3D travel portal offers a virtual trip to Everest
Nope, it's not an easy level of "Counter-Strike," it’s a 3D virtual walking tour of Durban Square in Patan, Nepal.
It includes five 3D tours within Nepal. See a video tour here.
The company aims to have a 3D preview of all the major tourist destinations around the world. At present, only its Nepal feature offers 3D interactive tours.
With the point-of-view mimicking a first-person shooter game, users can navigate their way around Tribhuvan Airport, stroll around Patan Durbar Square or fly above Lukla in a plane.
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Unlike virtual tours used by some travel sites, which are often panoramic views of 2D photos, the images used in 3rd Planet create accurate representations of the enviornment. Sound effects are also included, giving a more realistic experience.
The site is a destination marketing tool for tourism boards, but it's also a useful tool for travelers hoping to learn about a city before arrival.
“Consumers need to be better educated before they travel, it will change the way they book trips, they can see more than just promotional photos,” said Terence Mak, CEO of 3rd Planet.
So what's the difference between this and Google Street View?
"You will be able to see a lot more details, inside of temples, inside buildings, airports, through the back alleys, and tourist information is ready available at differrent landmarks,” said Mak.
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Mak continues, “Some tourism campaigns just have slogans like ‘Incredible India’ or ‘Amazing Thailand’ plus some great pictures, but it doesn’t really tell you enough about the destinations.
“It is about time that the tourism industry uses marketing instead of just branding.
“We work with tourism boards to make sure we are getting official, real content. Then we ask them, what do you want to highlight that can’t be justified in a picture? ”
If you're worried about losing the element of surprise, Mak said don't worry.
“We are only showing 30 percent of the destination, its just a teaser, we don't use super high quality CGI so it’s easy to download"
Currently, there are over a hundred preview landmarks and cities on 3rd Planet in development. According to Mak, more 3D cities will appear in 2012.
The software is web-based and supported on Mac and PC platforms. The platform is free for the first one million subscribers. More destinations will appear in the next two to three years.
Learn more at 3rdplanet.com.