Friday, July 11

Can you see for miles & miles? Viewfinder Panorama may give the an answer

It was a a small thread on Outdoors Magic that first pointed me towards the Viewfinder Panoramas website. At first glance, based on its very simple layout I initially wondered just how much use it would really be. But as I played with the UK locations on offer the site really starts to come alive leaving me with a feeling that's its really something rather special compared to similar web based offerings.

Jonathan has created more than 200 panoramas from selected viewpoints, most of which can be downloaded for free. Despite the file size being very small they contain a high level of key information.

I found to get the full value they need to be viewed on a PC using a Picture View app with a decent Zoom-In facility (the Windows Picture & Fax Viewer is ideal -so nothing too specialist is necessary)

For me the real value came as I realised just how far, and how varied the landmarks to be seen from some of my chosen viewpoints. Especially those local to me which I'd never really thought of as much more than Very Local Views.

For instance, according to the site, if I stand on Dartmoor's High Willhays I should be able to see the Isle of Portland near Weymouth, here in Dorset. And then if I go to Swyre Head, a nearby Dorset coastal viewpoint then High Willhays should (in theory) be visible. That's an 84 mile view. Phew!

taste of the kind of information to be gleaned. Certainly something that needs to be played with a little to get the best from it; But taken alongside the site's sincere interest in the old walkers questions 'Whats that over there and how far is it?' there's plenty of potential here, and lots of associated information around the subject of 'Line of Sight' (e.g. the Longest Line of Sight? A 230 mile view)

A jewel of a reference site and something I'm thinking of testing out for myself for real on the forthcoming Dartmoor weekend later next week when High Willhays must surely be on my list of things to do.

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