Monday, August 11, 2014

Photo Spheres on Google Maps

I am often surprised how few people know about photo spheres. 360º panoramas, they are ridiculously easy to create using the Android camera app, or with your own camera. There's even dedicate 360º cameras that will export to a photo sphere.

Even fewer people know that you can submit those photo spheres to Google Maps for use in Street View. Using Android, it's as easy as viewing the photo and sharing it with Google Maps. The sphere then loads into Google Maps Views and awaits moderation. While you're waiting, you can still share it with people. There's a convenient share button with a link and embed code. Here's one I took in Iceland just a few days ago. It's waiting for moderation, but can still be viewed.

In 1973 a US Navy DC3 went down on a beach in Iceland, and it's still there. I took two photo spheres of it, in addition to a number of other pictures. This is shared off Views. Once submitted, it's always available to you. Even if Google decides not to use it in Street View, you can still see it in Views, and even use it in the Google Maps API. Look at the iframe embed code, and find the panoid parameter. Use that as your "pano" property in your StreetViewPanoramaOptions object. Here's an example:


Tony Redhead said...

There may not be many people who know about Photospheres but there are a hell of a lot of people shooting them now! I started shooting panos back in the late 90's with a Coolpix camera and Ipix software and there weren't many of us around then. It's amazing to see the diversity of work being posted on Map Views and I love to randomly select different locations around the world. My only wish is that more people would provide information about the location itself. I've also posted a how-to on embedding Photospheres in your blog/webpage on my blog at

Andrew Leahy said...

Hi Mano, you may want to check the latlng on one of your DC3 photospheres. You've transported the wreck about 8km into the middle of a grassy paddock!?

Mano Marks said...

+andrew great catch! The other one had the correct position. I was able to edit it. GPS got wonky up in Iceland.