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