DUBAI // People from around the world can now visit all the wonders Dubai city has to offer without leaving their loungerooms.
Anyone with an internet connection can take a virtual tour on the Dubai360.com website, which went live on Monday.
Developed over 18 months and using 1,298 pieces of panoramic video and photographic content, Dubai360 claims to be the “world’s largest interactive city tour”.
“Dubai 360 is illustrative of what Dubai stands for,” said Ismaeil Al Hashmi, project manager for Dubai 360. “It started off as an idea and was brought to life through the passion of talented and committed individuals.
“The project showcases the very best of what Dubai has to offer and we will continue to use the platform to demonstrate the progress the city makes.
“With Dubai360.com, whether you live in Dubai or are planning a visit, you can discover something new in the city every day.
“From the cultural area of Bastakiya to luxury hotels and the Dubai International Airport, this project has something for everyone, making it an exciting way to explore Dubai.
A total of 500,000 individual photos were needed to create the still and time-lapse panoramas and more than 8 terapixels (8 million megapixels) of imagery were required, not including the videos.
From helicopters to rooftops, the makers of Dubai 360 were given unprecedented access to city landmarks.
The team said they developed a custom interface for the website that enabled users to interact with Dubai’s landmarks.
The site provides viewing options including “rectilinear”, “Little Planet” or “fish-eye” views.
“The scale, scope and quality of Dubai360.com sets it apart from virtual tours of cities,” said Gerald Donovan, operations manager at Dubai 360.
“The Dubai Government supported us. The idea was to put together a picture of Dubai and present it to the world.
“Families who are planning to move to Dubai have the chance to explore the city before they come here.
“Tourists can also get a preview and residents who want to explore different areas of Dubai can do so through this website, and will not have to pay anything.
“They just need to have an internet connection and can use this on their smartphone, tablet or laptop.”
Several cultural, social and historical spots, such as Dubai Creek and mosques, are part of the tour.
People can also look at different suites in a hotel before making a decision.
“We want to focus on Dubai at present as there is a lot to be done here,” said Mr Donovan.
“There are new buildings coming up and we want to capture the changing environment of the emirate.
“We hope we will be able to help people get an idea of Dubai if they are planning to live here or just want to holiday here.”
Users can share their favourite views with their friends through emails and on social media.
With content filmed at the pinnacle of the Burj Khalifa, visitors to the website can have a bird’s-eye view of the city.