While working on a MMORPG, which is an online role playing game, I thought, wouldn’t it be great if we could travel online to real places in the real world and have a look around before physically going there?
So I thought about 360° panoramic views, a lot cheaper to produce than 3D and more authentic too, as they represent the actual places using photography. This was in 2005. I spoke about the idea with some former video game colleagues including Patrick Vauchez. and we decided to see if we could do it. Patrick had a descent digital SLR camera and so we created our first 360° panoramas. That was back in 2006 before Google streetview entered the scene.
We at first approached local authorities in Aquitaine who thought the idea wasn’t feasible, three months later we had a demo site running on a dongle. So we managed to raise some cash through a bank and Patrick and I started 360 CityScape in November 2008. We went on to produce virtual tours of Bordeaux and small towns nearby and launched our iPhone and iPad applications in 2010.
I love Paris and I really like this panorama with its video of Paris integrated in the decor, click on the full screen button to get the best view >>
I then ended up securing funding through the Region of Aquitaine to build a platform that allowed our panoramas to be ported onto third party websites. Pretty soon we had gone from zero to over 100 000 clicks per month. We built teams, made mistakes, had a few successes.
The websites and apps are still going and soon there will be Travel Guide eBooks featuring 360° vtours showcasing places of leisure, culture, gastronomy and accommodation.
This is a really cool panorama which was taken from the top of Saint Michel’s Bell Tower and offers a rare view over the rooftops of Bordeaux.