I’ve already written about computers as a great online resource for travel plans. Whether you want to scope out the hotel at which you plan to stay, or plan and book your travel, or to check schedules of the exhibits and times at the usual tourist attractions, or even to find out what other visitors have to say about the place you are planning to visit, the Internet can be a great resource. Google, Yahoo!, Alta Vista, MSN and other search engines can help you easily.
This week, let’s think about the computer as the method of the travel and sight-seeing.
We can’t visit the past, obviously. But, we can see what some of it looked like! Almost all astronomy software has the ability to run the clock forward or backward in seconds, hours, months, or years. Most will let you specify a day — and a location — so that you can see what the sky looked like at some date in the far past or far future.
Some astronomy programs even let you change your “point of view,” so that you might be looking at everything from, say, Alpha Centauri, rather than Baton Rouge, Louisiana, Earth.
Nearer to home, and a back to the present, we can also use the Internet for virtual tours. The real estate industry has quickly taken hold of this concept. Some real estate agents will prepare virtual tours for the houses they represent, so that prospects can walk through the houses. Other agents just post a couple photos.
Many digital cameras now come with a panorama mode and special “stitching software” so that you can match up your panorama photos to create a 360 degree view. Programs like Ulead’s Cool 360 and Easypano’s Tourweaver take that ability a step beyond, with increased functions and automated matching & warping.
At the other end of the spectrum, you can use the Internet to view videos that have already been prepared. One such video brought this whole subject to my mind.
Recently, in Atlanta, the new $200 million Georgia Aquarium opened its doors on Wednesday, the world’s largest aquarium, and already completely debt-free. Bernie Marcus, a co-founder of Home Depot who lives in Atlanta, founded the project and donated $50 million to it.