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Around the world in minutes!

Credit crunch cramping your travel plans? This aerial virtual tour of New York City lets you glide over the Big Apple as if you were a hovering bird. Go globe-net-trotting with us...

india Updated: May 11, 2009 21:55 IST

Credit crunch cramping your travel plans? This aerial virtual tour of New York City lets you glide over the Big Apple as if you were a hovering bird.

The photography by Oleg Gaponyuk and Andrei Zubets was turned into this digital, interactive presentation by John Colebrook in a website (www.virtualnyctour.com).

The virtual aerial tour of NYC lets you soar above Central Park, check out the shopping strip on 5th Avenue, and take in the dazzling view of New York’s harbor. If you wait long enough, you’ll even see a man looking out a skyscraper window in the closeup view, presumably one of the creators.

The virtual NYC tour lets you choose your spotting point, including from the Empire State Building, Central Park, Brooklyn Bridge, Times Square, Chrysler Building, Downtown and Governor's Island.

Globe-net-trotting
Similarly, Microsoft has enhanced its Virtual Earth online mapping service with Photosynth technology that melds pictures to create 3D views of places and spaces.

The move allows businesses or government agencies to provide virtual tours of locations displayed online with 360-degree views.

“The integration of Photosynth into Virtual Earth marks an important step in enabling businesses to use Photosynth in a relevant, customer-friendly way”" said Microsoft Mapping and Local Search general manager Jeff Kelisky.

“Our Virtual Earth partners have great tools for creating, sharing, viewing and embedding synths across multiple platforms, and building engaging experiences,” he said.

US space agency NASA and British tourism business VisitBrighton put Microsoft’s new Virtual Earth offering to work prior to the public launch.

“This stunning collection of photographs using Microsoft Photosynth ... technology provides people around the world with an exciting new way to explore the International Space Station,” said NASA Ames Research Center director Pete Worden. “This collaboration with Microsoft offers the public the opportunity to participate in future exploration using this innovative technology.”

VisitBrighton is using Virtual Earth 3D imagery to entice tourists with displays of the city's attractions.Photosynth can be used for immersive virtual tours of real estate for sale as well as letting people interactively browse aisles of stores presented at Virtual Earth, according to Microsoft.

Photosynth software analyzes digital photographs and generates 3D models by ‘stitching’ the photos together to create seamless views. These models, dubbed ‘synths’, are viewed using Microsoft’s Silverlight technology.

“With the integration of Photosynth into Virtual Earth, customers will be able to create detailed 3-D views of anything from places to products and from hotels to homes,” Microsoft said.