Location-based apps, however, seem a natural fit for spherical imagery. Journey360, created by Tokyo-based Tao Software, is a free Android app that lets users create custom maps enhanced with images and videos.
For instance, they can take a photo of a pamphlet map of an amusement park, and then add 360-degree pics and videos to it to create a kind of 3D photo album. The imagery appears as clickable spheres on the marked-up map in Journey360. It's like a simplified version of Street View that can also be ported to head-mounted displays, said Tao developer Chisato Karakama.
Some developers are launching panoramic pic apps for niche users. Hong Kong developer Erica Leung created 360 Coffee Shop, which combines maps with spherical shots taken in cafés. Users can get a better feel for what an unfamiliar shop is like compared to a 2D photo. The app's Facebook page brims with snaps of establishments such as Kowloon's Medieval Weapon Cafe, which has beans, baristas and broadswords.
"In Hong Kong there are many indie cafes, which we are targeting," said Leung. "When we take photos with Theta, people don't even realize it's a camera. It's pretty funny."
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