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As you know, the “Miniatur Wunderland” is the largest model railway exhibition in the world. It is a permanent model railroad layout in Hamburg, Germany. The whole layout consists of more than 15,400 meters or 50,525 feet of tracks in HO scale. You can visit this tourist attraction seven days a week. Actually, there are 1,300 model trains, more than 10,000 freight cars and passenger cars, more than 100,000 moving vehicles, approximately 500,000 lights, etc.
Some years ago, a team from Google Inc. has made amazing panorama views with a very special 360° camera. Today, these photos are integrated in Google’s Street View, Google Earth and Google Maps. At that time, a secret was made of which camera Google used for making these 360° photos. Pilentum Television explains, which camera was used. Back then, the Kodak PixPro SP360 Action Cam (Full HD) and the Kodak PixPro SP360 4K (UHD) were used.
Of course, the team had to re-construct the camera housing. And, the team had to build a small kind of a locomotive in HO scale, which automatically runs on the railway tracks. For making 360° photos from the miniature street level, the team constructed a 1/87 scale camera car that drove across the streets. They used a vehicle chassis and vehicle frame of a miniature bus. In addition, front and rear cameras were installed.
Image sources: Courtesy of Google Inc.
Then, the “big secret” was not the camera, but the technique how the camera was used. Kodak offered a camera, which made video recordings in 1920 x 1080 pixels only (Kodak PixPro SP360). Photos were taken with 16.8 megapixels. A little later, Kodak offered a new camera which made video recordings in 4K quality (Kodak PixPro SP360 4K). Because one camera makes a photo or video with a camera angle of approximately 210°, two cameras are required for making a full 360° panorama view. By using the Kodak cameras the front image and the back image are stitched. The result is a perfect panoramic view.
Kodak produced the first generation of 360° cameras. Today, there are many smartphones that can handle this panoramic image format. However, there are many other manufacturers of 360° cameras, for example: Insta360 ONE, Samsung Gear 360, Kitvision 360 Immerse Duo Action Camera, Ricoh Theta SC, GoPro Max 360 Digital Action Camera, Ricoh Theta V 360 Degree Spherical Camera, Garmin VIRB 360 Camera or GoPro Fusion Camera.
These individual equirectangular images were taken during the shooting in the Miniatur Wunderland. These pictures depict the ground at the miniature airport that has taken more than five years to build. As you can see, the camera angle of these images is approximately 210°. It is the front view of the Kodak PixPro camera.
Finally, let’s have a look, what the team of Google has produced. It is an outstanding overwhelming presentation of the “Miniatur Wunderland” on Google Maps. Just click on the photo to view Google’s presentation.
Miniatur Wunderland Hamburg
Kehrwieder 2, Block D