The old adage about a picture being worth a thousand words has a whole new meaning now. A small but steadily growing community of VR (virtual reality) photographers are providing 3-D interactive "snapshots," each of which provides several million times the data of a static photograph — a trillion word's worth?
One can imagine a lofty long-term vision of the the 360Cities company, based in the Netherlands, which has begun to build from the ground up a virtual digital replica of Planet Earth. Every image is geocoded and given time, much cheaper memory storage, and lots of money, an array of sequential images could theoretically be knit together. So in addition to being able to pan around and look up and down, you could also move forward or backward in space, jumping from one image to the next.
360cities.net is linked up with Google Earth, so you can visit the map, and click on each country to see the VR photos available — forests, glaciers, deserts and even coral reefs. Watch out, you may be spending WAY more time on this site than you planned.
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