Microsoft announced that it’s enhancing Virtual Earth in the UK with improved 3-D elevation data from Intermap Technologies. These improvements will make their way throughout Western Europe and to the U.S. The idea is to use better terrain and elevation data to provide a more photorealistic 3-D experience overall.
Meanwhile EveryScape says it has found a cheaper, more scalable way to build 3-D environments.
Everyscape, which we wrote about here, told me yesterday that the company has spent roughly five years developing a technology that makes it simple, relatively inexpensive and scalable to build 3-D models and cities from traditional photography.
“We don’t require a specific type of camera or rig or anything like that. We can start with anybody’s photography; the core technology is very different than traditional approaches,” said Jim Schoonmaker, the CEO. Schoonmaker added that while there’s complexity and heavy lifting going on “in the middle,” both “ends” of the process are very simple.
Prior to the debut of EveryScape.com, the company had been building virtual tours for travel sites, such as TheBreakers.com. The idea that EveryScape can potentially leverage ordinary photography from people in the community is very interesting and might mean the company can quickly build out lots of cities. The company also wants to capture interiors of public buildings and stores, in addition to providing exteriors.
EveryScape identified three markets that comprise its initial focus: travel, real estate and local search.
The challenge with the Microsoft Virtual Earth 3-D experience right now is its speed. While spectacular, it’s slow to load in most cases. EveryScape believes it has created a mass-market 3-D experience that promises to be fast and accessible to most users.