Exploring a new 3D Birmingham online - The Post teams up with Photosynth
Fancy a amble through Victoria Square, a perusal of the Queen Victoria statue or some time exploring the architecture of St. Philip's Cathedral?
Well don't think you have to leave your seat to do it.
Today sees the worldwide launch of Photosynth, an online application that stitches together digital photographs of an area and converts them into a three-dimensional map.
And The Birmingham Post has teamed up with its creators Microsoft to produce Birmingham's first ever online, 3D representations of Victoria Square and St Philip's Cathedral.
The software is a collaboration between Microsoft researcher and the University of Washington. It also uses a display technology developed by Seadragon Software – a startup acquired by Microsoft in 2005.
It was first demonstrated to gasps of amazement last year at the TED conference, which brings together the world's top leaders and thinkers.
Up until today users were only able to view models created by Microsoft – including a 3D model of the Space Shuttle Endeavour - but could not create their own. Photosynth has also appeared in an episode of the crime drama CSI:NY.
But now anyone can upload their pictures to the website.
Photosynth analyses each photo for similarities to the others, and uses that data to estimate where a photo was taken. It then re-creates the environment and uses that as a canvas on which to display the photos.
Developers say the potential uses of Photosynth can range from sharing experiences to storytelling and documentation.
Paul Foster, “Enthusiast evangelist” for Microsoft – the man who helps introduce the firm's new applications to new users – said: “Photosynth is just the beginning of what this technology can do.
“We now have software that recognises data within a photograph. This means, for example, in the future we could take a picture of a restaurant, submit it as a search and find out all of the relevant information about it, such as reviews and menus."
“It also means we can organise pictures on the web in entirely new way."
(Photosynth will only work on a system with Windows XP or Windows Vista)