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Topic: synth interconnection / jumping with 'Highlights'

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Joscelin.Trouwborst (Over 1 year ago)
I have started to use Highlights to "jump" from one synth to another. 
I have started the discussion with an example on this here 

But, I feel it to be better to have a matching discussion title.
Joscelin.Trouwborst (Over 1 year ago)
I have said that I feel it to be an abuse of the current intention for Highlights. Gtakacs has responded that he/she doesn't think of it as an abuse, but as a new way to use them.

To elaborate.
So far, a Highlight has been something to highlight a visual aspect in the scenery of the synth and clarify it in pop-up text. A spot in the scenery where one can jump to another synth can be considered sort of a Highlight, if Highlight is considered to be a generic concept. Whatever the terminology that is going to be used, I feel it is useful to distinguish between the 2, although they are both 'sweet spots' within a synth.
Joscelin.Trouwborst (Over 1 year ago)
In the example I have mentioned before, there is nothing of visual interest in the Highlights and the url in their description only serves as a jump to a next synth, because there was insufficient overlap for synthing them together.

Meanwhile, in another synth, I have created a Highlight, highlighting a statue with in the Highlight's description the name of the statue and the url to the Spin synth of the statue.

If I have finished playing around with this, i.e. have created some examples, then I will post the url's in this discussion. I hope others will join and that the conversation will help the team in improving direction on this.
wideangle (Over 1 year ago)
The use of Highlights to enable jumping between synths is something we wanted to be possible -- but that we did not optimize for in this release.  This scenario is something we're thinking about and we'd love to see some of the example you refer to to help us better understand how users would want to link synths.  Thanks!

Anne (Photosynth team)
Joscelin.Trouwborst (Over 1 year ago)
While creating synth jumps, a first thought...
Represent a Highlight not containing a jump url as a dashed circle.
Represent a Highlight containing a jump url as a (closed) circle.
Joscelin.Trouwborst (Over 1 year ago)
Should the jump target open in a new browser tab/window? Currently, it opens in a new tab. My current feeling is that it better open in the same tab; would not like to open many tabs while touring synths.

When opening in same tab, browser back/forward navigation comes in handy and natural.
Joscelin.Trouwborst (Over 1 year ago)
If I delete "preview" from the jump url, then the "startat" argument somehow gets lost when jumping, while this argument definitely is in the url in the Highlight caption.
NateLawrence (Over 1 year ago)
Yes, the page handler fails to pass on any additional parameters, when it generates the new URL for the device requesting the link.

The same has been the case been since the launch of the mobile app and HTML5 pano viewer back in 2011.
NateLawrence (Over 1 year ago)
Regarding opening links in highlights in the same tab/window or a new one, I think the best solution is the one that has been used on the forum for a few years now.

Namely, if the link is to another page within, then allow it to open in the same tab.
If it links off to an external site (Wikipedia, etc.) then open it in a new tab/window.

How would this work or not work for you?
Joscelin.Trouwborst (Over 1 year ago)
Yes Nate, I totally agree. I was thinking about synth jumping only. I too vote for links going to external sites to open in a new tab.
Joscelin.Trouwborst (Over 1 year ago)
I withdraw my previous suggestion on having closed or dashed circles to indicate if the highlight has a synth jump or not.

New suggestion, taking touch into account, is to have white (closed) circles always. (No change of color On Mouse Over.) Have round dots on the circle with specific icons to represent synth jump, Bing map link, Wikipedia link and more info. Icons have fixed position on the circle. Icon shows only if the specific content is available. On tap of the icon, the content will open. Info as a pop-up, synth jump in same browser tab, Wikipedia and Bing map in new tab.
christoph_hausner (Over 1 year ago)
Showing the thumbnail of the linked synth in the circle could be an option?

As for same tab/new tab: isn't this a browser-specific setting anyway? I'd say navigating to a linked synth should ideally happen in-place, i.e. without any page reload. And any external links are handled by the browser according to user settings.
Joscelin.Trouwborst (Over 1 year ago)
As far as I can see in IE, browser settings concern pop-ups only and they are not used in this scenario, if I am right.
Joscelin.Trouwborst (Over 1 year ago)
As promised, a first example of synth jumping with Highlights. I feel I am about only half way creating the jumps in this scene, but you may already enjoy exploring it starting from here
Joscelin.Trouwborst (Over 1 year ago)
Forgot... For those interested to compare the above mentioned scene in Google technology,

But, note that navigation controls do not show in IE11.
Joscelin.Trouwborst (Over 1 year ago)
Picking up the Photosynth vision in 2010 and shooting almost all of the Curaçao Sint Annabaai and Schottegat scenery in those days it is good to see it come to live as intended at last, though it is sad that Google got there first in providing the tools.,Panos&lat=12.110421779509678&lon=-68.93208537377919&zoom=15&user=Joscelin.Trouwborst

A lot more Highlights to be added still.
wideangle (Over 1 year ago)
Great example of connected synths Joscelin - thanks for sharing.  Love hearing the feedback on how such a feature would work best for you. Thanks.

Anne (Photosynth team)
Joscelin.Trouwborst (Over 1 year ago)
@Anne-PhotosynthTeam. You are welcome. Although I have posted comments on inconveniences and ideas I come across, I prefer to hold back a little to take time to have experience sink in a little. Now, concentration is on getting the work done. One thing for sure, the Photosynth Highlight functionality is more generic and open than the way to link Google Photo Spheres to obtain a Streetview experience. I feel there are pros and cons in this and I should think before reacting based on a possible bias.

What I feel is very important too, is that the team puts developing mechanisms to resolve map misplacement and counteract spam sufficiently high on the agenda.

Also, push the Bing Maps people to get better maps and satellite imagery. It shouldn't be too difficult to identify countries and areas within to prioritize for tourism.
Joscelin.Trouwborst (Over 1 year ago)
On one occasion I have linked to a musicians performance video clip on OneDrive. I feel the result does not provide the best of user experiences and I rather have a Msft solution than linking to YouTube.
Joscelin.Trouwborst (Over 1 year ago)
Curaçao, Sint Annabaai. I think I am done with the Highlights. 26 Synths,16 are a jump target, with a total of about 102 synth jumps.,Panos&lat=12.10814010810384&lon=-68.93524469053538&zoom=17&user=Joscelin.Trouwborst

Highlight with url to video clip on OneDrive here
Joscelin.Trouwborst (Over 1 year ago)
Curaçao, Pietermaai. An area restored over recent years and still in restoration. An impression of what is has become in part in this Photosynth constellation. An enjoyable Carib Asean Cuisine restaurant, a flee and art market with traditional music at the other end.,Panos&lat=12.10296850764965&lon=-68.92837356707629&zoom=20&user=Joscelin.Trouwborst
Joscelin.Trouwborst (Over 1 year ago)
Another 2010 Photosynth v1 experiment has come to a better life in Photosynth v2 ... 

A tedious job.

Although the navigation ux is reasonable, as visual Highlights I consider far from optimal. I like the walks in one go and the option to jump for a (partial) look around. Far from what I would consider a seamless ux.
Joscelin.Trouwborst (Over 1 year ago)
Same approach as previous example, but with a more impressive scene ;-) .

Take a walk on De Rouvilleweg alongside the Sint Annabaai into the Rif Fort on Curaçao. Enter a panorama to have a look around...
Joscelin.Trouwborst (Over 1 year ago)
Apart from being a great spin of a beautiful fountain, I feel the 'Cliveden's Fountain of Love' synth by msjansen needs mentioning in this conversation thread because of its clever synth jumping with Highlights. Different to most of the above examples, there is no visual clue with the highlight as to where the jump goes. But, I feel the description within the highlight is sufficient compensation for this. An issue here is that not all people in the world understand English.

One could say that clever advantage has been taken of the fact that the synth is featured, adding highlights to have the fountain be a portal to other synths of the Cliveden gardens. I find this an example of artistic use of Highlights.

With a creative mind surprising user experiences can be created with highlights. E.g. a jump to a picture of the same scene edited with FreshPaint.
We now have map functionality different from Photosynth v1. The map shows a dot where Photosynth imagery is available and offers imagery thumbnails and embedded viewing of Photosynth imagery. I have started wondering to what degree this diminishes the need for linking Photosynth imagery. A continuous Walk and Wall experience is an issue. But, to access Panoramas and Spins using the map feels relatively natural to me.

I will continue connecting my synths on Plaza Mayor, Trinidad, Cuba for the experiments sake. Find them on the map here...,Panos&lat=21.8050524595493&lon=-79.98439777932589&zoom=20&user=Joscelin.Trouwborst
While working on the example mentioned in the post directly above...
my current feeling is that it works, but no more than that. I feel the user experience to be poor.
Nathanael (11 months ago)
In terms of manually hyperlinking from one synth to another, I've also thought about just putting a link to that area of the map in the synth description or a highlight description, but it's still no substitute for moving between photos in different synths in the same way that you'd move between different photos in the same synth.
To what extend is all influenced by the perspective at the inception of Photosynth? Today the feeling popped up that Photosynth has an imaging cradle and evolution, while it seems to me that competitor Google has started from a map perspective and is using imagery to enhance their map from the start. I do not feel this was the outset of Photosynth. Does this make us run into issues which we fail to address at a fundamental level?
ThreeDSheep (11 months ago)
Thank you Joscelin for posting and catching our/my attention with this thread.

I had missed the fact that we could embed links into Highlights and at least primitively link our synths together.

I absolutely agree with Nathanael that I would much rather stich photos between synths (hints to the engine) to seamlessly connect synths together in 3D space.

Your hub synth style sample is interesting.
Personally, my interests (at least initially) are more related to walk continuation.

Here are 2 examples of this slightly different thematic approach:,c72ce1f7-52c1-4da5-ace0-6d873e248967

Almost has makings of being able to create an explorer/adventure game experience from strategically crafted synths.

The hack would be better if we could set:
- stop at hightlight
- autoplay synth on launch
- click highlight without having to click link in comment.
ThreeDSheep (11 months ago)
Oops, sorry, I seem to have messed up the first link by copying it from the wrong spot...

It should have been:

Bottom line there are a few different scenarios where I find I want to connect synths with these links (or ideally with more advance methods when available)...

- broken segments that happen if the images I capture have weak spots that the engine can't resolve the connections for. 

- connecting series that are greater than the 200 image max

- jumping or advancing to locations that I did not capture the connecting images for between related but disconnected series.

- jumping from an end of a multi synth series back to the starting location of the beginning synth

to name some of the major ones.
Nathanael (11 months ago)
@ThreeDSheep, there is a flag that you can attach to the end of your synths' URLs called autoplay.

Example: (Default View Link) (With Auto Play turned on)

Also note that you can combine the autoplay flag with other flags, such as mode=movie to play the synth's video preview or a Share Link to load into a synth at a particular image as Joscelin has demonstrated above.

Examples: (Default View Link) (Video Preview with Auto Play) (Load the synth at image 93 and Auto Play)
Above I have mentioned Cliveden's Fountain of Love by msjansen. I should have taken the effort to look up the link. Now here it is

I feel this to be a rather artistic approach to using a synth as a portal to other synths, very different from my walks in which one can choose to enter a panorama on the spot.
So far, I have not seen a construct of panos and spins connected by walks.
I could construct these from the photos in my 
'Laantje van Hilhorst'
and 'Otrobanda'
But, as these constellations have not been shot with this in mind, it would be a tedious job to re-assemble them in a different way. Also, I have chosen this solution, as it seems an easier walk through experience to me, than being forced to go through continuation links at each walk-pano intersection.
Thanks @ThreeDSheep for listing different jump scenarios/reasons.

Yes, captures with legacy technology, i.e. traditional cameras ;-) , may run into synth issues. But, with the modern multi-purpose mobile devices with a camera app this is not an issue any longer.

Connecting walls and walks of over the current 200 frames limit seamlessly is an issue seen in the above examples of ThreeDSheep and my 'Otrobanda' walk in the previous post.
ThreeDSheep (11 months ago)
Thanks @Nathanael for the flag guidance.

I also seem to have missed the memo on these flags (query parms).
Are the supported flags documented anywhere or has the knowledge just spread through the community based on piecing things together and dribbles from here and there?

You don't happen to know if there is a flag that can be pass that will turn on the "Map Mode" (typically done by pressing the "M" key by chance, do you?
Both of my synths above and many in my collection tend to have irregular map paths and I think it would be interesting to display it automatically for some of them when it is relevant. The map mode might also have interesting potential if the virtual adventure game synth concept started to evolve further.
ThreeDSheep (11 months ago)
Thinking a little more about the various different jump scenarios/reasons, and trying to guess where this technology my be heading with respect to 3D worlds, VR, AR etc..  it occurs to me that conceptually it might be nice to have
two (or more) types/shapes of highlights

- circles (aka worm holes), like the ones we have now for jumps that jump to a very different location in 3D space

- rectangles (aka doors or curtains), similar to the ones we have now but are shaped and maybe afforded as doors and curtains that connect two nearby or connected locations in 3D space. 

Beside the visual differentiation conveying meaning, the two types might also have slightly different behaviors. The worm holes might require clicking or some form of more intentional interaction where as the doors might trigger when you pass through them.
Nathanael (11 months ago)
I don't know of an official comprehensive list of query parameters, but I did start a forum thread on it a while ago which you're welcome to add to:

Most of the queries I know of come directly from Photosynth's Share links and the HTML embed code.
Things like the switch for the video preview come from watching the Photosynth team's twitter account.


I don't yet know of a query to turn on the map, if one exists.

If you'd like to automatically have the overhead map switched on on every synth, you can enable this for yourself in the debug menu (type 42 into the viewer), but this only affects the browser you're using on your local machine and won't affect your audience.
I am with ThreeDSheep that there is a need to distinguish conceptual differences in the UI/UX as well.
Here it is... It took me more than 10 days to put all the Highlights in...
46 synths of Trinidad de Cuba, Plaza Mayor and around. 
For those who want to explore, you can give it a start here
Hi Anne-Photosynth-Team (WideAngle). Promised to give you feedback on this, but I am running out of time. Hope to be back in November. 

But, to make it short. 
1. Synth connection using Highlights with the aim to achieve a Streetside (Streetview) effect is a no go this way. 
2. An information reference tag does not need an image thumbnail.
3. A great example that does give a good ux is David's where he highlights ceiling paintings and gives info about it.

Good luck to all the team in the meantime.
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