Virtual travel experiences that can be enjoyed online
Convoy, produced by the travel company eDreams, is one of the first virtual reality travel experiences.
One of the locations, the Zagreb in Croatia, is also the setting for Convoy 2, which will go into production early next year.
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Available to UK users only, but as is the case with savvy users who use tools such as VPNs so they don’t miss out on the next new online casino, there are probably similar ways around this geographically limited availability.
Travel the world virtually with Google Earth
You’re in Buenos Aires; you’re driving down the Avenida Libertador. Before you know it, your car has lost control and you’re spiraling toward the ocean below. Rather than letting yourself panic, you stop in your tracks and get a better look at the crash site. Sure, your car isn’t really on the freeway anymore; your body isn’t really there. But you are, and you’re still the one on the other side of that windshield. Google Earth has brought you back to this exact moment. You can move through the car, examining everything, all the time.
Bizarre, yes. But imagine you’re walking through a department store, or a mall, or a field, and you’re just walking, but you know where you are, and you know where the other people around you are. You could just glance at them and know where you are in relation to them. That’s the idea behind the “Specular” tool in Google Earth: it’s a combination of Google Earth, with the elegant user interface of Street View. We made a sketch of how it works:
To use the “Specular” tool, click on the “Glass” icon that comes up when you open the panorama view (a small rectangular icon with four little wings). There’s no narration: it’s as if you’re there.
Next, click on the plane, and the rest of the panorama will snap to the plane of the Earth. The bird’s-eye view is just a grainy vision; the bird’s eye view of a whole hemisphere is a more realistic image. To pan around, just move your mouse over to the side, just like you would in Google Maps. Click once on a region, and a photo of that region will snap to it. So, if you’re looking for the street, for example, you’d move your mouse and click on the street–this screengrab shows it from San Francisco’s busy Broadway, a neighborhood that has been excavated by more than three feet of soil over the years. From this perspective, Street View just looks like something out of The Jetsons; you can zoom all the way in and see the dirt piling up. And because Street View uses aerial photography, it’s pretty accurate (you can still see traffic in the photo, even if Google itself can’t see it.)
The “Specular” tool will have to do for now, but I wouldn’t be surprised if we start to see more details and access point details. To see more of the Specular tool in action, check out this Google Earth trailer online…