Topic: Can't Open Synth with SeaDragon

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photo_dog (Over 1 year ago)
Hi All,

I love the photosynth app with my iPhone 3gs!

However after adding my PhotoSynth user name to SeaDragon it shows my images but won't open them.

Anyone else had this issue and if so what did you do to overcome it?

photo_dog (Over 1 year ago)
I am able to open other peoples PhotoSynth content through SeaDragon iPhone app just not my own. :(
Nathanael (Over 1 year ago)
Photo Dog, are you saying that you still have the "Seadragon Mobile" app for your iPhone? I thought that that had been removed from the marketplace. Exactly what app are you having troubles with?

The Photosynth site currently hosts two different imagery formats: photosynths and panoramas.

The "Seadragon Mobile" app only opened the photos in photosynths and only in 2D.

The "iSynth" app opens photos and point clouds in photosynths in 3D, but only low-res versions of the photos. It does not open panoramas as it was made before the Photosynth website supported panoramas.

The "Photosynth" app opens full resolution panoramas, but does not open photosynths.

You can also use your mobile "Safari" web browser to open low resolution versions of panoramas (but not photosynths... yet).

Hopefully that clears things up a little. Write me back if not.
photo_dog (Over 1 year ago)
Thanks Nathaniel,

I looked into it a bit further last night and realized what you said. SeaDragon can't open the photosynths but will open photosynth user's panoramas or image collections.

Also found out that Bing has absorbed SeaDragon and killed it off. A shame if you ask me. 

The iPhone app is great. You can upload batches of files and then view them SeaDragon style from the iPhone.

Thanks again for the answer.


photo_dog (Over 1 year ago)
Also, Safari seems to open synths as well so until PhotoSynth supports viewing other user's content that's the easiest way to do it.
Nathanael (Over 1 year ago)
Hi, Photo Dog. 

I think you may have understood some of what I was saying, but there seems to be a little confusion on your part about the terms we're using. The things that you are creating and uploading with the Photosynth mobile app on your iPhone and viewing in Safari and the Photosynth app are panoramas - not photosynths.

I don't want to be a killjoy, but I do want to be quite clear. A panorama is not a photosynth and a photosynth is not a single panorama. 

A panorama is photos all taken at a single location, looking in all directions and merged into a single chunk of photography. (Ideally, when shooting a panorama, you keep the camera's lens at the same point in the air to capture every direction. More on that here: + )

On iOS devices, panoramas: 
Cannot be viewed in Seadragon Mobile or iSynth
Can be viewed in Mobile Safari or Photosynth
Nathanael (Over 1 year ago)
A photosynth is a collection of photos taken at many *different locations*, all looking at at least one subject (possibly more than one). 

Since the photos are all taken at different perspectives, there is no way to merge the photos into a single chunk of photography without distorting them, so they are kept separate. What taking photos from many different points of view allows, however, is for Photosynth to start reconstructing a rough 3D model of the subject of the photography. This is something that no panorama does.

For example, if you view this link on a Mac or a Windows computer, you'll see my photosynth 'Orbital Propulsion (Gravity Assist)'. 
If you're using a Windows computer that has the Photosynth app for Windows installed on it, you can use this link in Internet Explorer:
If you want to see it on an iPhone, you'll need iSynth ( ) and search for 'Orbital' and you'll find it.
Nathanael (Over 1 year ago)
On iOS devices, for photosynths: 
>> Seadragon Mobile will open the full resolution photos, but not in 3D and cannot open the point clouds.
>> iSynth will open the photos in 3D with the point cloud, but does not use Seadragon to view the full resolution photos.
>> The Photosynth app and Mobile Safari cannot yet open photosynths.
Nathanael (Over 1 year ago)
Seadragon Mobile was just an experimental app to show that the technology could be done. 

It was created in Microsoft Live Labs by Ben Vanik, but when Live Labs shut its doors in November of 2010 after their leader, Gary Flake, resigned from Microsoft, the Seadragon app was pulled from the store (because the team that created it no longer existed to support or update it). It seems a little unfair to say that Bing killed it as even Live Labs never really updated the app after 2008.

Seadragon, the technology, is still used in Microsoft Silverlight for Macs + Windows, only it goes under the name 'Deep Zoom'. Bing Maps uses it at

The Seadragon technology is used in almost all official Photosynth viewers. This includes the Direct3D synth viewer for Windows, The Silverlight viewer for Windows + Macs, + the Photosynth mobile panorama app for iPhone + Windows Phone.
Nathanael (Over 1 year ago)
Sorry that last link should be
GigaView (Over 1 year ago)
Nate, only one correction in the awesome information you've backed MS up with on this:  The SeaDragon app did indeed view gigapixel panoramas extraordinarily well.  It allowed you to connect to to view the panos there with deep zoom capability.  My favorite demo is on the world's largest photograph (currently Alfred Zhao's Shangai).  At some point though, I managed to delete my link to it and have forgotten how I got it in the first place.  If you could point to someplace where I may find out how to get it back, it would be much appreciated.

Thanks, Thomas
Nathanael (Over 1 year ago)
Right, Thomas, I agree that it opened panoramas projected into a single orginary flat photo like the ones hosted on GigaPan, but it wouldn't have loaded any cube-mapped panoramas like the Photosynth site began hosting in March of 2010. One of the things that jumped out at me as soon as I used the Seadragon Mobile app was that it didn't do any of the 3D movement of the photos that the regular Seadragon demos did. Instead, it kept everything on a 2D surface. (This is why it never loaded synths in 3D.)

It wasn't that it would have been technically impossible to load cube mapped panos (as the current official 'Photosynth' app for iOS proves). It was only that the Seadragon Mobile app never had any updates to open cube-mapped panos. So if you've connected your Photosynth account to it and you're clicking on the panoramas hosted on your (or anyone else's) Photosynth account, thinking that you're going to be opening 'a synth' and it doesn't work... well, that's why.
Nathanael (Over 1 year ago)
As far as getting the Seadragon Mobile link back on your phone, you may be out of luck, since it was removed from the App Store. From what Jeremy is reporting in this discussion ( ), it may not be possible to put the app on phones that didn't install it before it was removed from the app store, either, unfortunately.

If you'd like to try anyway, I did find an old copy of the app in my iTunes\Mobile Applications folder on my computer from an old sync of my former iPhone 3. It's only 1.0, so if anyone else has an updated copy of the app, please let me know and I'll put it up in my Photosynth folder instead. Here's what I've got, though.!1079#

If you were looking for Daniel Gasienica's link to translate GigaPan URLs to Seadragon indexes, here it is:
vinaykrypton (Over 1 year ago)
Hii ! seem,s Good. Thanks Vinay from Outsourcing Android Mobile Application Development

 Team, KryptonSoft, India
netscapes (Over 1 year ago)
Hi, Nathanael
I went to this address for getting the Seadragon copy!1079#
But it seems it was deleted. 
Could you help me to get the copy?
Many thanks,

Nathanael (Over 1 year ago)
Hey, Tim, sorry about the trouble.
I guess I'd switched the folder permissions from public to only for myself at some point.
I've made it public again, so just retry the link and download the 'Seadragon 1.0.ipa' file.