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A virtual tour is the simulation of an existing location with the help of sequential videos or still images. Other multimedia elements like music, sound effects, floor plans, etc., could also be used. They help in recreating a realistic representation of reality. Virtual tours help in presenting views to inaccessible areas and provide an interesting and excellent alternative to fieldwork when expenses, time or logistics are an issue for people.
Several types of virtual tours exist, including:
There are several methods and techniques available to create virtual tours. A good virtual tour should be able to integrate diverse data types using instantly available methods. It should be able to project images from different viewpoints and scales, and should display non-visual data and be able to enhance and expand user experience.
Virtual tours can be provided to all user levels with flexible access and can be customized to meet the needs of the users. They can give a broader view of things compared to normal views. Virtual tours can also provide an experience that can be repeated, and this feature helps in many ways, especially in education, where it can help reinforce learning for students.
Computer knowledge is required for using virtual tours. They suffer, however, from limited navigational skills, and their lack of sensory experiences of virtual tours may not be preferred by all users. They also lack the serendipitous nature of discovery, which could be less beneficial at times compared to being in the actual location. In addition, virtual tours cannot convey the true three-dimensional natures of objects.
Virtual tours are used in many fields such as education, entertainment, recreation, advertising, etc. Virtual tours are also integrated by websites such as tourism-related ones and help in providing more information than just text-oriented links or websites.