Friday, July 25, 2008

Creating "Look arounds" in Sao Miguel Island, Azores

Last year I discovered the beauty of Pico Island in Panoramio and I spent my holidays there. This year I decided to go for another island of the Azores, São Miguel, and again I was very impressed by a unique landscape. Pico was a rocky island dominated by the shape of the big volcano, but São Miguel is a Hawaiian style green island full of volcanic cones and lakes.

Vista do Rei

- Vista do Rei from cbotel -


São Miguel island was a perfect place to experiment with the new "Look around" feature. I took many overlapped photos in the most interesting landmarks in order to get "look around" links. It worked pretty well and only 10 days after the upload, the photos have been reviewed and got the "Look around" link. Sometimes my photos have joined an existing "Look around" group of photos, but other times they have created a new "look around". The results were very cool, so I decided to share them and my conclusions:

- Vista do Rei: the most famous sightseeing place of São Miguel
- Lagoa Verde and Lagoa Azul: if you move to the right you can even see where I parked my car
- Mosteiros cliffs: Nice sight, but I didn't get all photos connected in a perfect 360º panorama
- Lagoa Verde from a small beach: it worked perfectly here, you can see both sides of the lake
- Lagoa do Fogo: beautiful lake, but my photos of the sides didn't get connected
- Termal beach in Ferraria: pretty small, I got it unintentionally

I thought that two overlapping photos for each shot were enough (on the right and left sides) to get the photo inside the "look around", but actually the algorithm seems to work better with more than 2 overlapping photos, 3 or 4 is Ok. Anyway, the more photos you take, the higher probability of getting the magic link.

After playing a lot with this feature I have to say that I love it. The "look around" gives you the freedom to choose your own perspective and a magic feeling. I feel like I can turn my head in the direction I want and explore the place personally.