Photo Sphere

Photo Sphere: 360° panoramic images

Up, down, and all around. Create immersive 360 degree photo spheres, just like you see in Street View. Learn how to share your photo spheres on Views and Google Maps.


Create a photo sphere

You can create a 360° panoramic image, called a photo sphere, from your Android or iOS device. Photograph the world around you and even what’s above and below you. You can also create photo spheres manually with a DSLR camera and third party panorama software.

Make a photo sphere with your Nexus Android 4.4 device

  1. Open the camera app on your phone.
  2. Swipe to the right and touch Photo Sphere.
  3. Hold your device vertically, close to your body.
  4. Adjust the camera angle so the blue dot is centered inside the circle. Hold the camera steady until a frame of the scene appears.
  5. Rotate yourself and your camera slowly, following the dots through the area you want to capture.
  6. [Optional] Undo a single shot in your photo sphere by clicking the undo button.
  7. Touch the check mark at the bottom of the screen when done.

Make a photo sphere with your iOS device

  1. Open the Photo Sphere Camera app on your phone.
  2. Tap the orange camera button.
  3. Hold your device vertically, close to your body.
  4. Adjust the camera angle so the orange dot is centered inside the circle. Hold the camera steady until a frame of the scene appears.
  5. Rotate yourself and your camera slowly, following the dots through the area you want to capture.
  6. [Optional] Undo a single shot in your photo sphere by clicking the undo button.
  7. Touch the check mark at the bottom of the screen when done.

Tips for capturing great photo spheres

  • Start capturing your photo sphere around the horizon, then capture above and below
  • Slightly tilt the phone up or down, keeping your phone in roughly the same location
  • Capture several photos (most devices will require 10 photos for a full sphere)
     

Create a photo sphere with your DSLR camera

If you have a professional-style DSLR camera, you can also create more advanced, higher-quality panoramas.

  1. Take your photos: Take a series of overlapping photos that together cover a full 360°. You can buy tripod mounts made specifically for this purpose.
  2. Remember your location: Make a note of where you’ve photographed so you can add this information into the image file later.
  3. Combine your photos: Using panorama stitching software of your choice, create a 360 degree panorama and save the image as a jpeg.

Click here to learn how to upload your photo sphere from your computer.

Discuss photo spheres

For info on how to create and use photo spheres, panorama metadata and other details of particular interest to developers, visit the Google Developers Photo Sphere site.
Connect photo spheres (constellations)

By connecting your photo spheres you can create even more immersive, 360° views called constellations. Your “constellations” are added to Google Maps, so people can explore your favorite places on Maps. 

Step 1: Select photo spheres

  1. Go to Views.
  2. Open your profile page by clicking your photo in the top right.
  3. Your images appear in the right panel and as dots on the map in the left panel. Click Select images.
  4. Manually select the images you want to connect.
  5. Click Connect images.

You’ll see an updated map of the images you selected.

  • Your photo spheres are marked in blue, sequentially with letters.
  • Yellow dots are Street View panoramas.

Step 2: Orient your photo spheres

To change the photo sphere place on the map, drag the dot to the correct place. Satellite view may be helpful for images taken outside.

To rotate the photo spheres in the right direction, click to select a marker. Then click and hold the pointer.

  • A condensed, aerial view of your image will appear to help you spin it in the correct direction.
  • To spin the photo sphere, rotate the red pointer on the map.

Tip: Try to line up the preview on the right with a prominent object, such as a building, tree, or landmark. You can then rotate the arrow on the map marker to point to the same object on the satelite map.

Step 3: Connect your photo spheres

Solid blue lines show photo spheres that have already been linked. Dotted gray lines lines show potential connections. When you connect photo spheres, users and viewers can easily jump between your images.

To connect photo spheres, click the marker you want to connect and then click the gray dotted line. There may be connections created for you automatically. Click on solid lines to remove connections between photo spheres.

To connect photos spheres to Street View

  1. Click the marker you want to connect then hover over the yellow dot.
  2. Click the gray dotted lines that appears to connect the two.

The connection of your constellation to Street View is only one-way. Users can only navigate from your imagery to Street View, and not from Street View to your imagery.

Things to note:

  • Only connect photo spheres that can be navigated between in real life. Please don’t connect photo spheres that cross walls, buildings, etc.
  • Removing a photo sphere from a constellation won’t delete the photo sphere. To remove a photo sphere, click the trash can button under the zoom buttons in the right side of the screen.
  • Learn how to manage your connected photo spheres.
Manage connected photo spheres (constellations)

Go to Views to manage your connected photo spheres (constellations). You can see approved and unapproved (marked as denied or pending) constellations in Views.

Add connected photo spheres (constellations) to Google Maps

All photo spheres within your constellation must be approved for your constellation to appear in Google Maps. Learn more about photo sphere policies.

If some of the photo spheres within your constellation aren't approved, and you want to add the constellation to Google Maps, you have two options:

Options What happens
Connect only approved photo spheres, disconnecting unapproved (denied and pending) photo spheres Your constellation will be published and eligible to appear in Google Maps.
Connect all photo spheres, both approved and unapproved (denied and pending)

Your constellation, as well as all approved photo spheres within the constellation, won't be eligible to appear in Google Maps.

However, your constellation will still be visible to you in Views.

 

If you choose to delete a photo sphere, we'll remove the photo sphere and split any constellations it is a part of.

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