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Virtual Tours with Photosynth

Photosynth is a Microsoft technology preview that creates 3D spaces from a bunch of photographs of the same place. Here’s a screenshot of the application in the space it’s constructed from dozens of photographs of the Piazza San Marco in Venice:

A 3D space showing a photograph of the tower with pointillistic representations of the rest of the piazza.

In the live application you can move around and highlight different photos taken from all sorts of angles. Check out the screencast if you’re hesitant about installing an ActiveX control on your computer.

I can see using this technology to reconstruct highly photographed places like Jerusalem in 3D. It’s not quite as good as building your own virtual-reality model of Jerusalem, but it’s a lot easier. Consider that flickr has about 9200 photos tagged “Jerusalem” under a Creative Commons license, and you can imagine the possibilities.

I look forward to being able to upload your own (or others’) photos and have the application create a space for you. Right now you can only use predefined photo collections.

Via Digital Media Minute.

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