Five easy steps to publish a spherical panorama using Google Views

Preface

Google added a nice feature to their set of web based applications recently. Publishing geo located spherical panoramas (aka Photo Spheres) on Views.

Once these panoramas are published they can also be embedded in other web sites. This article explains how you can achieve this.

Prerequisites:

  1. A Google+ account (Get one here).
  2. An equirectangular panorama (or a full 360° cylindrical panorama)

Step1: Create an equirectangular image

Use your favourite stitching software to create an equirectangular image. I usually use PTGui for this purpose. But there are plenty of other solutions available:

Step2: Add Photo Sphere meta data to your panorama

When dealing with Google a spherical panorama is called a Photo Sphere. But in fact this is only just an equirectangular image containing special meta data tags embedded in the file. You find the official Photo Sphere meta data documentation here. Starting with Android Version 4.2 (Jelly Bean) mobile phones can be used to create them directly. When you are working with the conventional workflow of a panoramic photographer you have to add this information into the image manually. There are several ways possible to achieve this, the methods are covered in a separate post.

Step 3: Check your Google Plus default image settings

Important: Before you proceed to upload your images there are two settings you should check on your Google Plus settings:

Google+-Photo-Settings

Google+-Photo-Settings

I think the two most important settings you should check are:

  1. Upload my photos at full size to be checked ON. Otherwise your images are scaled down to a width of 2000 pixels.
  2. Auto-enhance should be switched OFF. Otherwise Google enhances the images automatically. This may be a good idea for crappy mobile phone images, but not for already perfectly created high quality equirectangulars!

Step 4: Publish your Photo Sphere to Maps Views

When your panorama has the required Photo Sphere meta information you can publish your panorama on Google Views. The first step to publish your panorama on Google Views is to upload it to your Google account. You do this using your Google Plus photos section

Google+ -Uploading Images

Google+ -Uploading Images

After the uploading process has finished you can control whether your image hsa been recognized as a Photo Sphere. This is the case when the Photo Sphere Symbl is shown on the image. This could look something like this:

Google Photo Sphere Icon

Google Photo Sphere Icon

When you don’t see the icon in the middle of your image something went wrong!

When you see the icon you can proceed to publish your panorama on Google Views. Open the homepage and search the little blue camera icon on the upper right corner LittleBlueCamera. Press it and you will be able to select one of your Photo Spheres uploaded to Google Plus. After confirming the selection the panorama will be added to your gallery. However it may take some time for it to show up. The panorma will also be published on Google Maps – after a review process

Step 5: Share or embed the finished panorama

For the final step you open the newly uploaded panorama on your Views gallery. On the bottom left corner you see an area containing a small map of the location of the panorama. Search for the share icon Share Symbol and press it. You’ll see a small window from which you can copy the required HTML iframe – code to embed the panorama on a web page.

Additional links

https://plus.google.com/117971837164857644538/posts/FDipsC8XeFQ

http://exsight360.com/blog/how-to-upload-non-android-360-panoramas-to-google-maps/

About markus

PanoTwin Markus → My Google+ Profile
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7 Responses to Five easy steps to publish a spherical panorama using Google Views

  1. Pingback: How to add mandatory Photo Sphere meta data to an equirectangular image | PanoTwins

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  4. Erik says:

    Hallo Markus,

    Thanks for this post and info. I use the setting as you describe but on the Views page the pano is really bad quality (its a sphere but really wobbly ). The original stiched photo is 8000 x 4000 and about 4 mb. I used the google tool to add the mandatory xmp data. Also tried the batch droplet. But the results are the same. Do you have some advice?

    Regards Erik

  5. AYRTON says:

    Hello Markus
    Thanks for this great post :-)
    one quick question;
    is there a maximum size in pixels that we can upload ???
    I’ve been trying with my panos done with the Nikon D800E around … 13.000 wide and it does not work :-(
    Any info on that ?
    THANKS again !!!!
    Cheers from Rio
    A

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