Monday, August 01, 2016

Virtual Reality Mapping

I've been thinking a little bit today about how to display maps in virtual reality. Greenpeace's use of a map superimposed on top of a 360 degree panoramic video in Gestrandete Wale points to how maps can be superimposed on top of a cube map in a VR scene.

Another method might be to place a map on the 'ground' in a 360 degree panorama. In other words a user interaction of looking down in a VR environment map can be used to reveal a map of the VR world. You can actually see an example of this in a new promotional website for the movie The Legend of Tarzan.

When you share your location with The Legend of Tarzan you enter a 360 degree panoramic jungle scene. This scene includes superimposed links to visit other interactive content about the movie. However, if you look down at the ground, you can view an interactive map which shows the nearest cinemas to your location, where the movie is currently showing.

I suspect that this Legend of Tarzan website might be UK only. If sharing your location with the site doesn't work then try entering a UK postcode instead ('RH10 5LU' worked for me).

Creating a panoramic cube map is now fairly straightforward using WebGL. Adding a static map to a panoramic scene should also be very simple. It can be done by simply superimposing a static map on top of one of the six images which make up your panoramic environment. Adding an interactive map to a panoramic scene will take a little more work.
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