'I want to stand with you on a mountain', so go the lines of a classic romantic number by Savage Garden. But if the arduous trek up to the top keeps you from making the journey of a lifetime, there is an alternative that could ensure that you enjoy the view without much effort. Just log on to one of the many websites that offer you a ringside view of beautiful artwork, glaciers, volcano eruptions and even a glimpse of the stratosphere. And all this can be done without leaving the comforts and convenience of your home.
The latest entrant to jump on the virtual tourism bandwagon is Internet Explorer 10’s project, Everest: Rivers of Ice. Completed in partnership with mountaineer David Breashears and his foundation, GlacierWorks, it lets visitors enjoy the peaks and valleys of the Everest region through sweeping multi-touch HTML panoramas. “Through the use of video, gigapixel images, comparative photography and hot spot overlays, the site allows you to explore Everest and its glaciers and valleys via a web platform, built for touch and the modern web — letting you get up close to the mountain in ways never before thought possible,” wrote IE director Roger Capriotti in a blog post.
A simple tap or pan lets you fly across panoramic views of Everest. To explore an area, peak or base camp, simply draw a circle around a part of the photo and the site will automatically zoom into what you want to explore.
The project marks the 60th anniversary of Sir Edmund Hillary and Tenzing Norgay reaching Mt Everest. A documentary also highlights the effects of global warming on the Himalayas and talks about disappearing glaciers in the region.
Climb to the top:
If tourists want to explore peaks beyond IE’s Rivers Of Ice, Google Street View has added views from some of the world’s tallest mountains to its online map service. Some of the mountain ranges featured include, Aconcagua in South America, Kilimanjaro in Africa, Mount Elbrus in Europe, and the Mt Everest base camp in Nepal. This imager was collected with a simple lightweight tripod and digital camera with a fisheye lens.
A project by AirPano takes you into space, literally. The website maintained by a group of Russian photographers and panorama enthusiasts offers 3D tours of the most interesting places of our planet. And one of the more intriguing projects includes a trip into Earth’s stratosphere. An out-of-the-world view is now no longer out of reach.
Walk of ART:
The Google Art Project allows you to explore art collections from around the world. This one-of-its-kind project features renowned museums like The Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York, The National Gallery in London, The Palace of Versailles in France, Museo Reina Sofia in Madrid and Van Gogh Museum in Amsterdam. India’s National Museum features in this esteemed line-up. And more art collections and museums are added daily. Also, a tie-up with Street View means visitors can take a virtual walk around some museums.
Watch it erupt:
In 2012, Ploskiy Tolbachik Volcano at Kamchatka erupted. While volcanic activity still persists in the region, it is possible to go back in time and relive that explosion and see the cascading lava spill out. This panorama, captured by a team from AirPano, can be opened in several different resolutions depending on the speed of your Internet connection.
Disappointed fans who have missed out on London 2012 or who may want to relive the best outing India has ever had at the Olympics, can now take a virtual tour of the Queen Elizabeth Olympic Park. Noordinarypark.co.uk offers panoramic views of the area. The velodrome, aquatics centre, and Riverbank Arena are just some of the memorable stadia on display.