Playing with 360 Photospheres

December 2015

Playing with Google’s beautiful Photospheres (interactive, Streetview-like panorama photos hosted within Google Maps) you’ll quickly notice that Photospheres aren’t thoroughly supported on mobile devices (yet). It’s currently a little risky to share links pointing to Photospheres on Google Maps – iPhone users for example will see just a bare Google Maps page without references to the panorama content. As a side note, sharing 360 content from Facebook to the outside world tends to end with ugly error messages, too.

The internet being the internet, there are workarounds, of course. Jim Popenoe explains how a beta Photosphere renderer can be used to easily integrate panoramas in HTML pages and Tony Redhead proceeds from there, showing a simple way to embed Photospheres in articles that are reasonably mobile-safe. Please be aware that these are temporary solutions that might make way for better mobile implementations at some point. But for now they do the trick.

The panoramas you see here were shot with a super-easy-to-use Ricoh Theta S (the spherical photos coming out of the camera look like this) and transferred via WiFi to an iPhone 6 running the Theta S app. From there the panoramas were uploaded to Google Maps via the Google Streetview App on iOS without any further editing.

Optimizing the Google Maps URLs carrying Photospheres for mobile usage (not requiring apps) would be a big step forward, making reporter workflows possible where everything from one-click-shooting 360 panoramas to sharing the results can happen without ever touching a desktop computer or having to struggle with code and workarounds.

All panoramas have been shot in Landshut, Bavaria. Try the deeplinks if you’d prefer to watch in full size: Isar | Martinskirche | Altstadt | Residenz