Port city in cyber space

A still from www.virtualmangalore.com

Speaking to City Herald, Sequoya Software Solutions CEO Aravind Prabhu revealed that virtualmangalore.com is the first virtual tourism portal in India for an entire city. The website provides a rich sightseeing experience where locations can be accessed in a complete 360 degree view. One can navigate around the place with direction guides and also zoom in to have a closer view. The buzz of the place can be felt with the natural sound effects, he adds.

“Mangalore always had a high potential for tourism though it has not been promoted in the right direction. Once when I was searching information about a destination in Mangalore, I found inadequate details. It was then I decided to design a simple website which gives information about the port city. However, after some research, I came across the concept of virtual tourism and that lead to the establishment of the portal,” says Aravind and adds that a team of 5 people started working on the portal since October 2010.

The website that went live on April 25 this year has already attracted more than 10,000 visitors from 38 countries. About 18 virtual tourism destinations from Mangalore and DK district such as Panambur beach, Pilikula, Sultan Battery, Kudroli temple, Gomateshwara and others have been uploaded.

As many as 7 destinations outside Mangalore like Muradeshwar temple, Harangi Dam, Golden Temple, Jumlu falls and others have been uploaded.

Speaking on how the website works, Aravind says that a series of photographs are taken and stitched after which they are animated. The team plans to upload all the religious places in Mangalore by August.

The website also has a ‘Know Mangalore’ page where the important information of the city, its culture and heritage has been uploaded. With the help of ‘Destination’ page, one can read the information about a spot. One can also suggest some important places to the web team on ‘My discovery’ page. The team will visit the spot and upload a virtual tour. One can get credits for his suggestion. With ‘Image gallery,’ one can see more than 400 stills of different places, celebrations and festivities of Mangalore and one can also get information about bus routes and places to stay, on the website.

Automated tour planners

The website will have automated tour planners by December, says Aravind. All a visitor has to do is to log on to the website and choose his vacation type such a trekking, casual, business or pilgrimage. After giving some basic inputs on what the visitor is looking for, a chart will be prepared and a complete tour plan will be provided as per the person’s budget.

One can also buy the tour package online and relax as the team will take care of the visitor from his arrival till he finishes his tour, says Aravind.

Aravind also plans to stream live video on important occasions with features similar to virtual tour. One can navigate through the video, he says.

Go green

“Many a times when we used to visit a place to create a virtual tour, we ended up cleaning the place before clicking photographs. Lack of dustbins was the main issue,” says Aravind who adds that this made him opt for the ‘go green’ initiative.

The web team has donated many dustbins to famous tourist destinations as a part of its initiative, says Aravind.

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