Virtual Earth 3D Tours: starting to get the hang of it

We got our first glimpse of Virtual Earth 3D Tours at Searchification, but it wasn’t much more that a glimpse, and when it went public we were scrambling a bit to get it figured out and get a post up all at the same time. Well since then we’ve checked out a few collections that seemed to do more than the one we quickly put together, and when Laura Foy over at Channel 10 posted a video featuring Steve Lombardi things started to make a little more sense.


Click on the picture to watch Laura’s report on VE 3D on Ch 10

So this time I went back and edited the little collection I threw together, touring some Microsoft landmarks, cleaned up the views a bit and captured the whole thing in a .wmv file, which I uploaded to MSN Soapbox.

Some notes on the whole process:

  • Definitely some quirks in the system. I kept getting duplicates of collection items, still not sure how, but they were easy enough to delete.
  • Would have been fun to start with a “world view” and zoom in to Redmond. That may be possible by capturing an initial pushpin, but it seems like it should be an option. Obviously a lot more playing around to do (and if you’ve been playing with Virtual Earth 3D, leave comments on what you’ve learned!).
  • I wasn’t very successful capturing a Bird’s Eye view at a distance I wanted in the collection. Bird’s Eye captures reverted to a high-level view.
  • I was able to move across the Red West campus by placing more than one pushpin, but I could see an immediate desire to follow a set of driving directions, which doesn’t seem to be supported as of yet.
  • The video recording process is a bit slow, but you are warned about it, and offered a chance to cancel.
  • Capturing the tour in video gives a much more complete rendering of the scenes, at least on my system. If you look carefully at the end during the “Red West spin” sequence, you’ll be able to see the top of Mt. Rainier in the distance, as well as quite a bit more detail in general.
  • And for any Microsoft purists out there, my naming techniques on the buildings were quick and dirty.  The titles show up on the video but not on the collection when viewed in Virtual Earth 3D (but in VE 3D you get the details with extra picture etc that you don’t see in the movie)

Here’s the link to the collection:!562&encType=1

And here’s the video I uploaded to Soapbox. Came in at 2 minutes and 34 seconds, at 13.5mb for the .wmv:

(note: I haven’t had a lot of success accessing the video from Soapbox as I was posting this, here’s hoping it shows up for you ðŸ˜‰ )

Video: LiveSide Tour of Microsoft from Virtual Earth 3D

All in all it is an impressive set of tools. Next I need to learn more about 3DVia, and continue to build my secret entrance into Red West (which Sarah used as her screenshot over on on10, which I thought was kind of funny ;).