May 30

Brady Forrest

Brady Forrest

Where 2.0: Microsoft Adds to the 3D Web

ve's nyc

Microsoft's Erik Jorgensen gave a really well-received talk today at the Where 2.0 conference. During it he announced the arrival of Virtual Earth's largest data dump yet with 11.5 terabytes of compressed imagery. It included New York City (see above) and 20+ other cities. It also included a huge amount of aerial (not satellite) imagery for a lot of Europe. The Virtual Earth blog has the complete list of new content -- including the data provider. They now have 80% of the US population covered with 3D imagery.

Erik affirmed his belief in the 3D web stating that Microsoft felt it had to move up the foodchain to complete its vision. Thus they bought Vexcel (Radar post) over a year ago to leverage its remote sensors. They have started to model Rome and it only took them 3 weeks to do it. Erik also showed us the sensor-generated interior of a library. The detail was amazing. There were also many mentions of leveraging their data through partnerships and opening it up for long-tail applications.

This was a great message and it was really well received on the Where20 IRC channel. However, Microsoft's 3D web is not cross-platform and can not be brought up on many of their browsers. As I was telling an MS exec yesterday I think that although 80-90% of their traffic is Windows/IE that the rest of the web isn't (especially amongst developers) and no web developer wants to have to think about cross-platform issues for their potential audience. Erik, VE Team we implore you! Make your awesome 3D cities cross-platform so that those of on Macs and Linux can use it. Perhaps with Silverlight? Trust me, you will gain developers.

[Thanks to Chris Schmidt for transcribing this talk]


Microsoft just sent me some screenshots of their 3D interior visualizations:



And a visualization of some work done with their MapCruncher Toolkit:


tags: geo, web 2.0  | comments: 6   | Sphere It

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Comments: 6

  Pascal [05.30.07 12:32 PM]

Incredible What Microsoft is doing here ( And google does with maps and Earth) I hope they will start indexing Europe soon!
Why does Microsoft have to do everything Google does though!? :-/

  steve [05.30.07 01:06 PM]

I think Microsoft are winning this battle, and Google rushed out Street View to have an answer, any answer. However, Microsoft still have the "ground view" problem which their rapid aerial techniques won't solve.

Google's use of the Stanford technology along with Street View will bring them back in front. To compete, Microsoft also needs to acquire a good dose of street level viewing, and their previous effort is too old to use now.

So Google will win this round, however Microsoft will be ahead for quite some time yet.

  Jason [05.30.07 01:43 PM]

Microsoft has a huge inventory of street level imagery, of the same smooth 360 degree flavor that Google just launched. Over 50 cities, I believe, most of which has been collected in the past several months. For whatever reason, they seem to be keeping a lid on it and focusing on 3D modeling. Could a launch be around the corner, but Google beat them to the punch?

  NY NJ [05.30.07 08:48 PM]

We have been using this Web service in our industry for the past year. It has proven to be an enormous asset and convenience.

Just imagine how this technology and others like it will develop over the coming years, and what a time savings it will be for so many travelers.

  Georg Stonawski [05.31.07 12:36 AM]

This 2 screenshots of 3D interior visualization (FYI: its Emperor Karl statue, taken in the austrian national library)are reconstructions done by VRVis algorithms in its project josefsplatz.

  Link [06.18.07 04:35 PM]

It will be interesting to see the "depth" and power of this 3D app. The possibilities are endless; virtually zoom through the city streets, see an interesting restaurant, click on the door to find out more and make reservations.

As processing power increases and storage becomes cheaper, new applications will need to be developed to take advantage. What will the next 10 years bring?

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