Google Street View
Credit: Image by Google Street View

What is it? An app for taking and sharing spherical images with your smartphone

Cost: Free

Devices: iOS and Android

How is it of use to journalists?

Creating 360-degree visuals can be time-consuming and expensive, but there are now a variety of apps and tools available that allow mobile journalists to produce content on-the-go, at a fraction of the price.

Apps like Pie, Cardboard Camera, Sphere and Splash are all useful options that offer reporters an immersive way to engage with their audiences.

Google Street View is a well-known feature in Google Maps and Google Earth that provides panoramic views from streets in cities across the world, but it also offers users of its app the ability to make 'photo spheres' with just their smartphones.

Open the Facebook post below to see our example, which took under five minutes to shoot, stitch and share a 360-degree image using a mobile phone:

To get started, open the app and press the orange camera button on the lower-right of the screen.

Once you've given the app permission to access your photos, you'll have the option to either link an external 360-degree camera or use the app's camera to create your own – a cost-efficient choice if you are a mobile journalist on a budget.

Select the camera option and hold your phone vertically and close to your face.

You'll see a rectangle appear on the screen with an orange dot inside it. Start shooting by tilting your phone until it focuses on the dot and the phone will automatically take a picture for you.

Remaining in the same place, slightly alter the positioning of your camera. Another dot will appear on the screen, so just repeat the same step of pointing and capturing the footage around you until you have re-created your surroundings on screen.

There is also an option to blur part of the image if you want to leave out people or sensitive material. Press and hold the section of the screen you want to blur and you will see a white square highlighting the area. Note the blur is only visible after you have published the picture.

Once finished, click done. Google Street View will take approximately a minute to stitch your 360-degree photo together. You can publish your image publicly on Google Maps or share it on Facebook as well as other social platforms – however make sure they support 360-degree content first.

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