Russian photographer Sergey Semenov has taken the concept of virtual 360 degree tours to the next level with his latest 2D interactive image of Manhattan.
The image helped him win the best amateur gong at the International Pano Awards which hand out prizes for panoramic photography.
Such panoramic images are growing in influence in the online travel industry, Tourwrist having picked up the General Catalyst Awards for Travel Innovation and the DEMO Award for the Most Game-Changing Innovation at 2012 PhocusWright Travel Innovation Summit.
Semenov’s Manhattan image is made by stitching together individual shots taken from helicopter to give a detailed bird’s eye view of the city.
Viewers can swoop in and out of the city and then opt to click on links embedded within the image which take them to more close-up views of certain landmarks like Central Park, the Empire State Building and Fifth Avenue.
Information page links are also included taking the user to Wikipedia pages on certain areas of New York like Harlem and Upper West Side.
Semenov is working on a non-commercial project called AirPano which he says is on a “mission… to show the beauty of the world from the air to all people in a way they never seen before”.
The website already has over 250 panoramas of more than 70 places of interest around the world and plans to add more on a weekly basis.
The AirPano website says: “In comparison with traditional photography, where a viewer is limited with a framework of imprint, or in comparison with a video, where everything happens strictly in accordance with a scenario of director, in a sphere the viewer is transferred to the point of shooting and is at his/her own disposal: one can do everything he/she wants.
“If there is a big screen, the technology allows a viewer imagine himself/herself in the place where a sphere was shot: under water, inside a room or a microwave oven and even in the sky of New York City.”