Collage of panoramas from Airpano

Airpano’s stunning aerial panoramas

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Who doesn’t want to travel the world from the comfort of their own couch? I certainly do. And this is exactly what I did with Airpano. Believe me, it is amazing.

Airpano currently is the largest resource for 360° aerial panoramas in the world. It does its magic from helicopters, hot air balloons and more. And the result is splendid. At the moment of this writing, there are more than 3000 aerial panoramas showing over 300 famous locations of our planet. Airpano collaborates with a number of international publications, such as GEO, National Geographic, Daily Mail and Der Spiegel.

You can easily get lost in a positive way in the huge amount of 3D virtual tours but when you are searching for something specific, I find their world map the most convenient way. A red pin represents already available imagery, whereas a grey one is pointing to new ones coming soon.

World map with overview of all available panoramas from Airpano

If you choose a location you want to visit in Airpano, you can dive right into the 3D virtual tour, browse through a photo gallery and read about the story behind the tour.

I find the 3D virtual tour to be the most intriguing one. When you open a 3D virtual tour, you can look around the area in 360 degrees. Be sure to maximize your screen for maximum experience. I don’t think an old computer will work well with these panoramas. It looks like you need a desktop with some horsepower.

Airpano panorama of Chicago

Places of interest are pinned into the landscape and are clickable. You can hop around between different points of view by clicking on one of the helicopters you see flying around in the sky. If you click the triangle in the left bottom you can show different controls for your tour: view your current location on a map, toggle autorotate, turn on/off music, go to the story behind the tour and more. The first thing I do is turning off the music. I understand how appropriate music can complement the experience, but I find it a bit annoying when the music starts to play automatically in the browser.

Stories provide more context about the places you visit. With the panorama of Nairobi (capital of Kenya) for instance, you can read a bit about the history of the city, about why certain areas in the city are formed the way they are and more. These stories gives you the right background to get more out of the several panoramas available on Nairobi.

Screenshot photo galleries on Airpano.com

Photo galleries are hand-curated selections of the best imagery available on certain subjects like ‘Night Cities’, ‘The Ancient World’ and ‘Volcanoes’.

Additionally to all the great stuff I already mentioned, Airpano also has a section on their website dedicated to 360 video. I experienced a 3D video for the first time online only a few months ago. I think it was on Youtube. But I am pretty sure the technology is available a lot longer. It’s like watching a movie, but then not being limited to the scene the director is providing you. You can look around in 360 degrees while the movie is playing. You need to see this is in action. It is just awesome.

For non-commercial use, you may use the imagery of Airpano on your website, provided you are crediting and linking back to Airpano. You can even embed an interactive panorama in your site. When viewing a panorama, you just click on ‘Get embed code’, and paste this small snippet of code into your design. The result even looks good with responsive design.
Here is an example of the code you get for the panorama of Nice (France):

Here is an example of the code you get for the panorama of Nice (France):

<iframe id="airpano_frame" src="http://www.airpano.ru/files/Nice-France/2-3-2" width="700" height="450" frameborder="0" marginwidth="0" marginheight="0" scrolling="no"> </iframe></p>
<div style="float: right;">Courtesy of <a href="http://www.airpano.com/" target="_blank">www.AirPano.com</a></div>
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Do you have a smartphone or tablet?
Android users can download the Airpano Virtual Travel app on the Google Play Store.

Screenshot Airpano Virtual Travel on Android

On iOS, you can purchase Airpano Travel Book for a small price on the App Store, thereby supporting the non-profit character of Airpano. I have purchased the Airpano Travel Book on the App Store. The app was featured in ‘Best of 2014’, currently it is the top 1 travel app in more than 70 countries. I can highly recommend this app if you are interested in beautiful 360° views of our world. The app has a splendid menu in the form of an actual book and, of course, lots of fantastic 360° views of places like the famous Taj Mahal, the Niagara Falls, nightlife in Las Vegas, several cities and much more.

What do you think of Airpano? Do you know of any other software that comes close to this experience?

Collage of panoramas from Airpano

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