Take A Virtual Walk

<p>A new online visual mapping tool enables users to virtually tour places from a pedestrian's perspective online.</p>
November 2, 2007, 11am PDT | Nate Berg
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"Everyscape, a startup based in Waltham, MA, is getting in on the rush to create a virtual version of the real world. Although the site will launch this fall under the shadow of mapping giant Google Earth, Everyscape's cofounders say that users will find the company's look and feel quite different."

"Everyscape's demo opens in the middle of San Francisco's Union Square, below the Dewey Monument. Users can choose the auto-drive mode, which gives a virtual tour of the area's sights and shops, or they can explore on their own. Auto drive orients a user by showing her the general layout of Union Square before taking her into Harry Dentin's Starlight Lounge and bringing her out again for a dizzy, swirling look at the night sky above the Dewey Monument."

"The site is designed to give a full immersive experience. A user should be able to tour Union Square virtually, CEO Jim Schoonmaker says, and then feel comfortable navigating it in real life."

"In Everyscape, building interiors are constructed the same way as the rest of the environment: by stitching together a series of panoramic photographs taken by company photographers or contributed by users. Within each photograph, a user can swivel through a full sphere of motion. To move users from within one panoramic photograph to the next, Everyscape's servers estimate the locations of the cameras in each photograph and use that information to build sparse 3-D geometry that forms the building blocks for an animated 3-D transition."

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Published on Friday, September 7, 2007 in Technology Review
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