Google does it yet again

This is perhaps the coolest new piece of technology I have seen all year. Google has just expanded their Google Maps service to allow for full 3D navigation of cities. Currently it is limited to a small number of large US cities like New York and San Fran, but presumably this will be expanded in the near future. Check it out by going to Google Maps. Then select ‘street view’ and zoom in on on say New York city or San Francisco. You’ll then have a little man icon that you can drag to different parts of the map. When you do this a window will pop up with an interactive 3D view from the point of view of the man. I can’t imagine the labour that went into accumulating all this data, but boy is this cool.

Addendum: I wonder how long it will take for Google to merge this data with Google Earth, allowing for 3D navigation of the Earth all the way down to the street level.

2 thoughts on “Google does it yet again”

  1. I wouldn’t quite call it full 3D navigation. It looks like what they’ve done is collected a series of panaromic snapshots every 10 feet or so along every street. Nonetheless it’s pretty amazing, and with enough data of this type they possibly could automatically create a full 3D model of every city in the world, but it would take some pretty smart algorithms.

  2. That’s true. Really it’s an interactive panorama. Very similar to Apple’s QuickTime VR technology from quite a few years ago. Nonetheless, it’s very cool technology. And, as you point out, with smart algorithms the possibility exists to convert this data into true 3D.

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