15/05/2002 Only a visit in the flesh can compare with the
virtual tour included in the Santa María Cathedral Foundation´s
15/05/2002 One of the main attractions of the Santa María
Cathedral Foundation´s website (www.catedralvitoria.com ) is its virtual
tour, whose thoughtful design and quality images have helped make it one
of the best products of its kind currently available on the world wide web.
Thanks to 28 links located right inside the gothic cathedral itself, users
can explore every nook and cranny of the building in a tour which can only
be bettered by a visit in the flesh.
Of the 28 selected points, 25 offer a 360 degree view. The other three,
strategically positioned in the basement (1) and the lower level (2),
offer a more cubic perspective, meaning that users can access all the
visible parts of the Cathedral´s central nave and transept as if
they were in complete control of a camera mounted on a sphere-shaped support.
The virtual tour screen is divided into three sections: image, level
selection and map. Most of the screen is reserved for the image. Two zoom
buttons enable the user to zoom in and out of a high-resolution image,
while another button provides access to links with other available images.
The images are updated periodically and the date of last modification
is specified beneath the viewing window.
The level menu enables netizens to choose both the façade (north,
south, east or west) and the part of the cathedral they wish to view:
access, basement, lower level, ramparts walk, triforium, ceiling level
or bell tower. The map illustrates the selected level and indicates the
location of the various viewing points, thereby enabling users to jump
from link to link in any order they wish.
The images can be seen in two different ways, using either Java or Quick
Time technology. The difference between the two is that to use the second
one, you need a navigator plugin which can be downloaded free of charge
when you select the tour. The tour is based on photographs, which affords
a greater degree of realism than models based on created textures, and
the secret to its exceptional quality lies in the number of links and
the optimisation of the images used.