Panoramic look at Joplin destruction

Joplin, Missouri tornado aftermath

You hear people who have been to Joplin, Missouri say the pictures and video you see of the tornado damage don't do justice to the actual destruction.

John Ohnemus of AirFoil Aerial Systems agrees.

He was in Joplin for three days last week trying out some new technology to get some some better than panoramic shots of the damage.

John Ohnemus says, "I've never seen anything like it. Through the floods, tornados around here, nope. Never seen anything like that."

That's John Ohnemus of Air Foil Aerial Systems talking about the destruction in Joplin, Missouri. There's a safe bet that you've never seen the destruction like this. This is what Ohnemus calls a spherical. It's several aerial pictures taken in sequence, and then digitally stitched together to make it more interactive for you.

Ohnemus says, "It does away with still pictures and video. Instead of shooting video of stuff I want you to see, or me taking a picture, now you zoom in and look around the picture and look at the part of the picture you want to see."

In the future, this equipment could be used for search and rescues. Here's how it works, a camera is mounted on one of Airfoil's machines, like this T-copter. The camera takes three and a half pictures per second as it rotates. The pictures are then digitally stitched together and rendered to give you the spherical. Ohnemus has about 750 pictures he took of the Joplin damage.

Ohnemus says, "The idea is to get it on the ground, see if you can get it up quick. See if it works in that area, what it's going to do, and what problems you're going to have in that kind of heat and the debris, and stuff on the ground."

Ohnemus has had this technology for about a year, and has tested it around here, but thought the tornado's aftermath would give him more of a real life test of how best to use this technology. He made sure and go down after the immediate need for help was over. He didn't want to be a hindrance, but wanted to see how his equipment worked in a real world experience so next time, it may be able to help in a search and rescue mission.

John Ohnemus told the city of Joplin that he'll come back and do similar pictures once the rebuilding gets underway.

At some point he'll give all the sphericals to the city, so the residents can see the rebuilding process.

Ohnemus is also sending us some of his sphericals.

He'll be sending more as the week goes on, so make sure and check back often.

Click here to view one of AirFoil's unique shots.

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