by Brandon Baunach, LEED Green Assc.
A new wave of immersive, 360 degree photography called panoramography has grown steadily in popularity and is set to revolutionize the way we do our work as architects. A bit of background: up until recently, panoramography required extremely expensive equipment. The new era of mobile apps has opened the gate with which to produce these images by using a software stitching technique that automatically merges multiple images. As an example, Microsoft’s Photosynth (http://photosynth.net/) app make quick time of what used to be a very difficult process. But only in the past few weeks did a major breakthrough open up the possibilities of panoramography. This breakthrough comes in the form of a device that will take a high quality 360 degree image or video without having to merge together multiple images. The devices now available, either as a stand-alone camera or as an iPhone add-on, allow users to take full 360 degree views from floor to ceiling with one click of the shutter.
This tool is potentially extremely powerful for architects. Why? Here’s a scenario: I’ve recently been working on a school project where the project is a renovation of an existing building. As hard as I have tried, I always seem to miss the opportunity to take that important photo that would save me a trip out to the school to take additional images. This is a scenario faced on any renovation project or tenant improvement. Of course, if I was able to take an image of every room floor to ceiling I would be able to look at any part of the building just as I’m able to view any part of the outside of the building in Google StreetView (http://maps.google.com/intl/en/help/maps/streetview/) . The result of using panoramography as an observation tool is I cut down on my need for field visits, I get more accurate drawings because I can always refer to the images, and ultimately, I save the firm lots of money.
So, what’s available on the market to take these images? On a consumer level, the best solutions are Tamaggo (http://www.tamaggo.com) and Kotego ( http://kogeto.com/ ). Kotego is commercially available right now and comes as an attachment for the iPhone 4 and 4S for $79. Tamaggo is not yet available, but claims to be out in two months for a price of $199. The Katego is designed for video while the Tamaggo is a still camera. I purchased the Katego and am waiting impatiently to try it out. But I will most likely want to get a Tamaggo , as well, for its superior 14Megapixel picture clarity.
For cool examples of panoramography, see:
February 22, 2012 By