An Introduction to the Grand Canyon Panorama Project
The following is a transcript of this video – An Introduction to the Grand Canyon Panorama Project. Click on the embedded play button to start it. The video is high definition, and I recommend that you click on the expand button in the lower right-hand corner to play the video full screen.
Hello and welcome to the Grand Canyon Panorama Project. This introductory video will give you the basics on how to view and enjoy the project.
Here we are seeing the home page for the project on the web at gcpano.org. Right now we’re going to use the simplest way to enter the project – just click or tap on the big, circular Enter button floating above the panorama previews at the top of the page.
And in we go, and we have landed at Ooh Aah Point on the South Kaibab Trail. After a few seconds the panorama starts showing itself off, spinning on its own. But you can take control and explore on your own whenever you like. Just click or touch and drag on the panorama to look in any direction, down, up, whatever you like. Notice that the panorama pauses when you are done dragging, but it resumes spinning on it’s own within a few seconds.
You can also zoom in and out within the scene. I’m using my mouse wheel to zoom in on O’Neill Butte, but you can also zoom in and out by clicking or tapping on the plus and minus zoom in and out buttons in the upper right-hand corner of the screen, as I am doing now to zoom back out. You can see again that the panorama resumes spinning on its own after a few seconds.
If you want to turn off automatic spinning so you can focus in some part of the scene for some time, you can do so by using the auto-spin toggle button in the lower right-hand corner of the page. Notice that it is pushed – click or tap on it to turn it off, as I am doing now.
Now notice the view buttons in the lower left-hand corner of the page, which here in this panorama say Morning, Afternoon, Sunrise, and Map, with Morning currently selected. Click on Afternoon or Sunrise, as I am doing now, clicking on Sunrise, and the scene changes to another panorama shot at the exact same location, but at a different time. Not all panoramas have multiple scenes like this one at Ooh Aah Point, and if there is just a single scene available at the location then you will only see the Map button. I’ll talk more about the Map button another time.
Now let’s go back to those toggle buttons in the lower right-hand corner of the screen. If you push the button with the orange dot, we see that a whole bunch of orange dots have appeared within the panorama. Each of those dots represent the location of another panorama that you can click on and go visit. I’ve clicked on a dot, and we get a prompt with the name of the panorama location. I’ve clicked on the prompt, and off we go! When we land at the new location, we are looking right back at where we came from, Ooh Aah Point, with a flashing green dot marking the location. We could now look around here to our heart’s content, but I’m just going to click on the Ooh Aah Point orange dot and take us back there for now.
Notice that some of the dots are solid orange, while others are translucent orange ‘ghost’ dots. The project is ongoing, and some panoramas are complete and available in the project, while others await completion. Solid orange dots are for available, completed panoramas that you can click on and go visit. The ghost dots are for coming attractions. Click on one of them, and you will be given the choice of leaving the project to go visit a page for the future panorama, where you can see the raw pictures from the location that will be in time be stitched together to create a new panorama within the project.
Now let’s go back to the next toggle button in the lower right-hand corner of the screen – the white dot with the letter ‘i’. I’m going to click on it, and now the orange dots have been replaced with white ‘i’ dots, i for information. Click on an information dot and you are asking – what is this? And the project answers you, here telling you that you are looking at O’Neill Butte. Let’s do one more – what’s that pointy thing off towards the east? Click and you learn that it is Vishnu Temple.
Finally, if you choose, instead of exploring the panorama scene on your own, you can take a guided tour. Click or tap on the play button at the bottom of the screen, and a narrated, guided tour of the scene will begin. I or someone else will talk you through the scene. You can’t hear the narration since I’ve turned it off for the purposes of this introduction, but if you could you’d here me talking about what you are seeing – the visible features, geology, the plants, or maybe some history of the canyon, or maybe some of my personal experiences related to the spot. Notice that with the panorama playing that the controls on the page you had to explore the scene are gone – the narrative is now in control, and not you. But you do have video-like controls:
- The square green button to stop playing the panorama and take back control to explore on your own,
- A progress bar that allows you to jump to another position within the narrative, and
- A pause button.
Click the pause button, as I am doing now, and you take back control. All the exploration controls are back, but the narration buttons have changed: the stop button remains, but you also have a resume button, which will restart the narration just where you left off. In fact if you start exploring and wander off to some other panorama location, as I am doing now, see that the stop and resume buttons are still there, even though we’ve changed location, and a bit of text reminds you what narration that you were playing when you paused. Click on the resume button and back you go – back to the same narrative, at the same project location, and at the same position within the narration where you left off.
Most narratives are about 3 or 4 minutes long. I’m going to click on the progress bar to take us just before the end of the narration. And we see that when it reaches the end that you return to exploring the panorama on your own. And again, do note that the project is ongoing. Not all panoramas within the project are narrated. If a panorama does not have a narration, the play button at the center of the bottom of the page will be grayed out. But with your patience, and support, eventually every panorama and map within the project will be narrated.
Well that’s enough for now. You can explore around within this How To section for more videos and more detailed information on how to enjoy the Grand Canyon Panorama Project.