How to make Google Street view without Tripod


Street View
Since my previous work, “NTU Campus Azalea Festival Google Earth Street View Tour” (also named “Home-made Street View” by GEB administrator Frank Taylor). I have made many several thousands of panos by my “Home-made” method .

Recently I just finished a total of approximately 1670 Panos (also can be viewed from your browser)  over National Taiwan University main campus (about 270 acres). Because the Google Street view does not cover in NTU Campus. It almost took me more than one year to make that happened. Also, lots of 3D models in the NTU are made during that time. Now I am willing to share my knowhow to you, google earth fans.

“Home-made Street View” can be roughly made by the following steps:

  • taking photos
  • Of course, you need to take some photos by using your cameras. A SLR camera and fisheye lens are highly recommended, for example, I used Nikon D200 and a 10.5mm fisheye.

    Then, we have to plan locations and routes where we want to take photos. When the location is confirmed, I first removed the lens cap and put it on the ground as an axle point. Then, hold your camera in the vertical direction, which should be just above the lens cap, to take photos. That is “be yourself as moving tripod!”. The lens cap should be seen in the bottom of photos.

    Then, take one photo in every 60 degree and you will have 6 photos (6×60=360 degree) to take panoramic photos based on the axle point. Finally, hold your camera in the horizontal direction and take two photos on your top left and top right direction. We will totally have 8 photos (6 for panoramic, and 2 for top left and top right) at that point.

    Please see the following YOUTUBE for the illustration of taking photos.

  • Stitching
  • I used PTGui for stitching. Pulling those 8 photos into PTGui. Because we did not use the professional pano tripod to keep the photos horizontally, we have to manually adjust the photos more or less in the PTGui. At the end, export the photos into a 2:1 panorama.

  • image editing
  • Pulling this panorama into an image processing software, such as Photoshop to adjust brightness, stitched part, mosaicing face, car plate number, and image file compression etc.

  • exporting to KML
  • By using the free software, PhotoOverlay creator, we can do image pyramid processing and generate a KML file, which will be ready for presenting in the Google Earth.

  • Regionating
  • When you make many panos in the KML, there will be crowded points shown in the Goole Earth, This is a little bit not what we really want. We want to make the panos shown depends on the zoom scale. Although, we can use “Regionating” funtions in the Google Earth, which is available in the Pro version, it still showed the dispersion of cluster of points. That’s not what we want, either. Therefore, I made the regionate process with kml <region> tag manually.

    Street View in Google Earth uses the special Photo Viewer tool which lets you pan around the inside of a 3D projected photo. This title “Using Street View in Google Earth“, describes the more details. You can see other nearby Street view camera icon when you are in Street view. By double-click the camera icons, you can fly straight into the Street view. But now, when Google Earth upgrade to 6.0 , we cannot see any nearby Street view camera icon. That means you can’t move directly from Street view. That’s a big blow to me. I hope Google Earth team can fix this problem.

    <This post was reviewed by Calvin C. JUNG >

    [GEB reports] Create your own Street View images without a tripod

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