Forum : New Feature Suggestions/Requests

Do you have an idea for an awesome feature we should add… or hate the way we’re currently doing something? Share your ideas and suggestions here.

Topic: Combining existing Photosynths

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jamiet (Over 1 year ago)
In the future it would be nice if we could take 2 (or more) synths that are (a) geographically adjacent to each other and (b) share common objects and combine them into a single synth.

For example, I am doing a lot of synths around the St Pauls area of London (e.g. and I would like, at a later date, to join them together to make one single "supersynth".
Are you thinking along those lines at all? I'm excited at the thought of being able to combine multiple synths to make a single immersive experience over a wide expanse.

Nathanael (Over 1 year ago)
Jamie, I'd have to say that the team is definitely still working on synth linking. It's such a large part of the original vision of Photo Tourism and Photosynth that I don't think it's going anywhere anytime soon. It's just going to take a lot of work.

As for recent confirmation, Photosynth's architect, Blaise Agüera y Arcas, spoke at a number of venues last year and gave statements to the effect that this is still very much on their mind. 

Even apart from his statements, I would consider the geo-alignment tool to be a very important step towards this sort of thing happening as geo-aligned synths provide a trellis for creative commons flickr photos and other sources of photography to align themselves to. We've seen the technical preview of this with Flickr photos synthing themselves to Streetside imagery in select locations and I can only assume that the same process is being played with between neighbouring synths, even if it's not ready to show yet.
Nathanael (Over 1 year ago)
We also saw, last year, the research at the University of Washington (where Photo Tourism was born) the further research towards your supersynth idea. Look up "Building Rome in a Day" ( ). Now their example took a 496 compute core cluster of machines to get the computation done so that approach is likely to happen on Bing Maps servers, rather than being pushed to end users' machines, I think, but of course I can't say for sure. I know I would be happy to use my machines to compute putting others' synths together like SETI@home. 

The research in UW's Community Photo Collections area ( ) is a very good way to get a feel for what is *likely* going to happen in Photosynth (or Google Earth) next. Pay special attention to whatever research over that way has someone from Microsoft Research on the team and you'll have an excellent idea of what to expect is being worked on behind the scenes.
jamiet (Over 1 year ago)
Hi Nathaneal,
Thanks for the detailed replies, its very much appreciated. It looks as though my wish will be granted at some point in the future - I'll go and devour some of the material that you linked to now.

I notice that you respond to many (all??) of the threads on here. Do any members of the Photosynth team frequent these forums? (serious questions).

jamiet (Over 1 year ago)
"I know I would be happy to use my machines to compute putting others' synths together like SETI@home."
Absolutely! Me too! Crowdsourcing the building of "supersynths" is the way forward!
Nathanael (Over 1 year ago)
=) Sometimes it feels like every topic, but I try to be quiet whenever I don't know where a specific answer is. I suppose I answer in case no one else does.

Several Photosynth team members post here, some more frequently than others as their small team is responsible for creating new features, maintaining the website, fixing bugs in the synther, viewer, and website, providing their own customer service, as well as publicity via the Photosynth blog and the forums. Pretty exhausting responsibilities for what is not a massive team!

I don't have a full list anywhere, but TonyErnst is probably the most active these days. Others include: adam_mitchell55, AdamSynth, Bert, Blaise, David, Douglas, Drew, Gfxblit, Greg, HouDan, Jonathan, Joshua, K, KevinH,  MaDeeds, Marvin, Nathan, Peter, Scott, Shail.

Other interesting people (although not strictly on the Photosynth team in an 'answer your questions' sort of way) include: Noah, Rick, GWF, BillCrow, Don, + Lutz.
Nathanael (Over 1 year ago)
I had also intended to find you the quotes from Blaise's lectures, but am finding myself a bit busy. If you've read much else around here you may have already run across these links, but I'm fairly certain that he mentions linking synths together both times. 

I'm certain that he does in the second where he mentions that "the wisdom of crowds" doesn't necessarily pan out when trying to use standard internet photo collections to reconstruct the world, and that the individual person purposefully and systematically taking photos specifically for synthing actually trumps the crowd. He then mentions that "a crowd of individuals" still holds promise, though, meaning multiple users who each know how to shoot a good synth, having all of their synths begin to integrate.

Keep an eye in March on MIX10 (maybe) and O'Reilly Where 2.0 2010 (definitely) for new information.
TonyErnst (Over 1 year ago)
Jaimie, yes we do read the forums.  It just seems that Nathanael beats us to replying about 90% of the time.  Which is a probably a good thing as he excels at it, and crafters of elegant and informative prose we ain't (too much time spent crafting pixels I guess).  There are also some topics, like this one, where there is a bit of conjecture happening, and we need to play it a bit coy so as to not give too much away about what we may, or may not, be working on.  Rest assured you are being heard so keep the comments and suggestions coming.

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