BBC and Microsoft deliver virtual historic tours

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BBC and Microsoft deliver virtual historic tours

UK - Microsoft Live Labs is collaborating with the BBC in a time-limited technical trial to launch unique 3D photographic representations of historic sites throughout the UK.

The online 3D viewer uses Microsoft's Photosynth technology and will be available in conjunction with the BBC's How We Built Britain series. 

Visitors to the Photosynth site will be able to explore a building by clicking and dragging the mouse, zooming in to smallest decorative detail, or zooming out and panning through 360 degrees to place the building in a wider context. 

Adam Sheppard, group product manager at Microsoft Live Labs, said that users could find themselves "spending hours walking in the footsteps of the photographer and exploring minute details of the 3D environment".

Visitors will be able to explore representations of Ely Cathedral, Burghley House, the Royal Crescent in Bath, the Scottish Parliament and Blackpool Tower Ballroom.

"This opportunity with the BBC allowed us to test the limits of the Photosynth technology by integrating photographs from decades ago of the UK's historic sites along with those of the general public today," said Sheppard.

"We are very eager to see how people tell their stories with this new interactive medium."

The BBC will also have units on location at each of the historic sites to collect images from tourists visiting the sites. The Photosynth site will be updated during the television series with a selection of these images.

Historical and user-submitted images will be integrated into the 'synths' to compare how people interacted with the locations in the past and present.
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