Microsoft announced a partnership with NASA to use its Photosynth 3-D application to provide users with interactive images of the upcoming Space Shuttle Endeavor launch. There’s also a related Photosynth tour of the Kennedy Space Center.
Here are a few shots from the collection:
Photosynth takes two-dimensional images and knits them together into an experience that offers 3-D navigation. It’s a different and complementary approach to what Microsoft is doing with Virtual Earth 3-D. At some point in the relatively near future, I would expect to see an effort to combine the technologies. One could imagine, for example, Photosyth still images layered on top of Virtual Earth 3-D cityscapes, offering more detail about a location or building — or images of the building interior.
Startup EveryScape also has the capacity to take traditional still photographs and combine them into what might be called a 3-D tapestry. The company’s formal launch will be this fall, and it’s involving the community in providing some of the imagery.
While the Photosyth imagery is very interesting, it may strike many people as simply novel or fun. But it should be seen in the context of other developments, including Google Earth and StreetView, as part of an evolution toward a much more visual, much more “immersive” and “dimensional” Internet — the so-called “3-D Internet.”