Virtual Tours of your Business
Why are 360-deg photos and virtual tours so important?
- FACT: Most people will find your business with Google
- FACT: Most people will look at photos of your business on Google Maps, before visiting your web site or Facebook page
- FACT: Photos on Google Maps are often uploaded by the public, be unremarkable, and make a poor first impression.
- FACT: 360-deg photos look amazing and professional and can be linked together into an interactive “virtual tour” that engages people, and showcases your business.
A 360-degree virtual tour gives your potential customers a chance to look around your business using their PC or a smartphone, and, Google Maps Street View. Have a look at some examples:
Street View tour. Drag the image to move around, click the arrows to move through the tour
Why you should get a 360-deg Virtual Tour?
- Showcase what you sell or do, 24 hours a day.
- Reveal the wider range of products and services you offer. More than just a photo.
- Transparency: Show that you have nothing to hide.
- Engage your customers by satisfying their curiosity.
- Circumvent health and safety: Let people see what’s going on without needing a hard hat.
- Document/Archive/Survey: Provide an illustrated record
- Familiarisation, so people feel that they are there.
- More than just a map
- See also: “Local Searches and Google Maps: The benefits“
How do I make your 360-deg Virtual Tour?
- I visit your business
- I take photos using my 360-degree camera.
- Off site, I check, and if necessary, edit the location and quality of every image
- I orientate and connect the images together into a tour
- I upload the images and tour details to Google Street View
- After 24-48 hours, the virtual tour is available to anyone using Google Maps and a PC, smartphone or tablet. You do not need any special software.
- Google Street View images can be embedded on your website (such as the example above)̣ Details here.
- You can also host your virtual tour on your web site, in your content management system (WordPress, Drupal and Joomla), and a single 360-deg panorama can be uploaded to Facebooḳ
- It is best to visit your business when visitor numbers are low, as we’d want to take a photo with no-one else in the room
- Tidy your rooms before we arrive!
- Rooms should be well lit.
- Photos are generally taken with a camera on a tripod, and a remote (so we can get out of shot)
- Photos are taken 1-10m apart. Photos that are 3 metres apart are a good spacing. You can have less, or more.
- Your 360-degree virtual tour is hosted on Google Maps/Street View. It generally works well.
- You can embed a Google tour on your own website (as you can see above). Details here.
- Google determines the initial orientation of any image people find via Google Maps/Street View. Currently this can not be changed, so it could be a view of a wall, or, if it is an outside shot, a photo of your competition!
- Our 360-deg images are about 100 megapixels, with a full 360-deg field of view horizontally and vertically.
- If you rotate an image and look downwards towards the nadir, you may see either (a) parts of the tripod stand, and/or the photographer (b) Our attempts to edit out the tripod/photographer (c) Our logo. This part of the image may not be perfect.
- Camera used: XPhase Pro S, which uses 25 lenses to make 100 megapixels (14000 x 7000) images
- In order to get the photos to connect properly, Google recommends that outside photos are taken about 3 metres apart, and inside photos about 1 metre apart. But we have been successful with images that are 10m apart
- A shoot takes about five minutes per photo. It might take longer if there are lots of people around, it might be quicker if everything works first time.
- I won’t do an outdoor shoot if
- It is raining, as there will be raindrops on the lens that distort the images, and your business won’t look as good as it could be
- It is too windy; the tripod can blow over or wobble too much.
- Post editing of the images (I mainly use Adobe Lightroom and Adobe Photoshop) takes up to four times as much time again, and may include:
- Reducing the light level of over-exposured highlights
- Boosting the light levels of shadows
- Tweaking the white, black, colours, and overall exposure
- Increasing the colour temperature for warmth
- Checking that the seams between the image from different lenses have not produced a visible seam
- Checking and blurring out inappropriate imagery (eg. license plates, faces of the public, anything that may be considered offensive)
- Pano2VR software enables the creation of your virtual tour, including:
- Checking that the horizon of each image is levelled correctly
- Checking that the location of each image is correct
- Specifying links between image panoramas
- Associating your virtual tour with your business
- Optionally adding descriptive labels (eg. kitchen department)
- Optionally adding floor levels (eg. Ground floor, first floor)
- Uploading your virtual tour to Google Maps
- Once your tour has been uploaded to Google Maps, it typically takes 24-48 hours before your image appears, and a further 24 hours before the links start working. It has been known to take a few hours, or a week or so. Sometimes, Google Maps does not connect the odd image, which is beyond our control.
- After you have viewed your tour, I am happy to make some corrections (eg. a face that has not been blurred), but if a bottle of fizzy drink accidentally gets into shot, I probably won’t remove it!
- I am not responsible for issues caused by Google, so if Google Maps or part of your tour becomes unavailable, we’ll just have to wait until it is fixed. I will of course investigate, and do my best to resolve such issues.
- If in doubt, ask!
Virtual Tour Main Features
High-resolution images enable you to zoom in a see more detail
(14,000 x 7,000)
Viewable on PCs, smartphones and tablets from anywhere in the world with an Internet connection.
Some virtual tours require Adobe Flash. The software is being discontinued at the end of 2020 (reference), and our virtual tours do not require it.
Comparison with other media
|Photos||Video||360-deg Virtual Tour|
|User engagement||A little||Some||Yes|
|360-deg virtual tour||
30 mins free travel per 10 image
|£20 per 30 minutes|
|Add your company logo to the nadir (lowest point) of each image||£50|
These are one-off charges. There is no subscription, re-occuring or additional costs.
Google Street View
Local Guide – Level 8
Over 30 million views
Over 37,000 points