FAQ:

 

1. What is this?

viewAt.org was born with the idea of creating a virtual space where anybody can upload their photographic works in panoramic format and relate them to the place where they were taken.

For that reason, and with the aid of technological developments that have made it possible to set up this visual manager, we aim to take web surfers to almost real spaces. Unlike traditional photography, the panoramic image creates a wrap-around sensation which we have tried to exploit to the full, thanks mainly to Shockwave Flash player, which allows us to include multimedia elements on the webpage and to fantastic developments such as Flash Panoramas and Google Maps.

The rapid advance of Internet related technologies allows the use of more and more sophisticated tools. While this provides many advantages, it also means that surfers are put off by the sheer speed of these changes. This is why we are so excited at having set up viewAt.org, because we think we can avail this technology to all those who are interested in showing their panoramic works in a spectacular way and at the same time, reach a maximum number of netheads.

With viewAt.org we have tried to achieve an aid to simplify, insofar as it is possible, the complexity of these new technologies for Internet.

By means of a simple administrative system based on well-tried formulae, creating panoramas using viewAt.org is just ag clic away.

 

2. I can't see the panoramas. What do I do?

You probably haven't updated your Shockwave-Flash viewer (viewAt.org requires, at least the 9.0 version). You can download it at Adobe Flash Player download centre. Shockwave-Flash is a multimedia viewer found on most browsers throughout the world and essential to see the panoramas on viewat.org.

 

3. I can't see the panoramas on full screen. What do I do?

You probably haven't updated your Shockwave-Flash viewer (viewAt.org requires, at least the 9.0 version). You can download it at Adobe Flash Player download centre.

 

4. I'm a photographer. How can I get panoramas like these?

We have prepared a brief, informative tutorial but we are aware this is only the tip of the iceberg.

To begin with, read our tutorial...

 

5. I want to upload to viewAt.org. Why do I have to register?

We need your minimum personal details to assure us that you are a person who will be held responsible for the contents you generate on viewAt.org, as well as for the rights of your work. Also, when you register, you are given a user name and password to access your personal area to manage your personal details and panoramas you wish to share on viewAt.org.

But the only essential information is your name and your own e-mail address. The rest, CV, personal photo, equipment you work with, and so on, are entirely at your discretion.

 

6. Who holds the ownership rights to the panoramas?

The uploaded panoramas in viewAt.org belong to their respective authors. Neither partial nor total reproduction is allowed without permission from the author.

viewAt.org allows for the use of uploaded panoramas by other Internet users on their web sites. If the author of the panorama you wish to use has given his/her permission, you will find a link showing the exact code number you need to insert the panorama.

 

7. I can't understand the map functions.

Don't worry. It's easy to use the map. When you click and drag, you move the map. If you double click on the map, you will automatically zoom in on the selected area. Also, to the left of the map you will find the movement controls and zoom.

The points mark the places where each panorama was taken. If you click on any of them, you will open a window with the respective information..

In the top right hand corner of the map you will see three options: political map, physical map and hybrid map (a mixture of the first two). By default, the political map will be shown but you can choose the map you wish.

 

8. My commentary has been withheld. Why?

The author of each panorama may withhold your commentary should it be offensive. Likewise, the team of viewAt.org may eliminate any insulting comment or one which incites social violence or contains advertising with no relation to the comments.

 

9. How can I insert one of the panoramas in viewAt.org onto my website?

If the author of the panorama you wish to download has given his/her previous consent, you will see the exact code number you need to insert your panorama. This code is simply a fragment of the JavaScript wrapped in a box which you can give the dimensions you wish and modify other design parameters.

If you have uploaded panoramas to viewAt.org, and you want to insert them on your webpage, click here if you want to know how to do it...

 

10. Why is it I can install some panoramas onto my website and others no?

The code for downloading a panorama will only be given if the author has given his/her previous consent. The author has the right to concede or withhold this right to copy.

Other questions:

 

1. How can I help translate viewAt.org into another language?

Very easy. e-mail us at. tell us which language you want to translate into and we will contact you to explain the process.

Your contribution will be included in the credits for viewat.org.

 

2. How can I view the panoramas on Google Earth?

Google Earth is able to show a lot of information about the surface of mapamundi it generates. This information is usually contained in files KML or KMZ. viewAt.org generates a KMZ file containing the information about the panoramas you can see on the website. You can download the file from the main page of the website or from the panorama itself. You can see the ad under the map.

Once you have downloaded the KMZ file and Google earthed it, two dots will appear on the surface of the map. These dots mark the position of each one of the panoramas. If you click on any one of them, a window will open with information where you can click on the link which will show your panorama and then, at the bottom of Google Earth, a window will appear showing the panorama you have just chosen.

Questions about uploading panoramas:

 

1. How can I insert my panoramas uploaded to viewAt.org onto my web page?

Very easy. You only need to know a little about HTML.

First: access your publication area to viewAt.org. In the list of your uploaded panoramas, under each one, you will see a link entitled "embed in my website". Click on this and you will open a window with the code that you must copy onto your webpage. If you wish, you can also specify if you want to let others insert your panorama onto their webpage (your name and the title will always appear) If you do not want others to use your panorama, for greater security, you should indicate which webpage or pages you plan to insert your panorama. In this way, viewat.org will block any attempt to show your panorama from any other site.

Secondly: copy the specified code and paste it onto the source code pf your webpage. If you have a weblog, paste it in the window of editing items. All you have to do now is save the changes.

You can modify the size, position, separation and frame of the panorama to your liking. To do this, you have to change the style properties of the box which surrounds the panorama. You will find more information about this at here.

 

2. What standard should my photographs be?

In order to upload to viewAt.org must be of a minimum standard. Each cylindrical or cubic panorama is divided into 6 or 4 faces (JPG file) Each face has to have a resolution of at least 1000 x 1000 pixels.

Apart from the resolution of the image, your panorama must be properly mounted,i.e., with the sides well matched. As for the rest, a lover of photography like yourself, needs no extra advice.

Tutorials:

 

1. How to create panoramic images.

Creating panoramic photographs (panographs) is not complicated but it is complex as, to get a good panograph, requires a series of processes which have to be carried out in the same order and bearing in mind several factors.

The steps to follow to get a panograph are the following:

  1. Take the necessary photos..
  2. Paste the photos (Stitching).
  3. Retouch and adjustment of the panograph.
  4. Create a virtual tour. (optional).

We are going to look at each one of these steps in a general way and factors to bear in mind.

1. Taking the photos.

There are various ways to get a panograph, from special lenses to motorized cameras but the most widely used technique is to take several photos to cover all the view. (depending on the type of camera and lens being used, you may need as few as 3 or 4 photographs or as many as 40).These photos are "stitched" using a special software to obtain a panographic format as will be explained in the following section.

Generally speaking, we can find two types of panographs. Those which cover a general, horizontal view ( cylindrical) and those which cover all the space, from ground level to sky level (spherical or cubic).

Examples of spherical and cylindrical panographs (in equi-rectangular projections)

According to the type of panograph you want to obtain, you have to take the photographs using one technique or another but in each case, there are common factors to be taken into account:

  • Although it's essential and highly recommendable to use a digital camera, if you use an analogue, an extra process has to be carried out before stitching the photos, which is digitalizing the paper copies or the negatives if it is a film or slides.
  • It is also very important for the camera to have manual controls to get a uniform panograph all the photographs must have as similar tone and luminosity as is possible. .
  • In the camera, we will manually use film sensibility, shutter settings, exposure time, the balance of whites and focusing.
  • The camera is used in portrait mode (placing it in a vertical position), because in this way, the angle of vision covered vertically is greater.
  • The area of contact between two adjacent photos must be at least 20% . The angle of vision of the lens you use and the contact area between two photographs determine the number of photos you have to take for each horizontal run.

    Overlap between photos.

  • To pan the camera from one photo to the next, we have to fix a point for a rotation axis known as nodal point, which lies at a point between the lens and the camera sensor and is different for each compact camera and for each combination body/objective in reflex cameras. The use of a tripod is also recommended and special elements known as rotulas, which allow the camera to be adjusted to be able to pan using the nodal point as the rotation axis.

Bearing in mind all of these factors, to obtain a cylindrical panograph it is suffice to stand the camera perpendicular to the floor, as level as possible and take the photos in a complete circle. Depending on the camera's angle of vision, we will need to take a number of photographs, normally between 8 to 16 images are enough to cover the 360º of a cylindrical panograph.

If you wish to carry out a spherical panograph, it is highly recommendable to use a lens known as fish eye, as in this case, only 3 to 8 photographs are necessary to cover the visible space around the area we are photographing.

2. Stitching the photographs (Stitching).

Once the photos have been taken it's necessary to join them to get the panographic finale, be it cylindrical or spherical. There are several software programs to do this job, correcting lens deformities, defects such as vignetting (darkening of the corners of the photo) and even the tone of the photos if they aren't matched (blending) The programs are available for both Mac and PC platforms. You can find a list of useful software on this site.

The end product of all these programs is varied, from interactive, Quicktime films to vrml documents. It is almost always necessary to retouch the final panograph (a cylindrical or equi-rectangular panoramic image), so our advice is to save the results in tiff format.

3. Retouching and adjusting panograph.

It's usually convenient to make a few adjustments to the panograph obtained from the previous steps, whether it is cylindrical or spherical. The most frequent retouches are the following:

  • Adjustment of curvature
  • Adjustment of levels
  • Retouching some areas of the stitching which have been displaced.

These retouches are carried out on the equi-rectangular images.

The most important retouch, if we want to make a complete spherical panograph, consists of eliminating the tripod which appears at the bottom of the photo. This is done on the lower image of the cubic projections obtained from the equi-rectangular image.

Converting the equi-rectangular image into a cubic projection

Example with and without tripod.

4. Creating a virtual tour (optional)

If you want your panograph to be seen on the web, you have various options. The most popular one is to convert the panograph into a Quicktime interactive film. In our case, we use Flash and HTML5 which reads the six images obtained from the equi-rectangular image of the cubic projections.

Useful links: