When Google StreetView first came into existence a couple of years ago, I remember watching a tech show featuring the very first glimpses of a set of downtown streetscapes of some US city captured by mobile cameras. Immediately, the StreetView added another ‘tool’ for architectural thesis projects in providing examples (good and bad!) of streetscapes from around the world, as easy as Apple+Shift+4! More and more streetscapes have been captured since and taking a screencapture from StreetView has become second nature.
Google and Bing also provide ‘Bird’s Eye’ giving oblique views from the air. These have been particularly useful as underlays to the creation of imaginary city-scape montages with the help of our good ol’ friends at Adobe! However, these ‘bird’s eye’ views are quite static and lack the panoramic, almost real-time nature that StreetView gives.
Not for the faint-hearted and vertigo sufferers, this site now gives an alternative view of cities and great landmarks, from the air. This is a fantastic site that saves you the hassle and money of renting a chopper for a couple of hours and lets you hover around the planet’s greatest sights. All assuming one has a good internet connection that is!
The site has been up and running for over 2 years and showcases the tireless (and sometimes risky!) work of some Russian enthusiasts, having shot in approximately 70 locations around the world. These include Las Vegas, Los Angeles, Miami, Hong Kong, Giza, Dubai, Amsterdam, the Grand Canyons and even the Maldives sea floor!
AirPano has been successful enough that it is now featured in Google Earth.
Looking forward to more cities being recorded, here are some screenshots from the site in the meantime (although a visit to airpano.com is highly recommended to get the full experience!)