Topic: Photosynth Groups?

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BarrieFoster (Over 1 year ago)
Do you have any plans to introduce Photosynth Groups for content sharing, as with Flickr Groups? Or is there already something in place that I have missed?
Nathanael (Over 1 year ago)
Which features from Flickr groups did you have in mind, Barrie?

Are you thinking of Flickr's photo pool where anyone can be invited to/join the group and contribute their individual photos of a subject to the communal pool (the parallel being that someone could start a synth and then others could contribute their individual photos to it) or did you have something different in mind? Perhaps you were thinking that all contributors would have their own standalone synths or panoramas which they could fit together (example: all the Statue of Liberty synths + panos)?

I'd like to hear more detail on what you'd like to achieve.

Your fellow synther and panner,
BarrieFoster (Over 1 year ago)
The Flickr photo pool is the model I had in mind, primarily for sharing panos. The group would be set up by an administrator who could set group guidelines including a tagging guide and licensing conditions (Creative Commons). If possible, the administrator would also moderate and approve group submissions for compliance and quality. An example is the Share Wales Flickr Group set up recently under the Welsh Government Digital Tourism Business Programme at The group provides images of interest to visitors and potential visitors to Wales and serves as a free image pool that can be used by individual businesses as part of their online promotion. Photosynth goups might be of interest to other holiday destinations, I think. As editor, I am currently preparing an article on Virtual Tours using Photosynth for the Share Wales web site and it would be useful to know if you have any plans.
BarrieFoster (Over 1 year ago)
Hello Nathaniel. Do you have any more thoughts on this topic?

NateLawrence (Over 1 year ago)
Hi, Barrie, 

I am only your peer, so regardless of what ideas I might come up with, I'm in no more position to see them come to fruition than you. To me, the best way for photographic content to link together on is for the system to automatically recognize how nearby panoramas and photos relate spatially to each other (as happens in a photosynth). 

Panoramas are honestly only interesting to me and only worthy of even being hosted here on this site, once panoramas can be spatially linked to each other (as individual photos are spatially linked in a synth) and 3D geometry recovered for objects which they both see from different positions.

Before Photosynth was even available to download for use with one's own photos, a large portion of the initial vision was that Photosynth would be running in Bing Images, continually linking together imagery from the web and linking together individuals' synths. 

See for details.
NateLawrence (Over 1 year ago)
Photosynth was released in August of 2008 but that critical piece of the puzzle - the automatic linking together of user content on the map after being uploaded - was not technically complete. 

In all the years since, many of us who were initially excited by Photosynth have become disheartened as no outward progress on this critical piece of the initial Photosynth vision and potential remains missing in action. The latest word on the matter came from David Gedye in this discussion:

In 2011, I got my hopes up because several Photosynth team members began talking about a new project entitled Read/Write World which aimed at spatially linking web imagery (photos, photosynths, panoramas, spin movies, videos, etc.) together on Bing Maps.
NateLawrence (Over 1 year ago)
There was talk of some user interaction in terms of helping the system out with placing the latitude and longitude of a piece of content, where its position couldn't be solved for automatically (say, due to lack of other imagery in that area of the map), which would have been very welcome and even started to head in the direction of something which could serve as the technical foundation for a curated set of content on the map like what you're describing.

Sadly, after giving presentations at multiple conferences all throughout 2011 on Read/Write World, 2012 found the team going silent and pulling down their blog, early technical samples, and facebook fan page. Their video presentations remain online, listed at if you're curious to hear what they were planning, but although no official announcement of a cancellation of the project was made things don't seem promising with no public signs of life and some team members even having left MS.
NateLawrence (Over 1 year ago)
I say all of that simply to give you context when I say that I don't know how useful my speculation or wishlisting would be in fleshing out the finer details of how such groups would work. 

I remain eager for synth linking, pano linking, etc. but my spirits are understandably a bit dampened after waiting for over five years now without any real results. 

This is to say nothing of how Photosynth first launched with a Direct3D photosynth viewer which utilized one's graphics card to make the transition among images beautifully smooth and how the Silverlight viewer which followed it (for purposes of viewing photosynths on Macs, which cannot - to this day - actually upload anything to the site) is a pale and poor imitation in comparison. This is yet another place where what initially drew people to Photosynth was subsequently withdrawn. For me, synth linking without returning to GPU powered rendering of synths and panos would still be a failure.

Signing off for now
BarrieFoster (Over 1 year ago)
Hi Nathanael,
Thanks for this very useful background. You have obviously given a great deal of thought to the possibilities of Photosynth, to the extent that I imagined from your first reply that you were a Forum moderator on behalf of the Photosynth team! Pardon my error. I can certainly understand your frustration at the incomplete technical realisation of the project. My need is much more basic - to create a mechanism for creating and sharing clusters of panos based on specific tourist destinations, both as a resource and as part of the destination marketing cloud.

Regards and thanks,