Virtualizing Balham

Last year I saw a online presentation from the TED conference about a Microsoft Labs project called Photosynth. When I saw the lecture I thought it was probably the most interesting thing I’ve seen come out of Microsoft in ages. This technology really impressed me as it gives anyone the ability to create a pseudo 3D image map of any space as long as you had enough pictures to generate it.

So now over a year after I first saw it Microsoft have released a version where anyone can create and upload their own Photosynth (I’m not too sure I like the name) and early this wet August Sunday morning I went out and give it a go near my local station. Anyone can view it providing that they’re using Windows preferably with IE7 or Firefox3 (no mac support yet, so I had to use vmware to view and create this – mac support is in the works apparently?!?).

After it finally generated and uploaded to the PhotoSynth website I was fairly happy with my results for a first try, but I wish I’d taken more photos from more points and from different distances to really show what I think this technology can do. Then again I did take over 120 photos, but I reckon to do it well I might need 4 or 5 times that! A few things I wish they could add are:

  • A better editor for more control over the end result as currently you have to upload the photos online and hope it all works.
  • The ability to add more photos over time to a current set of photos would allow me to gradually expand the detail and scope of the synth.
  • Geotagging of sythn’s so they could be placed onto a mapping service.

But over all if you like taking pictures then this is a new fun toy to play with…