Microsoft Live Labs has turned these research ideas into a streaming multi-resolution Web-based service called Photosynth.
You can also read about newer research we have been doing in this area at the University of Washington Photo Tourism project page.
Paper and video
Noah Snavely, Steven M. Seitz, and Richard Szeliski, Photo Tourism: Exploring photo collections in 3D," ACM Transactions on Graphics, 25(3), August 2006. (Video WMV), Video (MOV))Abstract
We have developed a system for interactively browsing and exploring large unstructured collections of photographs of a scene using a novel 3D interface. Our system consists of an image-based modeling front end, which automatically computes the viewpoint of each photograph as well as a sparse 3D model of the scene and image to model correspondences. Our photo navigation tool uses image-based rendering techniques to smoothly transition between photographs, while also enabling full 3D navigation and exploration of the set of images and world geometry, along with auxiliary information such as overhead maps. Our system also makes it easy to construct photo tours of scenic or historic locations, as well as to annotate image details, which are automatically transferred to other relevant images in the collection. We demonstrate our system on several large personal photo collections as well as images gathered from photo sharing Web sites on the Internet.