Mapwing: Build and Share Virtual Tours  
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Frequently Asked Questions
Read frequently asked questions and their answers.
What is Mapwing.com?
Mapwing.com is a Web site that makes it easy to build, share, and explore virtual tours. With Mapwing you can:
  • Turn your digital photos into interactive virtual tours.
  • Share your virtual tours with friends, family, or the entire world.
  • Browse a gallery of virtual tours created by other people.
  • Connect with a growing network of Mapwing users.
 
How do I get started with Mapwing?
To begin exploring a world of virtual tours, simply visit the Public Tour Gallery and select a tour. If you are interested in creating your own tours or posting comments, Sign Up for a free Mapwing account. Then, click on the Create tab.
 
What are Mapwing Virtual Tours?
Mapwing virtual tours are built from a system of interconnected points which a user can browse or explore. Each point represents a location. Four photographs are associated with each point, providing views of the location. Mapwing encourages tour builders to capture images approximating the views of north, east, south, and west. If done properly, this results in a near 360° view of a location, giving the experience of standing at a point and turning around. Multiple completed points are linked together, allowing one to move from one point to another and to tour the mapped area.
 
What do I need to create a Virtual Tour?
Creating a Mapwing tour requires some knowledge of photography. You may use any camera to capture the four image views for a point. However, cameras with wider lenses tend to produce better results since they capture an image closer to a 90° field-of-view. In the 35mm system, a 90° field of view equals a 20mm lens.

Mapwing does not require a high-resolution camera, since the maximum tour resolution is about 1 megapixel. That being said, tours will see some benefit from a higher resolution image of around 2 megapixels. Also, tours normally require a number of images to be taken. A typical home might contain 15 points or over 60 images views. Make sure that your camera has enough memory to store an ample number of images.

If you are shooting inside, you may want to consider having a flash. Without a flash you will probably have to place your camera on a tripod. Either solution should allow your camera to capture clear, well exposed images.

Also, as the name suggests, Mapwing requires a bit of mapping. Having a clipboard, paper, and pencil handy is a good idea. A floor plan or map of the area can be helpful too, especially later on when building your tour. To identify north you may also want to consider taking along a compass.

Tour Checklist:
  • 1+ megapixel camera with enough memory for at least 60 pictures
  • Flash unit
  • Tripod
  • Clipboard, paper, and pencil
  • Map or floor plan of the area (if available)
  • Compass
 
How do I photograph a Virtual Tour?
Having arrived at the tour location, take a walk through it. Try and understand how people move through the space: along a road, through rooms and doors, or maybe down a path. Next, take your compass and identify which way is north. Remember a feature in this direction, like the side of a house or a particular tree.

Now, find a starting point for the tour. This could be the entrance of a home or the beginning of a park trail. Once you have identified a starting point, make note of its location and take out your camera. Turn around and imagine the best way to divide the 360° view from this point into four views. Next, use your compass to determine which one of these views most closely matches north. Take a picture of this view. Then, turn right 90° and take the east view. Do this two more times until you have captured the four views from the point.

While taking your pictures, you may notice that your camera lens is not wide enough to capture the entire scene in four images. Most viewers of your tour will not mind this. However, if you are concerned about it, each time you take an image, back up a several steps from the point. This will artificially widen the area captured by your camera.

Having captured your first point, decide where the next logical point would be. This may involve walking through a door present in one of your images, or walking down a path a little further. Make sure that this point is visible from the first and visa versa. This provides the user with a frame of reference and your tour with continuity. Capture the point and any others that you wish to use in your tour.

As you are collecting points, be aware of any areas which might be conveyed through a hotspot image. Hotspots allow the user to click on an area of an image view and zoom in for a close-up. For example, after capturing a room, you might want to get a close-up of a particular painting on the wall. You should capture any hotspot images while collecting your points.

Once you have captured all point and hotspot images, you are ready to begin building your tour with Mapwing.
 
What are Mapwing's system requirements?
In general, Mapwing requires the following:
  • A modern operating system (Windows, Mac, Linux)
  • An up-to-date Web browser (Firefox, Safari, Internet Explorer)
  • Adobe Flash Player 7 or higher (Flash Player 9 is required to create virtual tours)
 
 
   
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