Increasing Access to Hidden Gems: Using Photosynth to Explore Georgetown University's Carroll Parlor
Photosynth is a software application from Microsoft that creates an explorable virtual environment similar to a panorama that can be embedded on a web page; however, unlike a panorama, which is shot from a single point of view, the software can stitch together photos taken from multiple perspectives or at different times. The end-product permits the viewer to explore objects in a room from different angles and distances, allowing the exploration of complex groupings of items in a more natural way.
For the demonstration, over 300 photos of Carroll Parlor were taken, a room that has been maintained as a traditional Victorian parlor and which houses highlights from the Georgetown University Art Collection including painting, sculptures, furniture and other artifacts. The resulting product was then embedded on a web page maintained by the Art Collection, where virtual visitors can explore the room, thus increasing access to a room that is typically only open to visitors 15 hours a week.
In addition to demonstrating how the basic process works, best practices for taking photos in order to create a successful “synth” will be explained. The manner by which metadata , geographical information, and points of interest can be attached to the synth to create a more curated experience will be demonstrated. Methods of navigating the synth will be shown, including using slideshow and point cloud views as well as the native Photosynth controls, and examples of synths from other institutions will be explored in order to highlight the different ways that synths are being employed. Finally, system requirements for the software and embedding the end-product in a web page will be discussed.