Rapid Development of a Low-cost Web-based 360 Virtual Tour

Maria Insa-Iglesias, Mark Jenkins, Gordon Morison

Abstract

The use of 360-degrees Virtual Tour (VT) is a common practice in the education and tourism sector. It has recently gained popularity given the benefits of bringing physical spaces into a 360-degrees experience that can be explored in a simple and intuitive manner. Due to Covid-19, many Organisations wish to utilise immersive 360 technologies but many cannot afford it. In this paper, a 360-degree VT pipeline is proposed to allow Organisations to develop a VT that can compete in functionality with other sophisticated VT. Users with minimal coding experience are able to develop a low-cost web-based VT using a 360 camera, the Open Source tool Marzipano, the developed software framework and documentation from the GitHub repository. The contribution of this work is both the software framework, which complies with the Web Content Accessibility Guidelines (WCAG), for use with the Marzipano tool and a University case study along with a user evaluation to demonstrate the effectiveness of the approach. The usability evaluation run with the stakeholders demonstrates the acceptance of this 360 experience to allow new students to get a 360-degrees view of the GCU Glasgow Campus.

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