Union Station Goes Virtual on Google

Google photographer Marcel De Lima

Ultra cool stuff at the station today. It is being photographed by Google so people anywhere in the world can take a virtual tour of the museums.


Union Station is the cultural hub of Ogden, so this makes perfect sense. Google Earth will let visitors from around the world not only wander around Ogden’s streets, but go inside Union Station and take a look around.


The process is surprisingly simple.


Wednesday morning Google Photographer Marcel De Lima visited each museum, and the grand hall, with a normal digital SLR camera sporting an 8 mm lens.


That is a fisheye lens capable of shooting an arc of 180 degrees, or half of an entire room in one shot. He has to stand back or he’ll get a picture of his shoes.


Each time he sets the camera up he takes 12 pictures in a circle. You may ask “Why so many if the lens sees so much?”


What the camera sees

Those 12 images provide a lot of overlap so a computer program can create a 360-degree view of the room that you can scroll around seamlessly, wandering up and down and around. You can get closer to stuff, or farther away, all at the touch of a computer mouse.


You can see how it works if you go to http://maps.google.com and type “Ogden” into the search box. That takes you to an overhead view of Ogden. On the left is a scale to zoom down closer with a picture of a little man at the top. Click on that little man and drag him down onto the map — you’ll suddenly be looking at a street view of wherever you put that guy.  I put him at the corner of 25th and Grant and could scan all around to the municipal park, Imaging Depot or looking down towards Union Station. You can even walk down the street.


Union Station Business Manager Tracy Ehrig (right) withStandard-Examiner Reporter Shane Farver, PhotographerDillon Brown, and Google photographer Marcel De Lima

This is terrific publicity for Union Station and Ogden and I hope it lets folks know how cool it is to visit the city.


De Lima said the virtual tour will be available on-line in about a week, but it’s already working. As I was leaving Standard-Examiner Reporter Mitch Shaw and Photographer Dillon Brown were walking in to do a story for tomorrow’s paper.


Mitch is a good reporter, nice to see him again giving Union Station  some much-needed publicity in four counties of Utah.


From there the rest of the world is just a mouse click away.