Tuesday, December 11, 2007

King George Island and the first person born in Antarctica

King George Island, the largest of the South Shetland Islands has stations from Argentina, Brazil, Chile, China, South Korea, Peru, Poland, Russia and Uruguay. Look at how many houses, it has to be one of the most populated place in Antarctica

In King George Island there is an airport and even a Russian Church built in 2004 that looks very similar to the ones in Kizhi..

Base Esperanza (Argentina) has not good satellite images, but a Guinness Record, it was the birthplace of Emilio Marcos Palma, the first person to have been born in Antarctica

I just discovered a couple of nice views of stations. The Bernardo O'Higgins Base (Chile) where is located the big antenna from the German Antarctic Receiving Station (GARS)

and the Davis Station (New Zealand)

Tuesday, December 4, 2007

Research stations in Antarctica

I always wondered how were research stations in Antarctica. I found some with good satellite images.

Rothera Station (UK)

Troll station (Norway)

Casey Station (Australia)

Marambio Island station (Argentina)

One of the best shots I have seen in Antarctica is this one made from the Belgrano station (Argentina)

Belgrano station

After browsing a little bit I realized that Antarctica is more interesting than I expected. There are active volcanos like Mount Erebus with a permanent lava lake in the crater. I have found the Hurtigruta ship called Nordkapp that I was used to see in the port of Bergen (Norway). I also found the French-Italian Base Concordia and the Ucrainian base Vernadsky, where they even have a bar.

Friday, November 30, 2007

Panoramio mirrored for right to left languages: Arabic, Hebrew and Farsi

Do you see anything strange in these homepages?

Mirrored Panoramio

Yes, Panoramio is mirrored for right to left languages :)

Arabic, Hebrew and Farsi were available some time ago, but without mirroring they were not really usable, so we decided to pull them back until we could mirror the site. Now it is ready.

It took more time than expected and it has been hard, specially because in Panoramio sometimes comments in left to right languages are mixed with right to left ones, like in this great shot from Usama Fath, the author of the Arabic translation. We also would like to thank Ofek Dekel for the Hebrew translation as well as Hessam Moosavi and Alireza Shakernia for the Persian one. In the Panoramio side the credits go to José Florido and Joaquín Cuenca.

Thursday, November 29, 2007

Las Médulas: man made landscape 2.000 years ago

Las Médulas, located near the town of Ponferrada in León province, Spain, used to be the most important gold mine in the Roman Empire. Las Médulas is listed by the UNESCO as one of the World Heritage Sites. The contrast between green of chestnut and oaks with the red color of the mountains in Las Médulas is wonderful.

Las Médulas

How were Las Médulas made? The spectacular landscape of Las Médulas resulted from the Ruina Montium, a Roman mining technique described by Pliny the Elder consisting in the perforation of the mountain and latter irruption of great quantities of water that literally pulled the mountain down as you can see in the satellite image:

The romans removed 500 millons of m³ of land to get 3 grams of gold per tonne of land. Pliny stated that 20,000 Roman pounds of gold were extracted each year. The exploitation, involving 60,000 free workers, brought 5,000,000 Roman pounds (1,650,000 kg) in 250 years. To bring the necessary water from the Sierra de La Cabrera mountains to Las Médulas a system of channels more than hundred kilometers long was constructed, and some of its portions are still conserved. You can visit the channels with a guide and a helmet. The holes made by the water in the mountain are huge.

By the way, near las medulas you can visit the Castle from the Order of the Temple in Ponferrada.

Source: Las Médulas in Wikipedia

Wednesday, November 28, 2007

Friends of Panoramio meeting in the real world

I just discovered this photo of a group of people from Panoramio, Gruppo Amatori di Panoramio, meeting in Montecanino, Italy.

Gruppo Amatori di Panoramio

Later I discovered that they already have met several times in Camogli , Asti and Monte D'Alba. They are: Marco Ferrari, Francesco Favalesi, Franco Truschello, Daniela Brocca, Valerio M, Alberto Gemme, Gilberto Silvestri, Luigi Barbadoro, esseil (Silvana) and Giulio Colla. Take a look at their photos, these amici make great shots.

I am very happy to see that people make friends through Panoramio. After thinking about it a little bit, I realized that it makes sense. Usually you upload photos of your place in Panoramio and people that post photos near yours probably live nearby. I thought that maybe a forum for meetings in the real world could be a great idea, so here it is "Rendezvous in the real world".

Thursday, November 22, 2007

Panoramio in Belarusian, Latvian, Galician and Asturian

Thanks to these great guys, now Panoramio is translated to four more languages.

Latvian: Ainars Bruvelis, paldies!

Galician: Christian Álvarez Rodríguez, gracias!

Asturian: Andrés Menéndez Blanco and Héctor Xil, gracies!

Belarusian: Andrej Kuźniečyk Дзякуй!

The rest of the languages are updated continously with the contributions of many translators. However sometimes you will see some sentences in English mixed with other languages because Panoramio website is alive; we are adding new sentences or rewriting them all the time.

Belarusian has between 4-7 million native speakers and Latvian 1,5 million, they are the official languages for Belarus and Latvia respectively. The other two languages are located in Northern Spain, Galician is the mother tongue for 2,5 million people in Galicia and Asturian is spoken by around 100,000 people in Asturias.

Here you can see some of my favourite shots from Belarus, Latvia, Galicia and Asturias.

Friday, November 16, 2007

More than 200 cool sightseeings in "Places"

Many people have contributed with new locations to the list of cool places in Panoramio. We have collected more than 200 great locations and last weeks we made some improvements in the Places page, making easier to browse locations randomly. You always can find a link to "Places" in the top of the site.

Places page

The idea is to discover places where both photos and satellite images are cool. If you want to suggest a location, drop us an e-mail to questions AT panoramio.com. Please include the URL of Panoramio's map page (e.g. http://www.panoramio.com/map/#lt=65.847768&ln=-22.5&z=10&k=1&a=1) or the exact coordinates for the sightseeing you suggest.

Friday, November 9, 2007

500,000 photos from Panoramio added to Google Earth

After the October update was canceled, yesterday the November one was done and 500,000 photos from Panoramio have been added to Google Earth. Now 2,5 million photos are available in Google Earth. The next update will be around December 10th.

Now from Google Earth you have a directly link to correct misplaced photos and to flag them as inappropriate. We wanted to make easier for people to collaborate so we all can enjoy Panoramio's photo in Google Earth even more.

Wednesday, November 7, 2007

New forums for German, Spanish, French, Italian, Portugues, Russian, Turkish, Chinese, Magyar, Arabic and Hindi

Since last week we have forums for German, Spanish, French, Italian, Portuguese, Russian, Turkish, Chinese, Magyar, Arabic and Hindi, so people can use their own language in the forum. We selected those languages because are the most popular languages among the users of Panoramio.

People seem to enjoy the new forums, specially the Spanish community that already posted more 400 comments, but also the Germans, Turkishs, Russians and Italians are very active. That's great.

I also wanted to mention that last Sunday we had trouble with the upload system and many people couldn't upload their photos. It took us some time to find and fix the problem, but on Monday afternoon was definitively fixed. Sorry guys!

Thursday, October 25, 2007

1 million registered users and 5 million photos uploaded

Panoramio has reached 1 million registered users and over 5 million photos have been uploaded. Of those photos approximately 80% were mapped and 2 million have been added to Google Earth (a number that increases monthly). The rise in the number of people using Panoramio and uploading photos since December 2006 has been incredible. People like very much to illustrate their favorite places and help correcting misplaced photos, we are very happy for that.

We received some complains about the delay sending the photos to Google Earth. Unfortunately this delays will remain for some time. I believe that we should reduce the delay, but always has to be some delay.

Arabic, Hebrew and Farsi languages are ready, but not online because we are preparing the interface to be fully adapted to right to left languages. Still some languages are not available. We are specially missing Hindi, Thai, Indonesian, Vietnamese and Tagalog. If anyone feels like helping with the translation to those languages, please, contact me at eduardo AT panoramio.com, I will appreciate it.

The last weeks we had some issues with not appropriate ads displayed in the photo-pages. Some people reported that and we decided to remove them until we can assure those ads don't appear anymore. Sorry for any inconvenience caused.

Monday, October 22, 2007

Hundreds of Panoramio's photos over the Google Maps

In the past adding more photos to the maps has always slowed down the performance. Now that is history. Check the new Panoramio mapplet, included as featured content in "My Maps" tab in Google Maps and you will see hundreds of thumbnails displayed simultaneously and smoothly updated while panning the map. Truly amazing!

Panoramio mapplet

Thursday, September 20, 2007

2 million photos from Panoramio in Google Earth

Yesterday 300,000 new photos from Panoramio were added to Google Earth, that means that the total number of photos in Google Earth is 2 million right now.

We also added a new feature a couple of weeks ago. Now you can ask for a second review for your photos in the case they have not been selected for Google Earth. First, check the photo acceptance policy for Google Earth and if still you think that your photo should be in Google Earth, please, submit the photo ID using this review form. We will take a second look to the photos and inform you by e-mail about the decision.

Still there is a long delay bringing the photos from Panoramio to Google Earth. However we have realized that this delay works like a quarantine with very nice effects. First during the time that photos are only in the map of Panoramio.com, they are reviewed by the visitors of the site, making difficult that inappropriate photos are sent to Google Earth. Second, during the "quarantine" the photos are viewed, added to favorites, commented, etc. thus each photo gets a popularity level that correlates quite well with its overall quality. This is extremely important because when you explore a place in Google Earth you first see the best photos and only if you zoom-in enough you get the all the others, from more to less popularity.

As anyone else, I want to see my fresh uploaded photos in Google Earth as soon as possible, but I understand that people want to see mainly the best shots from Panoramio in Google Earth, therefore I am very happy to discover the good side of the delay, it makes waiting easier. Anyway, remember that Panoramio's map gets hundred of thousands of visitors every day, so even if your photos are still not visible in Google Earth, right after being uploaded they are available to many people.

By the way, the next update of photos will be on October 15th (notice: this update was canceled, the next one on November 15th).

Tuesday, August 21, 2007

More than 500,000 photos from Panoramio added to Google Earth

Good news! Finally photos up to ID 2,900,000 have been added to Google Earth. This means that more than 500,000 new photos have been added to Google Earth and this is the biggest update we ever did. Now the total number of photos from Panoramio in Google Earth is 1,7 million. Next update will be around September 20th.

We also added a new feature. Now you can quickly see which photos from you have been selected for Google Earth, they are indicated with a blue compass in your personal area. Those photos are already in Google Earth or will be included in the next update.

Thanks for your suggestions for the sightseeing page, we added more than 50 suggested new amazing places like the mysterious Richat Spiral Structure in Mauritania, San Lucas cape in Mexico, the huge and unfinished Ryugyong Hotel in North Korea, the Camargue in France and The Twelve Apostles the Australian coast. Enjoy more places or send us your favorite places.

Thursday, July 26, 2007

Pico Island in Azores, Portugal

While searching for a place for holidays I discovered Pico Island in Panoramio and I was completely amazed by the place. Pico Island or Ilha do Pico is an island of the Azores (Portugal) archipelago (pico means peak in Portuguese). Take a look here if you wonder about the name. Ponta de Pico (Pico Alto) is the highest mountain of Portugal. The Azores are actually the tops of some of the tallest mountains on the planet, as measured from their base at the bottom of the ocean.

The island is 42 km long and has a maximum width of 15 km and an area of 447 km², making it the second largest of the Azores islands. The main settlements are the capital Madalena, São Roque do Pico and Lajes do Pico, the total population is around 15,000 innhabitants. Tourism is the main industry in Pico Island, but it doesn't seem very crowded.

The volcano is a basaltic stratovolcano with steep sides. The last eruption on the island was in 1963 and the paths of the lava flows are still visible. You can climb up to the top of Ponta do Pico in few hours if you are in good shape.

The island has a notable wine, the Pico Wine (Vinho do Pico) and the landscape of the Pico Island Vineyard Culture has been a UNESCO World Heritage Site since 2004. The vineyards surrounded by small walls made of volcanic black stones make this wine very special. The island is plenty of old Adegas (Wine cellars) that are nowadays available for renting. Adegas are built with the same kind of black stones in very nice style. Everything is black and green at this island. The beaches are rocky, but still there are some nice places for swimming. Since Pico island in the route of whales migrations, whale watching tours are also very popular.

My favourite shots from Panoramio: top of the volcano, the exuberant vegetation and the vineyard landscape. More information in Wikipedia.

Wednesday, July 25, 2007

Bad news and good news. The forum is back

The bad news is that I expected that on July 20th new photos from Panoramio were going to be added to Google Earth, but I was wrong. I am deeply sorry for that. The next update will be around August 15th.

The good news. The forum is finally back. Yes, it has been a too long delay, almost two months. The forum was disabled until we could update to a more secure version. It was supposed to be something very fast, but because the forum was integrated with Panoramio accounts it was not that fast. Then some other urgent issues appeared and delayed the work in the forum. In this wonderful world you know when you start something, but not when you can finish it. Anyway, now the forum is back with more forums and some changes.

As you can imagine moving to Zurich and working in a new place delays some things, but the acquisition by Google already brought some very good things:

- Now we can know the date of the next update to Google Earth in advance. Thus we can tell to you when your photos will be included in Google Earth and the status of each photo in Google Earth (selected, rejected or in waiting list). Those were the very frequent asked questions by the people and I am very happy that I can finally answer them. We have also re-written some parts of the help page.

- Now everyone can see your photos inside Google Maps. In Google Maps.com (.com only) go to "My Maps" tab, check "Photos from Panoramio" and enjoy!

- Panoramio infrastructure is more robust now. The upload system is working much better and the number of people having trouble uploading photos dropped dramatically. You can also explore the World with Panoramio's map more smoothly.

Welcome back to the forum!

Wednesday, June 27, 2007

New photos from Panoramio added to Google Earth

Yesterday around 200,000 new photos were added to Panoramio's layer inside Google Earth. Now the number of photos from Panoramio in Google Earth is around 1,2 million. With some exceptions, photos up to ID 2,000,000 have been included. This means around 2/3 of all photos uploaded to Panoramio up to this ID have been sent to Google Earth (e.g. photo with URL: http://www.panoramio.com/photo/1892099 has ID: 1,892,099).

If your photo has a higher ID than 2,000,000 you need to wait some weeks until the next update, expected for middle July, that will be larger and I hope will help catch on the delay.

By the way, now the blue compasses that represent photos from Panoramio in Google Earth are substituted for little cameras that are more intuitive.

2 million photos in Panoramio

Only three months ago we announced that Panoramio had reached one million photos. Today I am very happy to write that the number of photos has doubled and reached 2 million. As usual the quality of the photos uploaded by the community is outstanding. Thanks for sharing, ¡mil gracias!

Friday, June 15, 2007

Horseshoe Bend in Arizona

Few days ago while browsing around Arizona in Panoramio I found Horseshoe Bend, one of those places where satellite and surface photos combine so good that you almost get the feeling being physically there, as you can see in the mini-panoramio below:

Horseshoe Bend is a meander of the Colorado River located near the town of Page, Arizona, in the United States. I didn't found very much information about this place in the Wikipedia article, but I found some great shots (1, 2 and 3).

In the same area it is located the Antelope Canyon, where some breathtaking photos (1, 2 and 3) have been mapped. Definitively Arizona is full of interesting places.

Panoramio available in Arabic language. 34 translations and growing!

Thanks to Usama Fath Panoramio is now translated Arabic language. We are very happy that Panoramio is now available for the approx. 400 million people around the World that speak Arabic.

In the last months Panoramio has been also translated to Serbian (Dragan Djukic), Traditional Chinese (David Hing Cheong Hung), Persian (Hessam Moosavi), Brazilian Portuguese (Sergio de Castro, Cleber Lima, Jadilson Torres and Adriana Monteiro), Slovenian (Nina Litrop), Finnish (Timo Rossi), Greek (Tasos & Kostas Koutsavlis), Norwegian (Bo Eide) and Bulgarian (Andrey Kirkov and Boyan Ivanov Bonev). Many other languages will be available in the next weeks. We want to thank all the translators for the great work and the continuous update of the translations.

As I said before in this blog, because Panoramio is about places around the World, we are are committed to make Panoramio available in the language/s or each place. If you feel like helping translating Panoramio to your language, please read these instructions and contact me at eduardo AT panoramio.com.

Wednesday, May 30, 2007

Google agrees to acquire Panoramio

We are very (and we mean very) happy to announce that Panoramio will be acquired by Google.

The integration of photos from Panoramio in Google Earth has been so successful since John Hanke suggested it that we see the acquisition of Panoramio as a natural consequence. We have tightened our relationship with Google Earth more and more in recent months, and at the end we decided to walk one step further. After so much work together, honestly, we couldn't imagine a better scenario than selling Panoramio to Google. Most people upload their photos to Panoramio to share them through Google Earth, and it's way cool to see Panoramio's photos in Google Earth, so the upcoming acquisition reaffirms the current win-win situation.

For now, our user interface will not change; accounts, urls, features... We will keep working for Panoramio as a team, but this time using Google infrastructure as Panoramio further integrates into Google's mapping technologies. We will also keep answering e-mails directly as much as possible.

The upcoming acquisition will bring many advantages to Panoramio users, starting with a better infrastructure to improve the reliability of Panoramio, more frequent updates of Panoramio's Google Earth layer, and more resources for some invisible tasks that take time out from working on new features.

To watch our little project grow since its conception one and a half years ago has been an amazing experience, and we hope to make it even bigger with this step and with your continued support. We have worked hard to arrive to this point, but we know we could not do it without all of you, the wonderful community of people that upload their best photos to Panoramio. You deserve all the credit. There are no words to say how honoured we feel when someone decides to choose Panoramio for sharing their photos.

We have lots of ideas in the pipeline. Our baby is still growing, so stay tuned!


José, Joaquín and Eduardo

Friday, May 4, 2007

Correction of misplaced photos with suggestions from other people

Four years ago I was in Potosi (Bolivia) and I took some photos from its beautiful colonial buildings. When I uploaded those photos to Panoramio some years later I had some problems mapping them. I could not remember the exact position of those photos, especially because the satellite images were not that detailed at that time. Some days ago, I received suggestions to relocate those photos. I was completely amazed by the accuracy of the suggestions and the improved quality of the satellite images from Google Maps. It is a nice feeling to know that your photos are in the right place ;)

Of course, I was not the only one in that situation. Despite that most of photos uploaded to Panoramio are located with very much accuracy, the existence of misplaced photos has always being a hot issue. Some months ago we added the possibility to suggest new locations to misplaced photos. At first we were checking the suggestions ourselves, but very soon we realized that we could not manage the rising number of suggestions and even more important, very often we had problems to decide what to do. Another important point was that relocating photos without notifying the author was not specially nice, especially in the case of false positives.

Then we realized that the author of the photo is best person to decide about suggestions. After all he was there and knows the place better than us. We also believe that authors should be responsible for the quality of their own contributions, so in case the suggestions are ignored, photos might be removed from the public map. You will receive alerts by e-mail when a suggestion to your photos is sent, so you can manage it in few hours. The number of suggestions received is visible in your personal area.

The suggestion system has been already working a couple of weeks, but there were some adjustments pending.

- The system was accumulating suggestions for some time before, thus many people suddenly received many suggestions. Now that stock of suggestions is over and the flow of new suggestions much smaller.

- At first there were too many wrong and repeated suggestions, maybe because some people was just testing the system. In order to prevent that, only one suggestion per photo is accepted now.

- The management page was downloading very slow when displayed many suggestions. Now the number of suggestion is limited and it downloads faster.

Until now more than 20.000 suggestions have been managed by the system and around 1.000 suggestions are sent per day. Overall the feedback has been very positive. Thanks for your suggestions!

Wednesday, May 2, 2007

Panoramio API released: Display photos from Panoramio on your own website

Since almost the beginning of the project we received requests for to provide an API. However the last months, specially after reaching the first million of photos, the number of requests rocketed and we realized we should do it. Now Panoramio API is ready.

In any site where location matters photos from Panoramio can help. For example, photos can illustrate the area around a hotel in a reservations website or show how it looks the neigbourghood where a house is located in a real estate site. What is makes photos published by the community of Panoramio so useful is their high quality and representativeness. Panoramio API allows you to select only a selection of the photos (popular tab) or all them.

While we were preparing the API page, some sites already integrated Panoramio photos in their sites. They are great examples of what it can be done with Panoramio API.

- Gpsies.com was the first site that used the API to illustrate its tracks, like this one around the lake Cospudener in Leipzig, Germany (check "Pictures of Panoramio" on the right-bar).

- Joost Schreve from Everytrail.com made a great use of the API for this GPS Travel Communiy. Now while watching the Training route in Westerpark you can see how Amsterdam channels look like.

- Also Jordi L. Ramot from Wikiloc, the winner of the mash-up contest, made the integration in few hours just after knowing about the API. In Wikiloc you can enjoy the beautiful landscape while watching Porcupine Rim track by bike in Moab (Utah).

In the Panoramio API page we included some other examples, coding, explanations and more information.

Tuesday, April 24, 2007

Photos from Panoramio updated in Google Earth, April 23th

Finally the new update is done. We sent to Google Earth a selection of photos up to ID: 1,710,000. Approximately 3/4 of the photos uploaded to Panoramio were sent to Google Earth. Thas is almost one million photos (973,949), the double number of photos than the previous update that reached ID: 655,000.

Thanks to you all for illustrating the World with your photos. Despite of being working in Panoramio from the first day, every single day I get amazed by your photos. Simplemente impresionantes.

Our excuses for the delay. In the previous update I spoke about making updates more frequently, but the delay was even longer this time. Still our goal is to make updates every few days and we are working together with Google Earth team to reach this frequency.

The photos sent to Google Earth are the ones in the "popular" tab in Panoramio. However Google Earth team also made their own selection, so not all photos we sent to them are displayed in GE as blue compasses. If you see your photo in "popular" tab, but not in Google Earth, this is your case. On the other hand if your photo (with ID under 1,710,000) is not included in "popular" tab and you believe it should be included, please, report us at questions AT panoramio.com. We reviewed photos manually, but if you find any inappropriate photo in Google Earth, you can use the flagging system to report it and we will check it.

We had a couple of problems with the update. Some photos that were already in Google Earth and received suggestions for relocation were removed from Google Earth by mistake. Also all photos with IDs between 1,650,00 and 1,670,000, are out from the "popular" tab and thus from the Google Earth update. Sorry for that, we are working on these bugs right now.

By the way, if your photos are still not included in Google Earth represented by blue compasses, you have the chance to see all your photos in Google Earth represented by thumbnails of themselves by opening any Panoramio feed.

Tuesday, April 10, 2007

North Cape, the end of the world

What it makes North Cape very special is that standing there you feel like being at the end of the world. In front of you there is nothing else but the immensity of the sea and the North Pole. I know that feeling because I worked in North Cape for a couple of summers.

The 307 meters high steep cliff of North Cape is really impressive, you can get an idea from the photo below. I took it after taking off from the small airport of Honningsvåg, the main village in Magerøya island, where North Cape is located.

North Cape cliff

The building you see is Nordkapphallen that includes several touristic attractions, some of them built under the ground in order to reduce the impact in the landscape. In the bars of Nordkapphallen you can join the old tradition of celebrating the arrival to North Cape with a glass of champagne.

North Cape is often referred as the northernmost point of Europe, however the neighbouring cape of Knivskjellodden is actually further north. Moreover, both of these points are situated on Magerøya island, which means the northernmost point of mainland Europe is in fact Cape Nordkinn

Don't come to North Cape only for watching the midnight sun and taking the typical photo that most of the organized tours offer. The risk of bad weather is too high for a short visit. I recommend you to stay at least a couple of days in Magerøya. You are very lucky if you see the midnight sun in North Cape, however in the rest of the island the weather is much better than in the cape. Very often the sun shines in Magerøya, while North Cape is completely covered by the fog at the same time.

Magerøya is such a unique place. There is not a single tree in the island, but the landscape is wonderful. You can visit Kirkeporten, a natural arch near the village of Skarsvåg. Through Kirkeporten you can see Nordkapphornet (the horn of North Cape). The fishing villages of Kamoyvaer and Gjesvaer are also very special places. If you are extremely lucky you will see one of the most spectacular sights from North Cape, the carpet of low clouds over the sea.

In summer there are 24 hours of light in Magerøya. I don't know why, but I always expected the midnight sun light to be different than the normal day one, but as you can see in this photo taken at 02:00 a.m., night and day are completely indistinguishable. Basically, the sun turns around your head the whole day. Sure, you know that is normal in that latitude, but the strange feeling of needing sunglasses at 01.00 a.m. is unavoidable. Sometimes you end asking yourself, is it 5 o'clock a.m or p.m.?

Sleeping problems are very common for newcomers. Despite of being tired you never feel like really sleeping. Better don't complain to locals about the excess of light, they are very happy after 24 hours of dark polar night in winter. "Sleep in winter" is their typical answer for your laments.

The most special thing with the midnight sun are the special colors of the sky. Because the sun describes a very low trajectory for many hours, it is somehow like a very long sunset.

A couple of facts about Magerøya to finish this post. A subsea tunnel was built from 1993 to 1999 to accommodate the large amounts of tourists visiting the island. The North Cape Tunnel, which is 6.87 km long and reaches a depth of 212 meters below sea level, was for a time one of the longest and of the deepest subsea tunnels in the world. In spring reindeers swim from the mainland to Magerøya to enjoy the summer pastures. Reindeer are good swimmers, but in spring are helped by military boats to cross the waters. In late fall reindeers swim back to mainland unassisted.

Thursday, April 5, 2007

From the North Pole with love

Sailing in a nuclear submarine around the World has to be a nice experience, but surfacing through the ice at the North Pole has to be the most expected stopover. Look at this photo from USS Boise.

USS Boise in North Pole

If you wonder about the view under the ice, you can enjoy this one from USS Alexandria:

USS Alexandria under the ice

Indeed, we have no idea how this photo was taken.

Wednesday, April 4, 2007

Where is the most photographed place?

Many people have asked me what is the most photographed place of the world at Panoramio. I can't check the whole planet, but after some searches I believe that Saint Peter Square in Rome is the place where more people have mapped photos. The second place is Tour Eiffel, followed very closely by Piazza San Marco in Venice and the Roman Colosseum. Italy has three places in the first four positions, it doesn't look like a coincidence that Italy is the country with more places in the World Heritage list from Unesco.

Other places that have been very much photographed are Statue of Liberty in New York (USA), the Opera House of Sydney (Australia), Hagia Sophia in Istanbul (Turkey), London Eye (UK), Alhambra Palace in Granada (Spain), Inca Ruins in Machu Picchu (Perú), Athenian Acropolis (Greece), Church of Sagrada Familia in Barcelona and Niagara Waterfalls.

Tuesday, April 3, 2007

Volcanoes in Kamchatka Peninsula

Kamchatka is 1,200 kilometer long peninsula in the Russian Far East. Containing around 160 volcanoes, 29 of them still active, the peninsula has perhaps the highest density of volcanoes and associated volcanic phenomena in the world. In the center of Kamchatka is Eurasia's only Geyser Valley. The highest volcano in Kamchatka is Klyuchevskaya Sopka (4,750 m or 15,584 ft).

- mini-panoramio by Korotnev AV -

Petropavlovsk Kamchatsky is the most important city of Kamchatka Peninsula with 198,028 innhabitants. Koryaksky and Avachinsky volcanoes are visible from Petropavlovsk.

Browsing photos of Kamchatka is an exciting adventure. I just found a Geothermal Power Plant, amazing clouds over the volcanoes, crater lakes, impressive cliffs and beautiful meadows. This is my favourite photo from Kamchatka. More interesting photos at "popular tab" of Kamchatka's map.

Reference: Wikipedia

Monday, March 19, 2007

One million geolocated photos at Panoramio

Some days ago Panoramio reached the magic number of one million geolocated photos. Thanks to the most wonderful community of users around the World now our planet is pretty much illustrated.

Since we launched the site in October 2005, 300.000 people have signed up at Panoramio. On February more than 4 million unique visitors came to Panoramio and made 30 million page views. As you can imagine all that traffic made our little team extremely busy, specially the last three months. At this graphic you can get an idea of the huge growth of the site since December:

Panoramio on Alexa

Joaquín Cuenca has been working very hard optimizing our two servers with great results. Now even at traffic peaks the site downloads at a nice speed. We are doubling our servers right now, we want to be ready for future increases.

Together with the traffic avalanche we received lots of e-mails from the users reporting bugs, questions or requesting features. We replied personally to more than 99% of the e-mails, but if for whatever reason we missed yours, please send it again, we will try to do better this time. Those e-mails provided us with very useful information to fix some hard to find bugs and make the site overall more usable.

Panoramio is now translated to 8 new languages: Bulgarian (Andrey Kirkov and Boyan Ivanov Bonev), Norwegian (Bo Eide), Greek (Tasos & Kostas Koutsavlis), Finnish (Timo Rossi), Slovenian (Nina Litrop), Brazilian Portuguese (Sergio de Castro and Cleber Lima), Persian (Hessam Moosavi) and Traditional Chinese (David Hing Cheong Hung). It is a very nice feeling knowing that many people can enjoy Panoramio in their own language.

In my previous post I spoke about new features coming. The first one available is the "popular" tab at Panoramio map where you can see a selection of the best photos ordered by popularity. We lost hours looking at them.

You will see many new features the next weeks.

Saturday, February 17, 2007

Photos from Panoramio updated in Google Earth

Today Panoramio's layer at Google Earth was updated. Previously there were 80.000 photos from Panoramio visible in Google Earth by default, now 400.000 photos are included. There is a great chance to find photos from almost every place on Earth.

The selection of the 400.000 photos included photos until ID:655.000 (e.g. photo with URL http://www.panoramio.com/photo/385739 has ID:385739). If your photo has a higher ID than 655.000, you have to wait until next update to see your photos in Google Earth. If your photo has a lower ID, but you still don't see it in Google Earth, probably is because that photo is not enough popular or got many negative flags from other people. If you thing that was a mistake, please contact us at questions AT panoramio.com, we will fix it ASAP.

In any case, there are two alternative ways to see your photos updated in real time; Panoramio's map or Panoramio's KML on Google Earth.

The update has been very late, I'm very sorry for it. It took more time than we expected since the last one (January 7th), but we hope next updates are more frequent.

The last two months the growth of Panoramio has been completely crazy. We have been dealing with a lots of scaling issues, almost every day a new one. That prevented us from making adding features people asked us. Now is time for improvements.


Friday, February 16, 2007

Sergio Cattivelli gana el concurso de fotografía de Panoramio y Google Maps España

Una fotografía de la cubierta de la Opera de Singapur realizada por Sergio Cattivelli obtuvo el máximo galardón en el concurso de fotografía organizado por Panoramio y Google Maps España que se falló ayer.

Primer Premio
Primer premio, Sergio Cattivelli

Enrique Vidal recibió el segundo permio por una imagen de pingüinos Gentoo en las Islas Malvinas y Juan Ramón D. Pintado el tercero por una instantánea de las minas de Mazarrón en Murcia.

Segundo premio
Segundo premio, Enrique Vidal

Tercer premio
Tercer premio, Juan Ramón D. Pintado

El primer premiado, de origen italiano y residente en Barcelona, recibirá un GPS profesional, el segundo y tercer premiados un trazador GPS cada uno.

El jurado compuesto entre otros por el blogger estadounidense Frank Taylor de Google Earth Blog, el fotógrafo español Miguel Michán de Backfocus.info, el director de marketing de Google en España Bernardo Hernández, Dani Castillo y Quique Corrales de Zaunka, nos ha comentado la gran calidad de las imágenes y la altísima participación, más de 6.000 fotografías inscritas. Ha sido un trabajo duro ser jurado en este concurso ;) Os agradecemos el esfuerzo.

En la página del concurso se pueden ver los finalistas y en la etiqueta "concurso" todas las fotografías inscritas. ¡Mil gracias a todos los participantes!

Wednesday, January 31, 2007

Panoramio in Chinese, Bosnian and Croatian

Since yesterday Panoramio is available in three more languages; simplified Chinese, Bosnian and Croatian.

We want to thank very much Jing Zhou and Bin Li for the Chinese translation. We are also very grateful to Miron Matijevic and Ana Mazic from Sarajevo for the Bosnian and Croatian version. Great work guys!

We are committed to make Panoramio available in all languages of the World. There are already 20 languages and 4 more comming, but since there are many visitors from India and the Arabic speaking World we miss Arabic and Hindi. Ojalá, Inch-Allah the language of Averroes and Almanzor is available soon in Panoramio.

If you feel like translating Panoramio to your language, please, don't hesitate to contact us at questions AT panoramio.com before starting.

Tuesday, January 30, 2007

Le Mont Saint Michel

The Mount Saint Michel is a mythical and mystical place, a small rocky island in Normandy (France) just at one kilometre from the north coast.

Mount Saint Michel is an island just half of the time. In ancient times was connected to the land only via a natural sand bridge which was covered by the sea at high tide and revealed at low tide. Today is connected with the mainland by the road you can see in the satellite image. The tides around Mount Saint Michel are dangerous, shift quickly and come in at one metre per second. However nowadays you don't see very much water around the island because of some polderisation projects carried for centuries. Now there are plans to build a hydraulic dam that will help remove the accumulated silt and make Mont Saint-Michel an island again. It is expected to be completed by 2012.

The main building at the island is the Benedictine Abbey. The church of the abbey built between 11th and 16th centuriesis crowned by a statue of Saint Michael that reaches 155 metres above the sea level and makes the shadow you see over the sand in the mini-panoramio above.

Photographers love this picturesque place that makes possible great shots.

Source: Wikipedia

Friday, January 26, 2007

Laguna Verde and Volcano Licancabur

This is one of these places that looks stupefying on the satellite image. Laguna Verde (green lake), on the left at the mini-panoramio below, gets green colored everyday between 12-14:00 hours. Despite the colour of both lakes looks pretty the same in the satellite photo, the one on the right is called Laguna Blanca (white lake), for obvious reasons. The 6.200 meter high snow caped mountain South-West from Laguna Verde is Volcano Licancabur. Maybe this place seems familiar to you because it is in the cover of Lonely Planet's guide of Bolivia.

Since Laguna Verde is at 4.300 meter altitude (14,000 ft), if you arrive here directly from sea level you will probably suffer "soroche" (altitude sickness). The only way to arrive here is driving through Bolivian Altiplano in a route plenty of mineral coloured lakes (Laguna Azul, Laguna Colorada...), active vulcanoes, geysers, flamingos and llamas. Maybe the most typical journey starts in Uyuni city and goes through Salar the Uyuni, a place that deserves a full post on the future.

Tuesday, January 23, 2007

Buddhas around Asia

Jimmy Kang collected photos of Buddha's sculptures in South-Eastearn Asia and placed them at Panoramio's map. See the result at this mini-panoramio and his explanation below:

By Jimmy Kan in Panoramio's forum

I have been to many countries in South East Asia visiting predominantly temples and noticed that the Buddha images in each country are made differently. Each has its own unique style and blended with local taste, big ears, large forehead, beaked nose, long finger, etc. In Myanmar they put on regalia especially those temples where royalty worship. They even paint the face with make-up. In Thailand their royal Buddha image wears a crown (Wat Phrameru in Ayutthya). In China most are fat and healthy.

The Burmese went one step beyond worshipping, they made offering to particular Buddha image with spectacle, slipper, etc. and they even have one with 6 fingers. The sad part is Cambodia, not many ancient one left, except a few in the museum. The 4 face feature of Bayon Temple is not a Buddha image. It’s a hindu deity, Bhrama and many simply called it 4 face Buddha and thus mistook it as a Buddha image.

I have managed to map my Buddha photo collection in Thailand, Laos, Myanmar, Indonesia, Cambodia, China and more to come. Hope you enjoy it.

For sure we do ;) Thanks for sharing Jimmy.

Monday, January 22, 2007

500.000 photos uploaded to Panoramio

Last weekend Panoramio reached half a million photos uploaded. Approximately 400.000 of them geolocated in the place they were taken.

We are very excited watching how the community of people using Panoramio is growing at a this huge speed. The increasing flow of photos is creating every day a more useful way to explore the World.

It is a difficult task to moderate all these photos for the small team of Panoramio, but people is helping us very much through the collaborative tools. Users can flag offensive or not descriptive photos, also they can suggest new locations to misplaced photos. People is collaborating so much that even moderating flags and suggestions is becoming a day-long task itself. Anyway, we don't complain, we are very grateful to all you.

We are still dealing with issues related with the enormous amount of people using Panoramio. We made some great advances and now the site is quite fast most of the day. The exception is between 22-24 hours (GMT +1) when American an European users are surfing at the same time. As I said before, this is not a complain, this are the kind of problems you love to have.

Once more, thanks! ¡gracias!

Tuesday, January 16, 2007

7 new languages available in Panoramio

Thank you very much to all translators for the effort:

Slovak: Tibor Bednár

Dutch: Raoul Grasman and Emmanuel Begerem

Danish: Søren Hellerung

Portuguese (Portugal): Pedro Melo and Alexandre Gonçalves

Lithuanian: Gediminas Vaitkevičius

Romanian: George-Alexandru Marinescu

Japanese: Atsushi Ikeda

Brazilian-Portuguese, Czech, Polish and Chinese translations are comming very soon.

More translations are very welcome, just drop me an e-mail before you start the translation at eduardo AT panoramio.com or read how you can translate Panoramio to your language.