Hervey Bay Esplanade – A Virtual Tour

My dad has lived in Hervey Bay for more than 20 years, so I manage to get to “visit” several times a year and feel fairly connected to the area. One of the things I Love about Hervey Bay is “The Esplanade” – a 16km stretch of road along the waterfront, Gatakers Bay in the north-west to Urangan Boat Harbour in the south-east – with plenty of Parks, Piers, Cafes and Restaurants in between and spanning the ‘suburbs’ of Urangan, Shelly Beach, Torquay, Scarness, Pialba and Point Vernon.

I decided that a Virtual Tour – incorporating Aerial 360° panoramas as well as traditional panospheres, would be an ideal way to showcase The Esplanade – as well as showing some of the amazing capabilities a Standalone Virtual Tour has to offer the Tourism Industry.

On a recent (Easter 2019) visit, I did a series of photoshoots, and despite the weather not being ideal (windy and sporadic showers), over a few days, I managed to get enough decent photos to create the following virtual tour.

See esplanade.panoview.com.au for Full Screen version

This tour is not yet complete (there are a number of extra aerial panospheres I would like to do) and includes some photos taken on overcast days (which should probably be re-shot in beautiful sunny conditions), but it does, I think, provide an interesting, innovative, interactive and unique insight into the Hervey Bay Esplanade and what it has to offer.

Curiocity Brisbane – Interactive Virtual Tour

Curiocity Brisbane – a series of science, art and technology “experiences” spanning the Brisbane River will be on display for 20 days (15 March to 3rd April 2019).

One-of-a-kind installations, pop-ups and interactive spaces crafted by local and international artists, technicians and makers will be available for everyone to explore.

From New Farm Park, under the Story Bridge, right through to Brisbane’s South Bank, 16 different experiences will be operating.

The theme of this event is for a fully immersive, sensory experience for everyone, and how better can this be achieved than through an interactive Virtual Tour ??

An Unofficial Virtual Tour

Despite the obvious synchronicity between a Virtual Tour and the Curiocity Brisbane event, a Virtual Tour was not unfortunately offered (or even considered ??) as one of the ways Curiocity Brisbane could be experienced. I have therefore taken it upon myself to create and publish my own virtual tour – making these experiences available, not just in Brisbane, but also throughout, Queensland, Australia and the whole world (without actually having to visit the Brisbane CBD at all).

This is also an awesome project to showcase some of the more sophisticated capabilities of a Standalone Virtual Tour.

Here is the current version of my Curiocity Brisbane Virtual Tour

See curiocity.panoview.com.au for Full Screen version

Work in Progress

Note: this virtual tour could obviously only be photographed and therefore created once the individual installations were in place (which didn’t actually happen until after 15 March)… to add to the problems the first few days of the event were very wet and stormy (raindrops and fisheye lenses just don’t play nicely together), so this Tour is a Work In Progress… here is a brief update of the process/progress :

  • 14 March – Wet and Overcast – visited Story Bridge sites (Astronauts, Da Vinci’s Dream, Moon Drops) – installations still under construction. Visited Howard Smith Wharf (Something Fishy) – photographed and shot an Aerial 360
  • 15 March – Wet and Overcast – photographed Panospheres for Astronauts, Da Vinci’s Dream, Moon Drops, SuperNova. Too wet for Aerial Panos
  • 16- 18 March – Processed Panos, used some existing Aerial 360s and published 1st draft to curiocity.panoview.com.au
  • 19 March – 1st Sunny day for a week 🙂 – Photographed Panos for Fibonacci Spiral, Scatter (also recorded audio), Dynamo, Shadowgram, Tag It, Sky Brisbane, 2 x Aerial 360s for South Bank, and various Aerial Videos
  • 20 March – Contacted the Curiocity team to let them know what I was doing with the Virtual Tour to see if they may be interested in using it in some way to promote the Curiocity Brisbane event.
  • 21 March – heard back from a 3rd party Marketing Agency (apparently associated with Curiocity Brisbane marketing). They don’t seem interested in using the Virtual Tour, and actually requested (very nicely) that I remove Curiocity branding, Logos and references from it (which I will do in the next release). An unexpected response … seems they are more interested in “protecting” the brand then they are in promoting the event 🙂
  • 22 March – Version 2 published. This version includes :
    • Panospheres for Fibonacci Spiral, Dynamo, Scatter, Shadowgram, Tag It & Sky Brisbane
    • Updated Aerial and (sunny day) panospheres for Da Vincis’ Dream, Moon Drops and Astronauts
    • Added Splash Screen, with instructions
    • Improved and extended Menu (for mobile)
    • Removed Curiocity Branding and Links
  • 22 March – Re-shot Something Fishy (sunny) and HS Wharves Aerial. Shot Wave Opus IV (No audio because it was not working). Republished VT with Direct Node Access (can now link via URL to any node) and also added Event Tracking to provide analytics.
  • 26 March – New version uploaded – Added Waves Opus IV, Added some Night panospheres (and ability to switch between day/night for certain modes) – Added Something Fishy (Night), Waves Opus IV (night) and added Audio to Scatter
  • 30 March – New version uploaded – Changed Starting Point (to Sunny Story Bridge & Brisbane Cityscape), Changed Navigation Icons (Added Home Icon, Added Menu to top left, Moved Map Icon to bottom left), Added popup Video to Davinci’s Dream (see below).

If you’d like to find out how a Virtual Tour could be crafted
to showcase your event, please give Andy a call
on 0403 023 223 or Contact Us

Virtual Tours for Retirement Villages

With Australia’s aging population, it is unsurprising that Aged Care is a rapidly growing industry.  There is an increasing array of accommodation and service options available to retirees, with more and more providers offering a diversity of different facilities including :

  • Retirement Villages
  • Over 50s Resorts
  • Aged Care Centers
  • Nursing Homes

It is becoming increasingly challenging for Aged Care providers to “stand out from the crowd” and effectively promote and market their offerings.

 

Why a Virtual Tour ?

For a whole lot of reasons, Virtual Tours are a fantastic way to showcase Aged Care facilities to potential residents (and their families).  Some of the advantages a Virtual Tour has over traditional marketing strategies include :

  • Innovative – a Virtual Tour is a unique and innovative way for potential resident to “experience” and interact with your facilities
  • Multi Use – there are many ways your Virtual Tour can be used.  It can be embedded into a Website, posted onto Social Media, emailed as a link, or experienced via a Virtual Reality (VR) Headset
  • Reusable – once you have a Virtual Tour setup, it can be used and re-used multiple times… Only needing refreshing/updating if you have a significant change in the physical appearence or layout of your facility
  • Easy Access – a Virtual Tour can be available to anyone with Internet Access.  Potential residents do not have to physically visit your location to get a taste of the facilities you offer.  This is ideal for Remote, Interstate or even International prospects
  • Ease of Use – most people find using and navigating a Virtual Tour fairly intuitive and are able to use it with little or no instruction
  • Time to Market – typically we would be able to create and publish your Virtual Tour within 7-10 days of the photoshoot (large or very sophisticated VTs may take a little longer)
  • Emotional Attachment – because of the interactive process involved in undertaking a  Virtual Tour, and the “control” the user has over their experience, it naturally becomes a more emotional experience than is possible with photos or video (which offer very little in the way of participation).
  • Extra Information – a Virtual Tour can include hotspots and extra functionality to help showcase your facility, such as :
    • Your Branding/Logo
    • Links to a website
    • “Call Now” Link to directly dial a phone number
    • Menu system / Navigation
    • Hotspots with popup Information, Photos or Video
    • Background Sound
    • and more…

 Virtual Tour Options

There are a variety of different types of Virtual Tours and associated available for Aged Care facility providers, at a range of costs and offering a variety of different features

Google Virtual Tour

This types of tour is probably the one that is most widely noticed…. because it is accessible directly from Google Search / Google Maps, and can also be embedded into a website, sent as a link, or added into social media.  It is the simplest Virtual Tour to setup and publish, but has relatively limited features. Examples :

Standalone Virtual Tour

Standalone Virtual Tours are the most popular style of VTs for the Aged Care/Retirement Industry because they allow you to include Logo/Branding information and offer a wide variety of features and functionality, including Hotspots, Menu Navigation, Image/Video Popups, Background Audio, Auto Rotation… and more… Examples :

Individual 360° Panospheres

An Individual 360° Panosphere is a single interactive image – usually published to Google Maps.  It doesn’t include navigation/walkthrough capabilities or fancy features, but can be added to Google Maps, embedded into your website, or posted to social media. Examples :

Street View Tours

If your facility includes public road access, then it will (probably) eventually be covered by Googles Street View… However you are likely to be waiting years before the Street View Car is scheduled to visit your development.  We can shoot and publish (to Google Maps) Street View Tours which are available from Google Maps much sooner without having to wait for Google). Examples :

Aerial 360° Panosphere

Like an Individual 360° Panosphere, an Aerial Panosphere is a single interactive image, but it provides an aerial perspective (taken from a drone) and provides a great way to showcase the location/community Examples :

VR Headsets

All Virtual Tours can be viewed from a mobile device or a desktop, however, it is also possible to view most (sometimes with extra customisation) via a Virtual Reality Headset such as the Oculus Go (a Standalone VR Headset with excellent image quality).  This is a much more immersive experience and is a fantastic way to showcase your facility at Expos or Trade Shows.

What About Costs?

Prices for a 360° Photo or Virtual Tour to showcase your Retirement Facility, start from as little as $120 for an Individual Photosphere ranging up to several thousand dollars for a large sophisticated Standalone Virtual Tour.

If you’d like to discuss how we can help you create a Virtual Tour to promote your Aged Care Facility, give Andy a call on 0403 023 223 or ContactUs.

Using Panoramic Photos & Aerial Photo/Video to Showcase a Revegetation Project

Clever use of photography can be very effective in showcasing a wide variety of locations.  In this quick example we have used aerial and ground based panoramic photos and some basic aerial video to display the results of a revegetation project at Woodlands St, Carindale.

Aerial Photos

Panosphere

Aerial Panoramic Photo

Aerial Video

Promote Your Business with Aerial Photos and Video

You have probably noticed an increased use of aerial photography and video in the media …. These days you can’t watch TV for 10 minutes without spotting some aerial footage ….

The reason for this issimpel … IT WORKS… Aerial Photos and Video provide an innovative and unusual perspective.. They allow people to see a location from an angle that they are not used to, and it captures their attention.

With recent improvements in drone technology, this type of footage is easier and cheaper to create then ever before, so business owners are finding it much more affordable.

There are various type of aerial photography and video which may useful to help promote your business.  Below is a brief outline of the main types of aerial footage that might be useful… along with some examples.

Aerial Photos

Aerial Photos provide a different view of your business to capture the attention of potential new customers.

Aerial 360° Photospheres

Aerial Panospheres can be used as a standalone interactive photo in their own right, or incorporated into a Virtual Tour.  They can be embedded into a website, published on social media, or emailedt as a link.

Aerial Video

Video taken from the air provides a unique perspective on your business.

 

Aerial Timelapse

A timelapse is an great way to showcase your location over time…it highlights changes that may not be obvious in a standard photo or even video.  An aerail timelapse would typically be taken from an elevated position (sometimes directly overhead), but can also be done as an Aerial Hyperlapse (where the camera moves over time – creating a speeded up video effect).

If you’d like to find out more about Business Photos can help you
use aerial photography to promote your business,
please call Andy on 0403 023 223 or Contact Us.

How to Embed a Virtual Tour into WordPress Website

You can find out How to Embed a Google Virtual Tour onto your Website in a post that I created some time ago… but this post focuses on how to embed a Standalone Virtual Tour to your website.

A Standalone Virtual Tour could have been created by a variety of different methods and could be hosted pretty much anywhere … but you should be able to access any standalone tour via a URL of some description.

The best way for you to embed a standalone virtual tour into a WordPress website is pretty straightforward using  a simple Iframe.

Using an IFrame

An IFrame (Inline Frame) is simply an HTML document (web page) embedded inside another HTML document on a website. It uses HTML code in the  following form :

<iframe src="WebsiteURL" width="300" height="150"></iframe>

… where WebsiteURL is the full URL of the embedded web page.

You also are able to specify the Width and Height of the Iframe.

In a WordPress website, if you simply paste the above code into the “Visual” Editor view it will not work… you need to switch to “Text View” before you paste it in, and then switch to Visual View to see how it behaves.

So… to embed the Virtual Tour at  https://kangaroopoint.panoview.com.au  into a 600 x 300 pixel “Frame” within this page…. I  simply use the following code :

<iframe src="https://kangaroopoint.panoview.com.au" width="600" height="300"></iframe>

as follows :

How to Embed a Google Virtual Tour into a Facebook Page

Once a Google Virtual Tour has been published, it can be accessed direct from Google Search or Google Maps, but can also be used in a variety of other ways… You can send links to any view of a Google Virtual Tour, or Embed the tour into your website.  This post provides simple instruction on how you can embed a Google Virtual Tour into a Facebook Page.

First you need to Install a special App called Woobox – this allows you to create a Tab on your preferred Facebook page and insert HTML code into to.  To achieve this, Login to your Facebook account, navigate to the Woobox App and install it by clicking on the Install Page Tab link.

Then select which Facebook Page you would like to add the Tab to  and click on the Add Page Tab Button


After you click the  “Add Page Tab” button, you then you need to authorize the tab application.

Now open a new browser window and go to your Google Virtual Tour in Google Maps (this is important because only Google Maps now includes the embed option). Navigate to the place in the tour you want to start from.  Click on the “three dots” icon in the top left corner and select the “Sher or embed image” option… Click the “Embed Image” Tab; Set the custom width/height to 800 x 600 and Copy the embed code.

Now go back to your Facebook tab page and paste the code from your Google Maps embed into your Woobox custom facebook tab.  Save the settings, then go to “Tab Settings” to give the Tab a suitable title.

That’s it! Visit your facebook page and view your tab. This is what is should look like: Virtual Tour Examples

 

 

 

How to Embed a Google Virtual Tour onto your Website

Once your Google Virtual Tour has been published, it will be available via Google Search and Google Maps… but you can also embed it into your website.

This very simple process is outlined below. Most website owners can probably do this themselves (particularly if your site is a WordPress site), but if you are having trouble, simply pass the link to this post onto your web developer.

Step 1 – Find your listing on Google Maps

First go to Google Maps, search for your business.  It is IMPORTANT that you use Google Maps, because accessing the Tour direct form Google Search does not offer the share/embed capabilities that are provided by Google Maps.

Then click on one of the 360° Panosphere links in the left column (these are associated with the “Storefront” and “Inside Starting Point” views of your tour) to view your Virtual Tour.

embed-google-virtual-tour-into-website-step-1

 

Step 2 – Select the “View” you Want

You can embed ANY view as the starting point of your Virtual Tour into your website. Navigate to the Area you want to use, change direction and zoom level until you get the view you want to use as the starting point in your website.  The click on the 3 dots in the top left :

embed-google-virtual-tour-into-website-step-2

Step 3 – Get Embed Code

Select the “Share or embed image option”

share-or-embed-image

Select the “Embed Image” Tab and then choose the size you want to embedded view to be – Small (400×300), Medium (600×450) or Large (800×600)…  You can also choose a Custom Size (as per the example below) and enter whatever dimensions that you want to use on your website.

Then select and copy (Ctrl C) the HTML embed code (it start with <iframe src and ends with </iframe>)

embed-google-virtual-tour-into-website-step-3

Step 4 – Add the Embed Code to your Website

Edit the page where you want to add the virtual tour into…and Paste the embed code into the html of the page on your website where you’d like your virtual tour to show The process will vary depending on how your website has been created (you may need to get advice from your web developer).

If you are using WordPress, make sure that you paste the code in “Text” mode not “Visual” mode or it will not work.

Step 5 – Save and Check the Page

Save the change and update the page (again thios process will depend on how your site is created).  Then go to the page and your Virtual Tour should be embedded within your website.

Google My Business – New and Improved

google-my-businessGoogle announced today a new design update for the Google My Business portal.

My Business is the tool that business owners use to manage and update their Google Business Page.  My Business is a Free tool and should be used by ALL businesses because it allows you to keep up to date the business details that are displayed in “The Knowledge” section of Google search results.  If you don’t have a business page – you probably won’t get anything displayed in this important area of the Google search and Google maps services.

My Business Makeover

My Business navigation has been updated to make it easier to access the primary features, and more straightforward to access multiple locations if you use Google My Business Locations.

You’ll see tabs for editing, photos, insights, and reviews. These tabs provide quick access to the most common user actions.

Merchants with multiple locations or Google+ brand pages will see an updated management experience with two tabs: one for “Locations” and another for Google+ “Brand Pages” where you can view your listings or pages in either a card and a list format. “Contact support” options are also now more prominent so you can find the answers to your questions faster.

The change was announced today – and is expected to roll out world wide soon.

 

Google Business Views to become Street View | Trusted

thumb-trusted-photographerThe long anticipated merger between the original Google Business Views program and Street View is nearly upon us…

Come September 3rd 2015, Google Business Views will officially become a part of the Google’s Street View program, and will be rebranded as “Street View | Trusted“.

The new Trusted program is expect to simplify the process of taking and publishing Panoramas and Virtual Tours to Google Maps.  It also makes the publication process accessible to everyone – although qualified and experienced photographers can still attain a “Certified” status.