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Frequently asked questions

What is Viewshare?

Viewshare is a global virtual tour space that anyone with a camera can contribute to. It is a way for people to share physical spaces that others may not be able to visit.

Do I need to sign up or log in to use Viewshare?

No. You can browse content on Viewshare without logging in. An account is only required for the creation of new content on Viewshare.

How it all works

What is a 'viewspace'?

A viewspace is a virtual environment on Viewshare. Visitors can 'walk around' by clicking the navigation controls at the bottom of the screen, and can look up and down by clicking in the appropriate regions of the view being displayed. Anyone can create a viewspace by grouping photographs from appropriate points of view.

What is a 'viewpoint'?

A viewpoint is any single place where a visitor can 'stand' while exploring a virtual space on Viewshare. While standing at a viewpoint, the visitor can turn around to face different directions, such as North or South-East. The visitor can walk forward or backwards (or in some cases move up or down) to 'walk' between different viewpoints that the content creator has joined together. A complete viewspace is made up of connected viewpoints.

What is a 'view'?

A view is what the user sees when they stand at a particular viewpoint and are facing in a certain direction, such as East or West. A view is made up of at least one photograph, an optional description, and a compass direction. Additional photograph angles allow the visitor to look up or down while continuing to face in the same direction.

A visitor can only turn to face in a particular direction if a view exists in that direction; so photographing views in multiple directions within a viewpoint increases the visitor's freedom to explore. Up to 8 intercardinal view directions are supported per viewpoint (North, NE, East, SE, South, SW, West, NW), so content creators should aim to align their view imagery with the nearest approximate direction available.

Creating content on Viewshare

Is Viewshare an image host

No. Viewshare is a tool for content creators to aggregate image content for display in a virtual tour format. Viewshare itself is not an image host and only retains only URL links to image files hosted elsewhere.

Why can't I upload my images to Viewshare directly?

Unlike many social media websites, Viewshare does not store or host image content. Rather, Viewshare functions a bit like a browser within your web browser, loading content from various third-party locations around the web in real time.

This distributed approach keeps content creators in full control of their own work, and is bandwidth-efficient on an increasingly congested Internet. For example, a real-estate agency might host images of properties in their area via their own corporate website, geographically local to where their customers will be and removing the need for heavy international network traffic.

Can I use my old photos of a building, or do I need to take new ones?

It depends on what sort of experience you want to give your users. For example, if you want the user to be able to walk north-east from a particular viewpoint in order to enter a drawing room, you would need to have a photograph looking approximately north-east into that room, and another photograph showing the view once they have entered that room. You would also need photographs looking back the other way if you want to allow the user to turn around and walk back out of the drawing room.

For best results, aim to take photos facing in around four different directions from each viewpoint (for example, North, East, South and West), so the visitor can turn all the way around and get a better intuitive feel for their surroundings.

Where can I upload my images for use on Viewshare?

There are many image hosting services available online, although some free hosting services impose restrictions (such as watermarking) on images linked for view on external sites, and others delete images after a certain period of time. If you choose to use a free image hosting service, you should look at the limitations of that service to see if the service is right for you.

Another approach is to create a subfolder for images within your own existing website, if you have one. This approach is ideal for an organisation that already has a website and needs to retain full control over its imagery. Simply organise your images according to your preferred approach, and link these images to Viewshare from your website via their respective URLs. It is recommended to name your images according to your own naming convention (e.g. bathroom-north-up.jpg) to make your collection of image files easier to manage when building your viewspace.

How should I prepare my photographs before uploading them?

All photographs should be taken in landscape mode. We also recommend resizing your photographs to a proportionate height of around 600 pixels (this may depend on the amount of hosting bandwidth you have available). This reduces the quality of your images, but they will load much faster, and give your visitors a better experience!

What happens if an image is removed at its source?

If an image is removed from its source, visitors to the relevant viewspace will no longer see that image.

How do I add 'look up' and 'look down' capabilities to a view?

When photographing a view, simply take two additional photographs facing the same direction, but with the camera tilted up or down. You can optionally add one 'up' image and one 'down' image to any view via the viewpoint editor in the user console. For the best effect, try to include an overlap of about half of what can be seen in your main photograph near the bottom or top of your 'up' and 'down' images. If there is a particular detail you want to capture, it is not necessary to overlap your photographs in this way.

My SLR camera lens only captures a narrow field of view. Will this make it difficult for the visitor to navigate tight spaces?

In tight spaces, you may want to stand back when photographing views in different directions. Try to take wider shots that capture the edges of adjacent views in each photograph, this will give the user a better experience as they turn around. A phone camera with a wide-angle lens is a convenient alternative for capturing a reasonably wide angle in each photograph.