Virtual Earth gets 3D Photosynth views

The move allows businesses or government agencies to provide virtual tours of locations displayed online with 360-degree views.

“The integration of Photosynth into Virtual Earth marks an important step in enabling businesses to use Photosynth in a relevant, customer-friendly way,” said Microsoft Mapping and Local Search general manager Jeff Kelisky.

“Our Virtual Earth partners have great tools for creating, sharing, viewing and embedding synths across multiple platforms, and building engaging experiences.”

US space agency NASA and British tourism business VisitBrighton put Microsoft’s new Virtual Earth offering to work prior to the public launch.

“This stunning collection of photographs using Microsoft Photosynth … technology provides people around the world with an exciting new way to explore the International Space Station,” said NASA Ames Research Center director Pete Worden.

“This collaboration with Microsoft offers the public the opportunity to participate in future exploration using this innovative technology.”

VisitBrighton is using Virtual Earth 3D imagery to entice tourists with displays of the city’s attractions.

Photosynth can be used for immersive virtual tours of real estate for sale as well as letting people interactively browse aisles of stores presented at Virtual Earth, according to Microsoft.

Photosynth software analyzes digital photographs and generates 3D models by “stitching” the photos together to create seamless views. These models, dubbed “synths,” are viewed using Microsoft’s Silverlight technology.

“With the integration of Photosynth into Virtual Earth customers will be able to create detailed 3-D views of anything from places to products and from hotels to homes,” Microsoft said.

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Virtual Earth gets 3D Photosynth views