I got a quick taste of what it was like to be a part of a 360 tour photo project — you know, like you’d see on your favorite search website’s street mapping tool — only it was done by a local company and there were no streets. They are mapping the James River.
This summer, Richmond-based Outside Ventures, LLC and the James River Association is working on a groundbreaking project to capture the scenery of the James River in a completely new way allowing online viewers to explore the entire 340-mile length of the James River through high-resolution, 360-degree panoramic images. They said the “Tour of the James” will be the first comprehensive photo documentary of an entire river and will allow the viewer to travel from the headwaters of the James River to its mouth at the Chesapeake Bay.
Six cameras mounted on a stainless steel housing 10 feet above the water’s surface will capture panoramic photos every 30 feet from a custom-made pontoon raft floating down river (see the photos, linked at left). These high-resolution photos will then be stitched together to create a 360-degree augmented reality map of the river corridor. For examples of other 360-degree tours, visitterrain360.com.
The Tour of the James was initiated as a result of Envision the James, a collaborative effort between National Geographic, the Chesapeake Conservancy and JRA. It is the hope that the Tour of the James will share the river experience with a wider audience; empowering Virginians to further explore the wild beauty of the James River. The project will include a virtual and interactive interpretation of natural, recreational and historic features in the river corridor, such as notable rapids, boat ramps and Civil War sites.