A website focused on creating VR travel experiences has released a virtual tour of Egypt’s Temple of Isis. The tour, constructed with permission from DiscoveringEgypt, used five panoramic shots to recreate the temple situated in Philae.
The experience was created to show off using the HTC Vive, although Sketchfab (where the tour is hosted) supports a number of VR setups. It’s not quite finished yet, though: Walkabout Worlds still needs to make some color corrections, altering some of the detailed modelling, but so far it seems off to a good start.
The magic of what Walkabout Worlds has created lies in the technique used. Photogrammetry involves taking an existing 360-degree photo and expanding it into a 3D world. This used to take a lot of expensive equipment, but Walkabout Worlds has developed a tool that can calculate multiple dimensions after a user assigns a few key points on the photo. The tool is currently in development for mobile devices, and would mean people could quickly create VR experiences out of their favorite places.
It sounds like something that could discourage travel. Google’s virtual reality tours of U.S. National Parks, launched earlier this month to commemorate the park system’s 100th anniversary, was introduced as a way of teachers being able to show children faraway sights without having to visit.
“For me, if anything, things like this are going to make me want to go more places not less,” said Reddit user mr_taco_man, who developed the photogrammetry tool. “Even the very best VR right now is far, far short of actually being at the real place. But seeing it in VR makes me want to go to a place.”