Figure 1. Linear
presentation of a circular panorama (old panoramic photographs on paper
or a large canvas, rectangular images on a computer screen).
Figure 2. The principle
of an infinite rotation presentation of a circular panorama (circular
room or a computer screen and panorama viewer).
Figure 3. Warsaw
1873 circular panorama in Flash 6.
panoramas in dynamic views
of taking a circular series of photos from a single focal point,
in order to show broad views, originated in the mid-19th Century.
These sets of photographs were often joined together into a single
panoramic image. Although they precisely document the surrounding
view, spatial understanding of the landscape, angular locations
of objects in the field of view, and mutual distances between these
objects, are difficult to perceive and compare. This is obvious,
if we recall the fact, that our immediate visual recognition of
surrounding space is determined by an ocular, sequential scan (by
turnig our head around), with an active field of view limited to
approx. 70 degrees.
is much easier to acquire spatial information when playing a forward-backward
a video clip, recorded moving camera around a vertical axis on a
tripod, or when scanning the panorama leftward-rightward through
an observation window (see Figure 1), than to acquire spatial information
encompassed by a very broad panorama pieced together from a series
of photos and printed on paper, or by a very broad, panoramic painting
on a large canvas. For such panoramas it became natural to present
them on surfaces surrounding the visitors.
The next step
toward facilitation of perception is displaying the panorama interactively
on a computer screen (see Figure 2), with the help of suitable viewer-software,
such as a Java applet for low resolution panoramas, or
Shockwave or Quick Time
application for high resolution panoramas. These viewers allow infinite
rotation in both horizontal directions, zooming in, and upward and
downward tilting in the vertical boundaries of the panorma. Such
a tool makes the whole perception process more intuitive and efficient,
especially in the case of very wide, or circular (360 degree), panoramic
photographs. The mapping process in our mind here is quite similar
to what we use in the real environment. In this way we can learn
more from old panoramas than our predecessors, who had to take in
entire panoramas at a single glance.
The old panoramas,
in their classic form, are present on the Internet. In our pilot
project 2001, we converted and displayed in this way 7 panoramas,
among them, 2 all-around panoramas from Internet directory of old
panoramic photographies of Library of Congress. They have undergone
basic retouching in order to reduce optical noise. Due to the low
resolution, a Java viewer was chosen. In similar way, a circular
panorama of Warsaw, dated from 1873 and archived at the National
Museum in Warsaw, was first displayed with this technique in August
2002, using both PTviewer and Quick Time plugin. Web resolutions
examples are available at the url: www.eurofresh.se/history/ and