New Website Shows Visitors Hawaii in 3D

Travelers will be able to check out Hawaii hotels, shops and thousands of attractions in 3D on a new website backed by eBay founder Pierre Omidyar.

Honolulu-based Team Vision Virtual is calling its, the "next generation travel-planning and booking tool."

The 3D portal incorporates Google Earth technology. Visitors can fly around computer-generated images of tourist spots, looking at all sorts of different angles in an interactive virtual tour.

The free Hawaii site will feature 2,000 beaches, museums and attractions and the company has signed up three dozen hotels and stores as well -- including name-brand hotels such as Starwood Hotels & Resorts' Hawaii properties, the Hyatt Regency Waikiki and Hilton Hawaii.

Hawaii is the first of 10 states Team Vision Virtual plans to feature in similar 3D portals.

Check out this demo video:

"3DHawaii helps guests understand how our properties are positioned in relation to the beach and other landmarks makes for a better learning experience," says Michael Troy, Director of Field Marketing, Starwood Hotels and Resorts in Hawaii and French Polynesia.

"We see this as a way to better present our product to those that are doing extensive research on their possible visit to Hawaii. Seeing our properties 'pop' versus those that are 'flat' or not easily defined will give us an advantage," he adds.

Bruce Polderman, product manager for Google Earth calls the site "an innovative approach to vacation planning."

Officials of Team Vision Virtual say they chose Hawaii for the launch because it was in their backyard and is also "the most desired travel destination on earth."

Craig Carapelho, CEO of Team Vision Virtual, tells The Associated Press the idea for the 3D travel planning site came when Google released software about two years ago that made its Google Earth program Web-based.

"We thought, 'Wow, this is our opportunity to create Hawaii in 3-D, where you can click on everything, whether it's a restaurant, an activity, a beach, a park, a hiking trail," he says.

The computer graphics of individual hotels were created from thousands of photos, Carapelho tells AP.the 3D presenation of the sprawling Hilton Hawaiian Village in Waikiki, for instance, makes use of some 4,000 photographs.

No word on what other states will be similarly featured, but plans are to launch a second site this fall and the remaining eight by the end of next year.

Photo, Hilton Hawaiian Village, bsterling, flickr
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