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