world. The search giant added tours for popular city landmarks and attractions like New York City’s Central Park, the Half Dome in Yosemite National Park, London’s Buckingham Palace, and the Trevi Fountain in Rome, among many others.
Google also posted a link to Google Maps with all available photo tours flagged. To view a tour, a user needs to turn on Google Map’s WebGL feature, which brings 3D graphics to the browser without the need to install additional software.
Google uses “advanced computer vision techniques” to create the 3D tours from public, user-contributed photos from its Picasa and Panoramio photo-sharing sites, Steve Seitz, software engineer for Google Maps, wrote in a blog post. The Web giant finds clusters of overlapping photos around major landmarks, and then uses the photos to render the 3D shape, location, and orientation of each site.
“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,” Seitz wrote.