Virtually Cycling Through the United Kingdom

Cycle VR

#Travel

Tue, Aug 16th, 2016 11:00 by capnasty NEWS

Aaron Puzey wants to become the first person to ride the entire length of Britain — from Land’s End to John O’Groats — using his exercise bike. Albeit not without some problems, he's halfway there. Fascinating to see how he built his system.

I want the experience to be as close to real life as possible so I’m using Google StreetView data for this. Unfortunately this data is only captured every 4 meters or so but I want to be able to move smoothly through the world rather than in large steps. A single StreetView Panorama (Google’s name for the picture data at a given location) is recreated as a sphere around the viewer. I could move smoothly through that sphere from one Panorama to the next but the more I deviate from the center the more obvious it becomes that I’m just inside a sphere and not really surrounded by proper shapes. What I really needed was depth information to recreate the scene correctly. I was aware some simple depth was available from experience using StreetView: as I move the cursor over the scene a rectangle will appear in the correct size and shape depending on what I’m hovering over.

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