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David G

David G, Chief Explorer

Map the Paths offers the ability to create guided virtual tours complete with annotations and videos.

Sadly, Google is shutting down Tour Creator on June 30th (2021). That’s less than 3 weeks before any tours you’ve created there will disappear.

Google Tour Creator Shutdown

We’re particularity saddened by Google’s decision to remove Tour Creator as it brings back many happy memories from a time of very few (the start of the COVID-19 lockdowns here in the UK).

With the help of Tour Creator we ran our Treehouse virtual adventures for children and locally guided tours of historic sites for adults.

At that point we also wrote a detailed post about how you can use the Tour Creator with your own class or, as many did, with friends and family.

Google’s support page recommends you download your tour data before the shutdown date:

Tip: Your downloaded .zip file includes:

  • Image files, including panorama photos
  • Sound files
  • JSON files with scene descriptions, text references, and Street View panorama references

But where do you use this exported content instead?

Enter Map the Paths Guidebooks

I’ve previously written about how Guidebooks allow you to annotate 2D/360 scenes, giving you the opportunity to act as a local expert using your own, or someone else’s imagery.

Since that post we’ve added a number of Guidebook features. Here are 3 of them your class (or family) will find useful:

Image and Video References

Map the Paths Image and Video References

Many of you asked for the ability to add images and videos to a Point of Interest (POI) annotation in the scene, in addition to title and description.

This feature is particularly nice as it gives you the ability to offer a more detailed explanation of the POI topic through a video or richer image.

You can also add images and videos to the whole scene description too.

Map the Paths Links to External Sources

Similarly, we also observed many people pasting URL’s into the description fields of a POI, taking up valuable characters.

We’ve now made a dedicated field for external URL’s so you can add as many links to external sites for further information or citations as desired.

Point of Interest classification

Map the Paths Point of Interest classification

When you add Point of Interests to a scene you can now classify them. Classifications offer a quick way to describe the content of the POI for the viewers. Examples of classifications include; geography and history.

Show us what you build

Here’s a recent Guidebook from our Kilimanjaro summit via the Rongai Route (read more about the drastic change in vegetation and landscapes as you virtually climb the mountain).

Please do share Guidebooks you’ve created on Map the Paths with us on Facebook and Twitter. I’ll make sure we repost as many as possible.

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