Five easy steps to publish a spherical panorama using Google Views


Some information on this post is outdated! Google Views has been migrated to Google Maps / Google Streeet View. Outdated information has been struck through.

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.


  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: Upload your Photo Sphere to Maps

There are several options available:

One of the easiest ways is to search for a place in Maps. When the place is found there is a section with photos. A small icon should show which says: Add a photo. Just click it, upload a Photo Sphere and you’re done!

One even easier way is to use the Street View App on Android or iOS

The following steps are mostly outdated (old workflow with Views), and are only here for reference purposes

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:



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

Related Posts
Panorama inside a telephone booth.
The Cathedral of Messina has been built in the 12th century. However it had to be rebuilt after a massive earth quake in 1908 und again after a fire in World War II.

This is a Pecha Kucha presentation about reprojecting equirectangular images.

This statue is located near the Cathedral of Messina. The cathedral has been built in the 12th century.

This article presents new versions of some Pixel Bender and Mathmap scripts with which you can apply a Droste effect to images. The changes to the older versions of the scripts are, that you are now able to use the same parameters on both scripting engines.

Participants of the PanoTools Meeting 2010 on the first evening at The Treasury.
This image shows a Droste type reprojected version of this panorama. It is the oldest shopping mall of The Netherlands.

This panorama shows a view from the terrace of the Roland Levinsky building.
The Maritime Museum has been established in 1873 by Prince Henry of the Netherlands. Sometimes it is also named after its founder: Prince Hendrik Museum. Prince Hendrik himself had a naval career.

The talk showcased the benefits of reprojecting equirectangular panoramas for static presentations. We have presented “simple” reprojections and also two–step reprojections using a series of transformations. An overview was given about the different available tools to reproject panoramas. Numerous “real life” examples were shown, including the original equirectangular image and possible reprojections.
Postbridge Telephone Booth
Cathedral of Messina – Nave
Reprojecting equirectangular images
Statue near Cathedral of Messina
Reprojecting equirectangular images for a printed presentation –
The Treasury Table Shot 1
Reprojected Oldest Shopping Mall of The Netherlands (Droste)
Plymouth University Roland Levinsky Café
Cranes in the Maritime Museum in Rotterdam; The
Reprojecting equirectangular images for a printed presentation

About markus

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15 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

  2. Pingback: PanoTools Meeting 2013 Messina Sicily Second Impression | 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

  6. mrB says:

    yo thanks for this post Markus! *thumbs up!*

  7. AYRTON says:

    THANKS Markus, I really appreciate your infos
    Without it I wouldn’t be able today to upload so easy :
    Thanks again
    Cheers from Rio

  8. AYRTON says:

    BTW: I have been uploading with 14000 x 7000 and 82% JPG compression

  9. Pawel says:

    Thank you for this post. I was wondering why my photospheres weren’t loaded as full size. Your article helped me to solve this problem.

  10. Hi,
    Thanks for sharing, but Google shuted down map view some time ago.
    Did you found any solution to continue publishing photoshpere on Gmaps ?


    • markus says:

      Hi Tom,

      basically it’s not that hard to publish a Photo Sphere with Maps:

      There are several options available:
      One of the easiest ways is to search for a place in Maps. When the place is found there is a section with photos. A small icon should show which says: Add a photo. Just click it, upload a Photo Sphere and you’re done!

      Prepare your Photo Sphere with the correct meta data beforehand!

      One even easier way is to use the Street View App on Android or iOS:

      Hope this helps!
      PanoTwin Markus

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