Virtual Earth Adds Cities



Seven new and updated 3D cities were published yesterday – Calgary, Redmond, Buffalo, Beaverton, Portland, Swindon and Brighton on Microsoft’s Virtual Earth.

Lots of aerial and Birds Eye imagery was published as well. Here’s Portland, Intel in Beaverton/Hillsdale, Calgary and Brighton.

Converting flat images into 3-D virtual-reality models that can be manipulated on-screen is the essense of Fotowoosh, which frees the person viewing a photograph from the photographer’s point of view so that he or she can explore perspectives other than the one the camera actually captured.

Freewebs, a Silver Spring, MD, company that hosts 14 million personal websites, is about to launch a consumer version of Derek Hoiem’s software on the Web. He hopes Web users will upload thousands of photographs to Fotowoosh and share the 3-D versions with other visitors, making the service into what he calls “a 3-D Flickr.” A test version of the Fotowoosh system will be launched in May. The system works best on outdoor images. Converted photos look a bit like the illustrations in children’s pop-up books: there’s an obvious “ground” corresponding to the flat page in a pop-up book, and vertical surfaces stand at right angles to the ground, representing objects such as walls, trees, and vehicles.

Microsoft’s Photosynth has a similar capability, but without the 3D model manipulation. Gigapixel imaging may be the next big thing.

Imagine video tours of your city from one hundred years ago, re-created from archived photographs. More fun than a Global Incident Map.

Posted by Sam Churchill on .

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