Kumamoto Castle Street View Tour


Kumamoto Castle (熊本城 Kumamoto-jō) is a hilltop Japanese castle located in Chūō-ku, Kumamoto in Kumamoto Prefecture. It was a large and extremely well fortified castle. The castle tower (天守閣 tenshukaku) is a concrete reconstruction built in 1960, but several ancillary wooden buildings remain of the original castle. Kumamoto Castle is considered one of the three premier castles in Japan, along with Himeji Castle and Matsumoto Castle. Thirteen structures in the castle complex are designated Important Cultural Property.

Kumamoto county occurred the Richter scale 7.3 earthquake in April 16, 2016, Kumamoto city hit severely, “it may take more than 10 years to repair Kumamoto Castle”, when the media constantly reports, I use Google Earth as usual to know Kumamoto castle, I found Kumamoto city is a 3D city in Google Earth, and the “Kumamoto castle” is even more spectacular! Especially Google Street View has almost be covereged, and there are five indoor street view. this let me rising an idea to create a street view virtual tour in Google Earth, especially when I recently developed a “Street View Tour generator“. It is a great tool, and I can use kumamoto castle as a real case, but also greatly modify the generator.
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Google Earth Street View Tour Generator

Google Taiwan announced in March this year (2016) , they finished the most tough task to extent street view coverage to Yushan – the highest mountain(altitude 3952 meter) in Taiwan. As long as you move your finger, follow the arrow on ground to forward, backward, or move the rotary motion picture, etc. You will be able to enjoy the beauty of Yushan, but most likely you’ll slide lost in wild, so I should like to make further automated street view tour for the entire route . Now it seems, Google Earth’s Tour feature is an excellent platform for navigation, Yes! it is possible to record directly with the Tour in Google Earth, but the process is quite difficult, and very prone to failure, so it had to use another way that you can edit to record the street view couse, I call it “street view route”. I spent a lot of effort to edit a street view route from Paiyun Lodge to Peak. Then through the “Street View Tour Generator”, convert to “Google Earth Street View Tour”. Above youtube is the final outcome.

This article is to share this “StreetView Tour Generator”, although Google Earth is very easy to use, but to make this “Street View Tour” still have to take the time and patience, those who are interested, please read on it…
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Celebrate Chinese Spring Festival in Google Earth

Inspired by the GEB fireworks generator, I tried it with Taipei 101 (Latitude:25.033903,Longitude:121.564510), and I got this result.
This seems good, but maybe those fireworks’ altitudes are too low . In addition, with the fixed view angle, some fireworks was blocked. So I decided to write a program to raise up the altitudes of all placemarks in the KML file by +500 meters, and I wrote another program to make an orbit around Taipei 101, and mixed with the original kml tour. This kmz file is my work, as reference to everyone.

With this view surrounding method, How to show something in this cylindrical space surrounded area? Various possibilities sprout in my mind. Followed by the Chinese spring festival just around the corner, I had the idea! I thought I could make numerous couplets fall down from heaven, I collected more than 100 couplets as icon database, Accompanied with the “happy lunar year” music, I made the “couplets generator”.

You can play the tour in the downloaded KML to see the couplets. Or, you can download the kmz file and get the location directly in Google Earth.

Now that I can fall down the couplets, I think the Taiwan Sky Lantern Festival, there are thousands of sky lanterns floating in the sky, compared with the former, they are different direction, So I have to modify the program and get two sky lantern icons, and set the timestamp, andaccompanied with another “happy chinese festival” music and make the “sky lanterns generator”.

Also You can play the tour in the downloaded KML to see the sky lanterns fly up. Or, you can download the kmz file and get the location directly in Google Earth.

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24hrs Time Lapse Panorama in Google Earth

Not long ago, one of my friends,YeDing Wang, took a scenery photo, which he took from his living room in the early morning around 4:00. This picture really touched me, I could not help to overlay the picture on Google Earth, and made this GE tour kmz , you can see it in Youtube.

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Gathering and Spread in Google Earth

There is an exhibition entitled “Locus and Focus︰60th Anniversary Exhibition of NCKU Mountaineering Association”

NCKU Mountaineering Association has the longest history among its peers in the field of mountaineering in national universities in Taiwan. To celebrate her sixtieth anniversary, we use the photos of the magnificent natural landscape, mountain gear, outfits, related publications, and outdoor activities to demonstrate the Association’s development and evolution over the past sixty years.

These objects are milestones, marking the details of the days filled with amazing adventures. The glorious experience is a series of stories telling the changes and growth of the teenagers spending their time in the mountains. We are looking forward to letting people know the development of mountaineering in Taiwan, recalling the alumni’s unforgettable memories, and encouraging our Association members at the same time.

This exhibition has nine themes, which has a theme called “Esprit de corps – Joint forces” show by video as below.

Joint-force connotes an appointment held in a mountain, hikers coming from various trails gathering at a specific summit and time. Safely arrival a remote summit inside craggy sierra in time is an ambitious attempt, as barriers, obstacles, fickle weather, and unexpected situations alongside the rugged trails challenge relentlessly. NCKUMA has been accomplished 25 times joint forces. i.e. consummated 25 appointments in the past decades. The excited experience of accomplishing a joint-force always cast an unfading memory to all the participants. We would like to share our delighted and touched experiences of 3 joint forces held at Mt. Xue by following photos and records.

In this video, the Mt. Xue joint-forces animation fragment(0:01:00 ~ 0:01:30) is made by image editing software. They rendered the animation base on a Google Earth picture. Which is a great presentation! But also a little stimulation to me. I have made hundreds of animations in Google Earth Tours, Regardless of any object, such as the marathon route, or hiking path, or runners icon, chinchillas bus, Blue Magpie bird, or even helicopters, all can move in Google Earth, but these are all moving single direction, “joint-forces” is a few routes moving in the same time. I have not seen such an application in Google Earth. It’s a challenge for me, but after doubled efforts, I finally done it!

Here is the Google Earth animation youtube as below. Sure! you can download this KMZ file, and operate in Google Earth.

Now that the technology of multi-paths gathering has developed. There are 6 main ridges in Mt. Xue range, I have an idea on the opposite direction to spread the 6 main ridges from the Mt. Xue main peak. By the way, It’s a dynamic display also contain educational significance. Here is the Google Earth animation youtube as below. You can also download this KMZ file.

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Google Custom StreetView Automatic Pano Tour

Since early 2009 I created a method of make Google Street view without Tripod, I’m able to take a panorama shoot in a short time.It can be taken anywhere, so I took hundreds of thousands of panos, I show these panos by Street View function in Google Earth then. But not too long, At the end of 2010 Google Earth 6.0 removed these functions of custom street view, so you can only show each individual pano now. It becomes more difficult to use, and I had to say goodbye to my crazy days of “be a rotating streetview man”.

At the end of 2013, Google released the Google Maps JavaScript API version 3. Since then You can use your own panorama in Google Maps. I found the platform to demonstrate my panos again. Not only the original panos I keep in the “warehouse” can be shown, it also motivates me to take more pictures and produce more works.

StreetView has the characteristics of “space”, so an idea comes to my mind. I wanted a panotour function like “GE Tour” that I can stop it at any time, to wander elsewhere and still can go back to continue the tour. I searched everything in Google Maps JavaScript API Version 3, trying to find anything related to Street View functions. But I couldn’t find the function like the “pan”. In the end I had to use JavaScriptt to design a player, based on the planned panos array. Play those panos one by one, each pano has a different view. I also added two buttons, “acceleration”(+) and “deceleration”(-). It can be used to control the playback speed . You can also press the “pause”(||) button, and browse the pano in different angles. You can also hit the arrow sigh below, moving to an adjacent pano to browse, then going back to press the “next”(>>), “prev”(<<) or "play"(►) button to continue the panotour. Now that the most important technical problem has been solved. I feel like it should also accompanied by a background music while browsing just like Youtube, so I design a play button. After that, I thought of my friend Walker Yang, who was a panorama photographer. He is very passionate about education of applied panorama techniques, and try to promote it as well. He also founded the “Taiwan 360 panorama association”. Unfortunately, He died in March this year. In order to show my gratitude for everything he did, I took the icon from his facebook to design a play button as a memorial.

There are two cases below:

1.Chiayi Meishan Park Literary Trail Pano Tour

There are 32 stones scattered beside Meishan park trails.Every single stone has a piece of poetry by different local poets engraved on it, according to their birth order. I arrange the sequence of my panos by the birth order of the poets in my tour.

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2. NTU DrunkenMoon Lake Pano Tour

There is a Lake called “Drunkenmoon” in National Taiwan University campus.In addition to the 700 panos I took in the range of about 0.1 square km which can be navigated by Google streetview, I also designed an “8” shape along Lake trail panotour.

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