Get panoramas - HELP

Get panoramas with labelled summits
as seen from any point of view in the Alps
or elsewhere on the earth

Based on DEM data for Europe from Sonny and for the rest of the terrestrial surface from Viewfinder Panoramas (Jonathan de Ferranti) and SRTM (LP DAAC)
as well as data of summits mainly from Jonathan de Ferranti (Alps), Johannes Reischer (Eastern Alps), Dirk Becker (Pyrenees),
Database of British hills (Great Britain), Robert J./Rafal K. (Poland), GeoNames (worldwide) and myself.

There are three ways to select the viewpoint and define the view:

  1. You may use the Google Map to locate the viewpoint and define the direction and the horizontal extension of the view.
  2. You may select the viewpoint from a list of more than 20000 summits, predominantly within the Alps, and define the cardinal direction of the view.
  3. You may enter all parameters defining the viewpoint and the view directly into the form, or modify the values resulting from the first two methods.

When you enter or change viewpoint and view parameters, a current preview of the corresponding panorama is shown automatically. Afterwards you may

  1. generate a detailed panorama in a new window
  2. get links to a detailed panorama or parts of it by e-mail.

The following geographical regions are covered:

  1. The Alps and their surroundings with 1'' DEM data from Jonathan Ferranti (resolution: 1'', ~ 30 m)
  2. All the rest of the terrestrial surface with 3'' DEM data from Jonathan Ferranti (resolution: 3'', ~ 90 m), see the link "Area covered"
  3. Labelling of summits is most dense within the Alps, the Pyrenees, and Great Britain. In other regions of the world it depends on the coverage in GeoNames. The summit data are continuously extended and corrected.

In the calculation of the panoramas the earth is taken as being an ideal sphere. Atmospheric refraction is accounted for with the Gaussian refraction coefficient or 0.13. The 3'' DEM data are interpolated down to 1'' using cubic spline methods.

Typical approach:

  1. Look for the viewpoint in the map using the usual Google Map functionalities.

    The most useful Google Maps functions:

    Zoom - with the slider or the plus and minus buttons on the left side of the map, or using the mouse wheel.
    Move - with the arrow buttons on the top left side of the map, or by dragging the map using the mouse with the left mouse button pressed.
    Different map types - on the top right side of the map.

  2. Click on the viewpoint in the map. When clicking on a point in the map, its coordinates (latitude and longitude) are taken into the corresponding entry fields in the form below. The viewpoint is marked with a red symbol.

    Of course you can also enter the coordinates (in degrees) directly into the entry fields in the form.

  3. Set the direction of the view by moving the central red line in the Google Map using the mouse. Put the mouse cursor on the central red line. The line changes its color to yellow. Click onto the yellow line. It now changes to green and follows your mouse movements. When the green line points to the intended direction, click on it. The green line changes to red and is fixed in its current position.

    Set the horizontal extension of the view in the same way by moving one of the bounding lines to left or to the right.
    It suffices to move one of the bounding lines. The other one follows correspondingly.

    Alternatively you may enter the corresponding values (in degrees or as cardinal direction) directly into the form below.

  4. Optionally: Set the other parameters in the form. The remaining fields in the form are preset with default values, or contain the values of previously defined panoramas, respectively. The default values are selected in a way to get reasonable results in most cases.

    Overview of other entry fields alongside latitude, longitude, view direction, and horizontal extension of the view, or left and right edges of the view (please take not of the tooltips popping up when the mouse cursor is moved over the fields):

    Altitude - Altitude of the viewpoint above sea level (auto (= set automatically) or in meters)
    Camera height - In addition to the altitude of the viewpoint the distance of the camera above the ground (in meters)
    Look for summit point automatically - Automatic determination of the highest point in the surroundings of the given coordinates (yes/no)
    Resolution, or Zoom factor, respectively - Resolution is the number of pixels per degree of extension of the panorama; this value is directly related to the zoom factor.
    Tilt - Vertical angle of the view (auto (= determined automatically) or in degrees)
    Optimize part by part (for e-maRange of sight - maximal range of sight (in kilometers), the distance at which objects just cannot be seen anymore because of the atmospheric conditions (haze)
    Elevation exaggeration
    - Factor of emphasis of the vertical dimension over the horizontal dimension
    Colored display - Enables colored representation instead of greyscale with color-coding according to distance (no/yes)
    Upper limit at - Upper limit of the distance range which is color-coded (in kilometers). More distant regions are represented by fading blue hues.

  5. Enter a title for the viewpoint or panorama into the panorama title field of the form. The title serves to identify the panorama and is shown in the panorama window itself, other related windows, in links or e-mails.

    Text you enter in the description field is also shown at the head of the panorama window.

  6. Click the button "Show the panorama". The detailed panorama will be built in a new window.


  7. Enter an e-mail address into the "E-mail address" field in the form. One or several e-mails with links to the panorama or parts of it will be sent to this e-mail address. Through these links you may open the detailed panorama.

  8. Click the button "Request panorama via e-mail".

  9. If you did not get an e-mail containing links after this, there are essentially three explanations: You did not enter the e-mail address correctly; the e-mail has been filtered as spam; the server that generates the panoramas failed.

Extensive description:

Into the field Latitude enter the geographical latitude of the viewpoint in decimal degrees or degrees + minutes + seconds (e.g. 36.3576 or 36°21'27.4" or 36 21 27.4); the values may range from 1 to 90; at present only positions on the northern hemisphere are possible.

Into the field Longitude enter the geographical longitude of the viewpoint in decimal degrees or degrees + minutes + seconds (e.g. 36.3576 or 36°21'27.4" or 36 21 27.4); the values may range from -180 to 180; positive values define positions eastwards from the 0° meridian.

Latitude and longitude data are also possible to obtain from the Google Map. Identify the intended viewpoint on the map and click onto it. The coordinates of this point are adopted into the latitude and longitude fields in the form. The Google Map offers the usual functions. Using the mouse wheel you can zoom in and out; this can also be done with plus-minus slider to the left. In the upper right corner you can select the map type,

Into the field Altitude enter the height above sea level in meters. Instead of a number you can enter the value "auto"; in this case the altitude is determined automatically at the point given by the latitude and longitude fields. When the option "Look for summit point automatically" is activated, the highest point within about 200 m of the given coordinates is taken as viewpoint. Don't forget to switch off this option, if you want to set the position of the viewpoint precisely.

The field Camera height sets the height of the camera above ground level at the viewpoint. A value of 10 m is the default value.

In the field View direction you set the direction of the view legen Sie Blickrichtung der Aussicht in decimal degrees or degrees + minutes + seconds (e.g. 36.3576 or 36°21'27.4" or 36 21 27.4). The values range between 0 und 360. Further valid entries are: N, NE, E, SE, S, SW, W, SW indicating the cardinal directions.

In the field Feld Horizontal extension you determine the horizontal range of the panorama in decimal degrees or degrees + minutes + seconds (e.g. 36.3576 or 36°21'27.4" or 36 21 27.4). The default value is 60 degrees. The view is divided in two equal parts to the left and right of the view direction.

In the fields Left edge and Right edge you set the left and right limits, respectively, of the view in decimal degrees or degrees + minutes + seconds (e.g. 36.3576 or 36°21'27.4" or 36 21 27.4). The values range between 0 und 360. Further valid entries are: N, NE, E, SE, S, SW, W, SW indicating the cardinal directions.

The fields View direction and Horizontal extension or Left edge and Right edge, respectively, pairwise set direction and width of the panorama. Thus, it suffices to enter one of the pairs.

You also may set the View direction and left and right edges of the panorama using the Google Map by moving the red lines with the mouse. Put the mouse cursor on one of the lines. The line turns yellow. Click on the yellow line. It turns green and follows your mouse moves. When the line points to the intended diredtion, click onto it. It turns red again, and gets fixed in this position.

In the field Resolution you set the number of pixels used per degree of horizontal extension; thus, it is a measure for the magnification of the view. Its counterpart is theZoom factor. It is directly proportional to the resolution, and arbitrarily set to 1 for a resolution of 20 pixels/degree; this corresponds to a horizontal extension of about 60 degrees with a window 1280 pixels wide. A zoom factor of 2 corresponds to a resolution of 40 pixels/degree.

In the field Tilt you determine the vertical direction of the view. The vertical deflection from the horizontal is given in decimal degrees or degrees + minutes + seconds (e.g. 36.3576 or 36°21'27.4" or 36 21 27.4). The values may range between -60 and 60. 0 stands for horizontal view, positive values indicate view directions above the horizontal. With the entry "auto" the vertical direction is automatically set, so that the visibility of the regions within the view is optimized. This means that a flat horizon is aligned in the middle of the vertical dimension of the view; with big deviations in the horizontal line, the vertical angle of view is adjusted so that deeper parts of the horizon are just visible, and higher parts tend to be cut away.

If the option Optimize part by part (for e-mail only) is selected, the vertical angle for every partial panorama (see below in "Request panorama via e-mail") is optimized on its own. If the option is not selected the optimization is calculated for the whole width of the panorama. This option is only relevant with e-mail requests; it is without effect in other cases.

In the field Range of Sight you enter the distance in kilometers where objects vanish in the haze. Default is 300 km (very clear view). Maximum value is 750 km; with this value regions that are barely shown with the default value of 300 km are rendered clearly.

In the fields Title of the panorama and Description you can give names to your panarama. These entries are used as title labels in the panorama windows.

When you click on the button Show the panorama, the panorama is built in a separate window. The maximal width of a panorama is 14400 pixels. Thus 360° panoramas up to a zoom factor of 2 are covered. When larger widths are requested the panoramas are cut off at 14400 pixels.

By clicking on the button Request panorama via e-mail you send the data entered into the form to the server where the panoramas are calculated. When the panoramas are finished e-mails are sent to the E-mail-Address containing links to the panoramas or partial panoramas. Panoramas are partitioned into parts 1200 pixel wide if larger than 1200 pixels.

Occasionally these e-mails might be sorted out as spam mails. So look into your spam mail lists if you should miss a response.

With questions please turn via e-mail (replace --at-- by @).