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billy_d_goat
Jan 5, 2006, 02:44 PM
Hey Everyone! The Redbug Technologies team (which I am part of) is sponsoring a Virtual Tour Contest. Winners get free copies of Mapwing Creator Pro for creating virtual tours. You can learn more by visiting http://www.redbugtech.com/contest/ . I think there could be some really nice submissions! If you have any questions, feel free to let me know... :D



Chip NoVaMac
Jan 5, 2006, 08:08 PM
While your post borders on SPAM, thanks for the heads up on this software. Pricey IMO, but a neat idea.

Would love to see a limited version of this done for .Mac accounts.

cr2sh
Jan 5, 2006, 09:47 PM
I would make some really mean comment about how horrible that software is.

How I've seen grad students write better hot-linking software in a quarter.

But I won't.

But it is.

billy_d_goat
Jan 5, 2006, 09:52 PM
I would make some really mean comment about how horrible that software is.

How I've seen grad students write better hot-linking software in a quarter.

But I won't.

But it is.


Those must be some crazy coding grad students. Care to describe your beef with the software?

Cooknn
Jan 5, 2006, 09:52 PM
I think that the die hard pano group will most likely stay with Quicktime - as will I. There are also a lot of tour providers that prefer Java or Flash. Of course there are several ways to get to any of those formats, but the bottom line is this would be another plug-in that the end user will need to install. Not sure what this new program brings to the table that the other format's don't already offer...

cr2sh
Jan 5, 2006, 10:13 PM
Those must be some crazy coding grad students. Care to describe your beef with the software?

It's just a bunch of hot links.

The transitions go from one image to another.

That's it.

http://geoimages.berkeley.edu/wwp605/map/detail/tile_-105_50_BrandonRowell_.html

There are a handful of software programs out there that create a much more impressive looking product.. that's cost half of what they're asking.

billy_d_goat
Jan 5, 2006, 10:16 PM
...but the bottom line is this would be another plug-in that the end user will need to install. Not sure what this new program brings to the table that the other format's don't already offer...

Actually, Mapwing doesn't require any additional plug-ins for the end user beyond Flash. The nice thing too is that this same tour file can be opened into Mapwing Viewer (which is a download) and viewed at full screen using OpenGL. I would argue that Mapwing's biggest advantage is the simplicity of tour creation. The format also offers quick tour downloads, smooth transitions, and an integrated map. You can build massive tours a lot faster than traditional pano solutions. This page (http://www.mapwing.com) will tell you a lot more if you are interested.

There is even a tour of Apple's Campus (http://www.redbugtech.com/tours.html) on this page. Kinda cool. :D

cr2sh
Jan 5, 2006, 10:22 PM
Kinda cool. :D

Again, I can look at the software and see what it is. My point is, I'm not impressed. It's a dissapointing final product.

A virtual tour should be more than a map overview, and a bunch of single images that just fade from one to the other. That's not virtual... if the tour had 10x the images.. and it looked like you were actually going from one location to another.. BANG... it'd be a virtual tour.

Now, you just jump.. from one spot... to another spot... to another spot and the geographic relationship between them is not expressed in any way more than a map over view.

That's not impressive. At all.

Cooknn
Jan 5, 2006, 10:24 PM
I would argue that Mapwing's biggest advantage is the simplicity of tour creation. The format also offers quick tour downloads, smooth transitions, and an integrated map.You don't do 360's with this do you? This isn't what I thought it was. You take still photo's and create hot links between them, correct? Not really my definition of a virtual tour - but then again I'm pretty partial to 360 panorama's ;)

billy_d_goat
Jan 5, 2006, 10:36 PM
It's just a bunch of hot links.

The transitions go from one image to another.

That's it.

http://geoimages.berkeley.edu/wwp605/map/detail/tile_-105_50_BrandonRowell_.html

There are a handful of software programs out there that create a much more impressive looking product.. that's cost half of what they're asking.


I think "impressive" is kind of relative here. Panos on a map are nice, but where is the sense of spatial movement? That is one thing that makes Mapwing a bit different. One gets a sense of space "walking" through a tour, not just a single 360º location.

That said, I have seen some really well done virtual tours out there, but I'm going to guess that they are custom solutions built from the ground up using products like Flash Professional. Tours like http://www.explore-kew-gardens.net are nice in my opinion, but it takes a lot of time and money to build something like that. Mapwing can put together something similar for a lot less hassle.

Now, you just jump.. from one spot... to another spot... to another spot and the geographic relationship between them is not expressed in any way more than a map over view.


Doesn't this describe your virtual tour link as well? At least the Mapwing system allows a smooth forward dissolve between locations.

billy_d_goat
Jan 5, 2006, 10:45 PM
You don't do 360's with this do you? This isn't what I thought it was. You take still photo's and create hot links between them, correct? Not really my definition of a virtual tour - but then again I'm pretty partial to 360 panorama's ;)

Right, Mapwing isn't 360 panos. It is 4 images per location approximating a 360 view. Points can then be hooked together. Honestly, as I just posted above, I think virtual tours are more about spatial movement than a perfect 360 view. In my opinion, a panorama does not equal a virtual tour. Also, this system brings down the entry level for virtual tours. You can use almost any digital camera/lens and you don't need a special tripod. But, I do understand that there is a whole group of individuals that are heavily into panoramas and this type of system doesn't appeal to them.

cr2sh
Jan 5, 2006, 10:56 PM
I think "impressive" is kind of relative here. Panos on a map are nice, but where is the sense of spatial movement? That is one thing that makes Mapwing a bit different. One gets a sense of space "walking" through a tour, not just a single 360º location.

Check out this (http://www.listing360.com/205004107/picturepath.html)VR tour. You're telling me that this software creates a better sense of spatial movement than that?

The software suite it takes to make this is like $140. The hardware it takes to get something of this high of quality is a price issue... but I'd argue pretty much anyone with a tripod an a digital camera can get pretty good results as well.

(gives the big thumbs up to cooknn) :) hope you don't mind.

It'd be easy to add a floor layout diagram, and with each link change the graphic to indicate location. I've even seen software that will show you what direction you're looking.

Chip NoVaMac
Jan 5, 2006, 11:06 PM
Let me add some more comments.

I think the basis of this program is good.

There are those of us that don't want to get into "panoramas". and what it requires.

I can see this as more of an adware or license ware program.

Would I pay $300 for this program, no way!

If it were offered as an added value on .Mac - I might do it.

Otherwise I peg the price more at $50-75.

billy_d_goat
Jan 6, 2006, 12:11 AM
Well, I guess it just comes down to two main issues. How much time and money do you want to spend building a tour, and what is the most appropriate style for a tour?

As for time and money, I believe Mapwing wins out. I've built hundred point tours in a week. This includes shooting them too. How many other tour formats are taking on projects that big? Then, what about the end product? Java applet, proprietary plugin, quicktime, the average user hates downloading more stuff. We on Macs are spoiled as we have wonderfully integrated quicktime. Ever try that on XP? Try a 30meg download. That is totally unfair for the end user, in my opinion, just to look at a tour.

Also, my experience has been that while photographers and purists like panoramas, many consumers find them frustrating and disorienting. The biggest complaint I have gotten about panos is the spinning navigation coupled with the distorted image. People complain it makes them dizzy. Now, panos can be done right, but at what cost to the creator and the end user? I'm not saying Mapwing is the be all, end all of VR and VTs. I just don't understand why everyone gets so hung up on panos, when many people really don't like them.

As for price, well, I guess it comes down to what your time is worth. The sooner I can complete a tour, the sooner the client sees results, and the sooner I get paid. For what it is worth, there is a company in Mendocino using Mapwing to cataloge the entire town, then sell advertising and integration to each business. http://walkmendocino.com/ I'm not sure if they were able to take on something like this before Mapwing.

Chip NoVaMac
Jan 6, 2006, 12:42 AM
Right, Mapwing isn't 360 panos. It is 4 images per location approximating a 360 view. Points can then be hooked together. Honestly, as I just posted above, I think virtual tours are more about spatial movement than a perfect 360 view. In my opinion, a panorama does not equal a virtual tour. Also, this system brings down the entry level for virtual tours. You can use almost any digital camera/lens and you don't need a special tripod. But, I do understand that there is a whole group of individuals that are heavily into panoramas and this type of system doesn't appeal to them.


And for what this software does, I might be interested at the right price.

From what I have seen of the software, this is more for the "basic" user, rather than the advanced user. Meaning that advanced users would want more of a 360 degree pano.

I see this software as a more basic piece, that would allow those of us some capability to do a walking tour of the places we love or discover.

For free, or at a cost of $50 I might spend the time to make "tours" worthwhile.

I really like this idea. But it seems to be more like an idea that work better under .Mac as a value add.

In the end I need some reason to take the time in my general travel to make this work.

Igor Polk
Sep 20, 2006, 10:39 PM
Well, Mapwing is not the only one, right Mapwings?

Here is my site with a custom Virtual Tours: San Francisco, Las Vegas, even in Stereo..

Take a look:

http://www.virtuar.com/click.htm

I share your dissapointement with what was done to a "virtual tour" term. We should do something about it: it delutes the meaning and our job with it.

Igor Polk