360° Videos



Next-Gen Gondola Education: Virtual Reality and 360° Videos

Perhaps it’s a little hard to imagine nowadays, but nine years ago when we first started this blog, easily accessible information on urban gondolas was difficult to find. Valuable materials were mostly hidden away in educational depositories such as the Colorado School of Mines and/or in untranslatable foreign language articles.

However, as the internet has by and large democratized and decentralized the flow of information, being able to collect, analyze and disseminate data has never been easier. In fact, we’ve discussed in the past that today’s worldwide growth on Cable Propelled Transit (CPT) may not have been possible without the internet.

If we take a moment to pause and reflect upon the evolution of ropeways, the historical lack of knowledge and expertise in the urban sphere was not coincidental. Traditionally, the development of the technology was primarily concentrated in rural areas where its application was centred around recreational and mining usages.

Even if urban transit ropeways existed — which it did as early as the turn of the twentieth century — chances are that even the most informed city planner in the “pre-internet age” would not be able to tell you that aerial lifts have been used successfully for transit purposes in far-flung places such as Algiers, Medellin, and Chongqing.

The Kohlererbahn was built in 1908 to connect Bolzano and Kohlern. It is considered one of the first aerial lifts built for passenger transport and public transit. Image from Provinz.bz.it.

Compounding these difficulties was the reality that most of the manufacturers, and therefore, expertise in the industry was located in the European Alps where English is not the dominant language.

However, with resources such as Google, Google Translate and YouTube (and of course Gondola Project), immersing yourself in ropeway vernacular today is just one quick click away.

In particular, YouTube, has been an incredibly useful tool for research since many users now upload entire videos of a ropeway’s journey (see Green Line, Yellow Line and Red Line). These videos allow analysts to personally witness and experience the conveniences of urban ropeway transport.

As the next stage of camera and virtual reality (VR) technology is basically ready for mass adoption, it appears that 360° videos will become the next medium for research and analysis. Comparatively speaking, since 360° videos allow the viewer to fully control the viewing direction, viewers can feel as if they are literally sitting in the cabin. No amount of still videos and photos could match the degree of realism in comparison to 360° videos. We can’t help but to imagine what VR could do to help educate users, especially critics, on the possibilities and feasibility of urban ropeways.

From a preliminary search, there are now dozens of 360° gondola videos already on YouTube. And to say the least, the experience is almost unworldly. As an example, we’ve compiled some of the best ones for your viewing pleasure below.

But what do you think? Could 360° videos and VR be used to foster greater appreciation and understanding of ropeway technology? And what kind of consequences could it have on ropeway development in the urban market? Let us know in the comments below or find us on Facebook / Twitter.

Want more? Purchase Cable Car Confidential: The Essential Guide to Cable Cars, Urban Gondolas & Cable Propelled Transit and start learning about the world's fastest growing transportation technologies.

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