Wednesday, September 05, 2007

Microsoft Photosynth Promises a Truly Immersive Experience

Microsoft's Photosynth

Photosynth is a remarkable product that is being developed by Microsoft in their Live Labs. It can merge hundreds of photos from many different angles to create a truly incredible, fluid, visual experience. I found its navigation to be extremely easy and flexible.

I can only imagine what capabilities this might provide if they merge it with Virtual Earth. This may provide a truly immersive experience at many different scales. Users could zoom from the macro to micro in an instance. It appears to be able to server an enormous amount of data very quickly.

It looks like Photosynth is part of a larger effort to change how we can visually interact with our limited monitors (check out Seadragon). This promises to deliver some very exciting results in the not to distant future for the geo-community.
You can download Photosynthes from the Live Lab website. There are also a couple of good videos to watch at the Live Lab site, and on at TED.

Flight Simulator Built into Google Earth 4.2

A friend pointed out to me today that there is a hidden feature in the new Google Earth 4.2 release. If you click on the Earth and hit ctrl+alt+a, you will get a dialog box for a flight simulation mode in Google Earth flying either an F-16 or an SR22 aircraft. You can also select to start from an airfield, or from your current point of view. A heads-up display appears as soon as you get into the flight mode.

After you have entered this mode for the first time, you will be able to access it from the Tools menu in Google Earth.

I do not have a joystick on my computer, and the control seem to be a bit touchy, but this is very interesting as a hidden feature. Keep your fingers crossed that they keep working on this and turn it into something useful.

Click Ctrl + Alt + A after clicking on the globe to activate. Once activated, Enter Flight Mode is available from the Google Earth Tools menu

Fly around with a Heads up Display.