Keith Robertson

Panoramic Photography

May 2017

Google Maps Evolves

Pano2VR, the programme I use to publish my Panoramas and Virtual Tours on my website has recently been updated to work with Google Maps. I accidentally discovered that with the click of one button I could publish all of my previous projects straight onto Google Maps.

I'd tried this ages ago, but it wasn't easy. Low quality material was ok, but my large files weren't. The only practical way was to upload files to my iPhone's camera roll and then use Google's iPhone app to upload them to Google's servers that host all of their map stuff. I also had to geotag the file before starting otherwise Google wouldn't know where it was and reject it. Once was enough, never again!!

What was strange was I kept getting emails from Google saying my single panorama was very popular and had received over a 1000 visits…. Interesting… So my thinking started to change. Rather than thinking Google were freeloading corporate bullies wanting all of my high-quality content for free I could think of them as 'free hosting webspace' for my material. With the added advantage that the images would be still on their servers when I was long-gone….

So I'm now very interested in seeing how this develops.

Google used to have a number of affiliation programmes with loads of rules and things which were very off-putting.

Now it's very simple. Upload a panorama and it gets approved after a few days. Has to be of a certain quality, not too many logos, etc. Once you have 50 approved panoramas you become a 'Google Street View Trusted Photographer'. This was simple for me as I was able to upload a number of my previous projects with one click in the new button in Pano2VR.

I've been able to link some of my 'commercial' tours to the businesses' own Google account so it appears when searched for in Google or Google Maps. All very interesting.

Google has basically opened up their API to all and sundry. Garden Gnome who make Pano2VR are scrambling to add all sorts of bits and pieces to the system to work with what Google will let them. it's all very dynamic too. The API is changing and being added to all the time. Once the changes settle down the developers have to try and update their software.

So, exciting times ahead.