AND NOW FOR THE GOOD NEWS

This is where we examine some of the panos that have recently been posted to Google Maps (and appear as blue dots) for the Walk 9 Alfriston to Eastbourne (via the coast). We have embedded 11 of them and made thumbnails on the map for you to select to see the pano in the frame below (ie mapped). The idea is to whet your appetite to "Plonk-a-pano" (see above) in the thumbnails in the 9 other Walks.

I, as Camo Rama, do not claim to be an expert on panoramas but have been casually interested in creating panos since the start of digital photography in 1998 or so, which interest recently evolved to a Ricoh Theta 360 camera (from the Google list) after also trying the Street View App with my iphone 6plus. I would recommend watching this video from You Tube by a chap from Manchester/Liverpool UK to get the general idea on the issues involved in producing panoramas for use in Street View etc.

My interest in UK National Trails dates back to 1970 but presently I live in Australia which allows me to show you an example of walks in the Daintree Area of Far North Queensland but relying on UK locals and present tourists (and maybe the rangers?) for panos from the South Downs Way.

The following notes are made to demonstrate the variety of methods (using Sherlock Holmes type clues) and the ease (or otherwise) of operation of such methods for a person whose primary concern is walking but with the secondary community interest of sharing their best "panoramic viewpoints" with others.

So please start from the Thumb marked as 89 in this slowweb app which reveals a normal (from a car) pano taken by Google in 2009 (but updated as recently as 2016).

Pano 90 is a private contribution by Mike Anton who has inserted a "copyright watermark"

Pano 91 is via a Google car from May 2016, with the car footprint being "cloned out" as part of the image processing by Google.

Pano 92 uses the similar method to Pano 91 but was taken back in Apr 2011

Pano 93 is a private contribution by hambobet and the lack of footprint (except for a shadow) and some tell-tale issues with stitching indicate the use of a smartphone - in this case a LG.

Pano 94 is a private contribution by Michael Hayward and the so called "toilet seat" holder confirms he is using a Samsung Gear (from the Google list, or has it just been removed?) and the shadow confirms a tripod. Then the lack of his own shadow confirms that he has walked as far as the wi-fi/bluetooth allowed to push the button.

Pano 95 is a private contribution by Igor Khorlo using an Apple iPhone9,4 - 11.4, hence no footprint at all.

Pano 96 is a private contribution by Stuart Nye using a Samsung smartphone

Pano 97 is a private contribution by dji camera, a rather sophisticated camera/drone setup that is probably beyond the aspirations of the average walker, but giving fantastic panos.

Pano 98 is a private contribution by Сергей Маргарян and while most people look for ways to hide themselves in their pano, this one is an intentional selfie, apparently using a Samsung Gear on a selfie mount. This is really a selfie-free-zone so this pano is only temporary to show what NOT to do.

Pano 99 would appear to be one from the original 2014 Trekker Trial that sadly was never completed on the South Downs Way for reasons unknown.

In summary, a good variety of ideas for you to consider for your next walk on the South Downs Way. Please also consider the "hat mounted" idea which I used in the Mossman Gorge example above.

And after you have the hardware/software sorted out to your liking/budget please consider doing your own Plonk-a-Pano as detailed above if you are walking any sections of the South Downs Way.

But before closing this good news entry there is another matter worthy of mention by way of the Google Mobile Friendly Test of April 2015 which sent the whole computer industry into a flutter but in fact instigated a "fixit" regime over the next 2 or more years that probably made more money for that mob than the $200 billion of the Y2K fraud, albeit in this case the industry was far more "blameless".

The instigation came from Google because people were favouring mobile devices over desktop/laptop devices and their advertising income was under threat as the typical "elephant in the room" website was NOT friendly to mobile devices. So in 2015 as an "incentive" (aka a threat) Google said they would greatly favour sites that passed their Test when deciding who got to the top of their lists.

If we look at the National Trails/Walk Unlimited site we see they have continued to stick with their elephant, but please see below as to why that may not have been a bad idea. Here is the result:

Our app of course passes the Test as it was designed from the ground up to do so:

Now you will note that Google did not just GONG the National Trails site but in fact first investigated the type of "elephant machine" used to make the site (look like all the others!) and having concluded it was Drupal it then gives some tips on how to "shoehorn" a Drupal site to pass the Test, essentially using RSD (but alas generally removing all the lovely pictures). But here one of the Drupal gurus was a bit too honest about this whole situation per:

But as the advice was not "industry friendly" it got gonged itself (but not before we saved it). Of course the advice was correct but unfortunately a lot of designers that followed it made it simple for themselves by making the site a boring "multi-media-free-zone" the appropriate example close to home being the "The Cruising Guide to the River Thames" that went from a brilliant publication in PDF and booklet format to a sterile "app" without a single photo, let alone flyovers and panoramas.

So to combine all these good & bad factors in the present case we advocate the retention of the National Trails site with its wealth of content for use on a desk/lap top setup but with custom designed "add-on-app" such as our app above for use with mobile devices. Indeed we initially purchased the domain name addonapp.com for this very strategy but changed to slowweb.tours when it became an "us vs them" situation.

So while this app is quite comfortable in operating stand-alone we still maintain that the best format is BOTH and to that end we provide a link to the "parent website" above.