Panoramio – See your photos in Google Earth

Panoramia overlay in Google Earth

Something I came across recently was the ability to share your own photos of places around the globe using Google Earth. A Spanish company called Panoramio have created a very easy way of selecting locations on the globe and adding your own pictures. Other users of Google Earth can then see these photos by clicking on the camera symbols that get overlaid onto the map.

At first sight Panoramio looks just like yet another website that hosts online galleries. You can store upto 2Gb of pictures for free. Other users of the site can browse your pictures. But the big difference here is that you can do this by clicking on a Google Map window, and have the images appear to other people via Google Earth. A two way link between an image browser list and the map window means selecting an image in either window will select it in the other so you can see in a very dynamic way where pictures were taken. It is much easier to try than describe – go to the Panoramio Map and have a play.

And then the really smart thing is link into 3D with Google Earth. Read on…

When you upload a photo to Panoramia you get the option of picking the place in the world where it was taken. This will not instantly appear to other web users – the company has an approval process that takes around a month, which I guess is to insure against unsuitable content and just plain wrong locations.

While awaiting approval, however, you can still see the images on your own local Google Earth, and also send the links to other users. For example, the following image shows one of mine:

Panoramia overlay in Google Earth

This is a screenshot from Google Earth that shows a small thumbnail of a beach shot I took when in Australia a few years ago. It is just a test image I uploaded to Panoramia.

Note that if you zoom in using Google Earth, then all the small blue balls change to the camera symbols mentioned earlier and shown in the next image:
Camera symbols is Panoramio

Finally, if you click on either the thumbnail or one of the camera symbols you will get a Panoramia window popping up that shows a bigger version of the image along with a few other options.

In my case, clicking on the beach scene shows a much larger version of the image wrapped in the Panoramia pop window. You can see this below.
Panoramio image

At the moment I have only put this single file on Panoramio. I want to look through some of the pictures I’ve taken over the years and put them on the map. I think the standard tourist places have been done to death, so I’ll look to find some locations that either do not have many existing images, or that are significantly different from the ones already posted. If you want to keep up with my images, then look at my Panoramia page, or just search for user “gwhitfield”.

It is worth mentioning that even if you never intend to post any of your own photos the site is worth a browse – there are some simply stunning images. Looking at pictures of places you are familiar provides some interesting perspectives, not to mention a little envy at how good other people are with their cameras! For any keen photographer or happy snapper, the Panoramia stuff is well worth a browse. But for the best experience do it via Google Earth as described earlier.

Panoramia was recently acquired by Google so expect to see much more innovation coming out.

In my dreams….

What I would really like to see is a link up between Panoramia and the geolocation feature in Adobe Photoshop Elements 5. For those not familiar with Elements, it provides a way you can tag the location photos were taken. But it uses flat Yahoo Maps, and there is no uploading involved – it is all local to your PC which makes sharing difficult. What would be great is the ability to upload and link directly to Google Earth via Panoramia.