The Woodlands, Texas - July 15, 2010 – While nothing beats an actual visit to The Woodlands, Texas, The Woodlands Visitors and Convention Bureau is betting on a new technology to provide prospective visitors with the next best thing. “We have contracted with the epic software group to create a multimedia virtual tour of the community that is truly amazing,” said Nick Wolda, Director of Community Relations for The Woodlands. “I don’t know of any other community that has anything quite like this."

The virtual tour will feature 360 degree panoramic photographs of 20 key locations around The Woodlands community. Each of these images will have up to 5 interactive elements such as graphics, video clips, web links, and music that will immerse the viewer in the scene. “This is not the old style panoramic photography that most people have experienced on real estate web sites, but the next generation which includes full screen viewing and a level of fidelity you have to see to believe,” said Vic Cherubini, President of the epic software group.  “We take what would typically be aflat, two dimensional image and turn it into a 3D experience that allows the viewer to explore and examine the detail in each photo."

Epic made a presentation to the Communications Committee of The Woodlands Convention & Visitors Bureau which included The Woodlands Development Company, The Woodlands Mall, The Woodlands Resort, and The Woodlands Waterway Marriott Hotel & Convention Center. After seeing the panoramic photography first hand, the Committee awarded the project to epic.

Over the next two months, photographers and videographers will be shooting and filming at many locations around The Woodlands in an attempt to capture the essence of each area. Be on the lookout for them in places such as The Woodlands Mall, Market Street, and The Woodlands Marriott. “People help bring a panoramic photo to life,” said Ted Washington, a photographer who has been documenting the growth of the community for over 20 years. Epic will work with Washington on this project to scout locations and determine the best time of day for each shot.

Epic is also designing a micro site for project that includes Google map locations of each panoramic photograph. These panoramic images will also become part of Google Earth, so anyone zoomed into The Woodlands on Google Earth can click on an icon to reveal the panoramic photograph shot on that spot.

“Our plan is to have the Virtual Tour that includes the first 20 panoramic photos completed by mid-September,” said Casey Snyder, Marketing Specialist for The Woodlands Township and the Project Manager on this job. “Once we have the basic tour completed, we plan to include additional panoramic photos so area companies and organizations can use it as a promotional tool.

If you would like to see a sneak preview of this technology, just visit the panoramic gallery on the epic software group web site

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