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The FlyAbout system uses spatially indexed panoramic video to create an interactive, photographic "virtual reality" system. By recording both FlyCam panoramic video and location data along interesting paths, the video can be accessed by spatial location using a map or "driving" interface.

Panoramic video is captured by a moving a 360° camera along continuous paths, and replayed to give users the experience of moving along those trajectories, and the ability to view any interesting object or direction. Spatially indexed video gives the ability to travel along paths or roads with a map-like interface. At intersections, users can chose which path to follow as well as which direction to look, allowing interaction not available with conventional video. Combining the spatial index with a spatial database of maps or objects allows users to navigate to specific locations or interactively inspect particular objects.

Here are two videos that show FlyAbout navigation. The first video shows interactively navigating a courtyard at the Stanford University campus (9 MB MPEG video). Dragging the arrow changes your view direction, while dragging the red dot moves your view location. The second video shows a larger-scale FlyAbout system where you can virtually "drive" around Lake Tahoe. (9 MB WMV video). The red location dot moves with your viewpoint. Notice that you can even "drive backwards" by reversing your viewpoint and the play direction!

Here's a page that describes how FlyAbout video is captured and produced.

Here's a Java applet that will let you pan and zoom around a panoramic still image. (Note that in the FlyAbout system plays back video, not just still images).

This web browser can not run Java applets!
  • Click and move the mouse to pan and tilt
  • While panning, use control and shift keys to zoom in and out.
  • Alternatively, use the arrow keys for panning and tilting in fixed increments.
  • Use + and -, or > and < keys to zoom in fixed increments.
  • Press the space bar to make hotspots visible; repress to hide them again

Java applet from Helmut Dersch's Panorama Tools:

Here's a paper describing the FlyAbout system. Don Kimber, Jonathan Foote, and Surapong Lertsithichai: "FlyAbout: Spatially Indexed Panoramic Video," in Proc. ACM Multimedia, Oct. 2001 [Abstract, PDF, HTML]

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