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I am wondering if anyone has recommendations for good ways to display either panos or individual pictures to show change over time from the same location.
Do you have some photos that you have in mind that you want to try this on? I remember listening to Noah Snavely's presentation of the original 'Photo Tourism' research at University of Washington and Microsoft Research where he shows a famous photo that Ansel Adams took of Half Dome in Yellowstone National Park and it matched to other photos of Half Dome from the internet.
I know that others have had this idea as well and used photos of a particular subject taken at random times by people who had no idea that their photo that they later uploaded would be photosynthed. This is really the essence of Photosynth - to show photos taken by different people at different times and at different perspectives (and with different cameras), all living in the same space and automatically connected.
If you'd like to try this, you'll need to use the Photosynth app for Windows. It currently only uses regular photos, not panos, but it will do it.
Several of us in the community have requested that the Photosynth app for Windows be able to register multiple panoramas in addition to multiple photos.
It gets a little confusing because the mobile 'Photosynth' app for iOS only creates and opens panoramas and doesn't open photosynths at all. You currently need the iSynth ( http://bit.ly/isynth ) app for iOS to see any photosynths on an iPhone.
I don't have doubt that the Photosynth team intends to eventually allow you to move between different panoramas and photos uploaded by all different users (see this discussion for more on that: http://getsatisfaction.com/livelabs/topics/linking_synths ). In fact, after a couple of years of silence on the matter, they recently announced that they're working on Bing's Read/Write World project which aims to do exactly this sort of transition between multiple panos, photography, etc. ( http://bit.ly/readwriteworld ), but it's anyone's guess as to when this will launch.
As to practical advice for showing change over time, if you're going to be using normal photos in the Windows Photosynth app and your primary motive is showing change over time, then be sure to name your photos in such a way that they display in the chronological order when you sort them alpha-numerically. That way, you can use the fullstop [.] and comma [,] keys to move forward and backward through time instead of moving through space (which will be Photosynth's default image order).
We (the public) don't have the ability, yet, to move between panoramas, either in the public web viewers or the mobile app, so it's a little harder to offer solid advice there, but I think that if it were me, I would want to use a tripod to put the camera on each time that I take a pano and I would want some way to mark the points on the ground where my tripod legs had stood so that when I can finally crossfade between panos, there is the possibility of doing so seamlessly.
A few things to note is that using lots of photos taken from the same point of view/perspective/position won't get you very good 3D reconstruction (the point cloud in a photosynth).
See EdLee's 'Santa Barbara Courthouse Fountain Sculpture Statue' http://photosynth.net/view.aspx?cid=9b66eabf-4f39-4653-a710-31c497a2a1df for an example, if you're not already familiar with Photosynth's point clouds. You'll need to use a Windows, MacOSX, or Linux machine or the iSynth app on iOS to view it).
This video is also informative: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=6cnP8FqRoPI
If you're new to the desktop version of Photosynth, it is definitely different to taking a good panorama with the mobile app. Here's the link to the official Photosynth Photography Guide in several languages: http://photosynth.net/help.aspx#photosynthhelp
For more thoughts on shooting specifically for 3D reconstruction, see http://bit.ly/sinkorsynth and http://bit.ly/shootingforreconstruction
I will try your suggestion about fullstop and comma for time series.
I am an ecologist and work on landscape change over time. I am in the process of doing 360degree photomonitoring of sites that I work at. I use a panohead tripod and an SLR. My before after photopoints are identical. My goal is to have a platform that allows the viewer to move back and forth between times.
An example of an excellent 2d time series slider is here http://www.geoeye.com/CorpSite/promotions/Image_Slider.aspx
I am curious if you know of good examples of display between times either on photosynth or elsewhere.
Farinosa, I haven't ever spent any time trying to hunt down or bookmark synths that show change over time. That doesn't mean that they don't exist, though.
These aren't very good examples, I'm afraid, but they are what I could think of off the top of my head.
Here's a synth with historical photos of Houdini jumping off a bridge mixed with current photos of the bridge. Since too much visual change had occurred over time, the synth's author used a photo editor beforehand to crossfade some of the historical photos onto the current day ones and then uploaded those edited ones along with the originals.
Here's a synth comprised of two separate sets of photos of a back yard shed: one taken during a May of 2009 and the other taken in January of 2011:
Here's a synth of the sort I described above: comprised of random photos scraped from flickr by Robert Sprout and then synthed:
Lastly, here's a preview of things to come in Bing Maps/Read Write World where a geotagged Flickr historical photo was synthed onto a Streetside panorama:
The challenge with synthing change over time is always that Photosynth's matching works by finding visual textures/patterns that are the same. If too much has changed, then the matching will fail. Here are some thoughts I published a while ago on the subject: http://photosynth.ning.com/forum/topics/adding-bing-and-google-earth
My reply to Gary there sounds a little pessimistic, but remember that Christo27's summer/winter shed synth worked when I encouraged him to try it, so synths showing the visual growth of a place is not an unreasonable goal.
I confess that my interest in synthing lies more in the direction of creating a complete point cloud representation of an environment such that any personal photo taken by anyone could easily match into it, so this is about the extent that I am able to help you on your quest.
David Gedye (head of the Photosynth team) and Blaise Agüera y Arcas are often asked about having a time sorting element to Photosynth and they have expressed a desire to pursue that. You can read one of David's comments to that effect on the Houdini synth. Blaise and Avi Bar Zeev have also mentioned that time is an essential dimension in their Read/Write World project (which is essentially the bringing to fruition of many of the initial vision for Photosynth).
I really do feel that you're onto something great here, so if my answer leaves you wanting more, then by all means, shoot the Photosynth guys an email if you don't get a reply here. http://photosynth.net/contactus.aspx
Farinosa, I was recently looking at some old Quicktime VR panoramas at this link:
...and happened to come across some panoramas with linked navigation and was reminded of your request.
Example 1: http://www.proxima-veritati.auckland.ac.nz/insula9/pano_pages/Room_08_Then_Now.html
Example 2: http://www.proxima-veritati.auckland.ac.nz/insula9/pano_pages/Room_11_Then_Now.html