Yesterday, I got a post showing stockholm in 3D... not using Google Earth, not using Virtual Earth.. it's a new technology that a startup developed, it's 98% automated... they claim it took them 3 days to build a 3D model for stockholm (after capturing the photos).
Here is a random shot I picked...
As they say, the process is simple,
- They capture very hi-def areial photos,
- Input them to their processing unit for their innovative algorithms to analyze
and that's it, you get a nice fully textured 3D model...
When asked about Google Earth & Virtual Earth, they said
-GE using a very basic model to build 3D cities, they let the community manually build the cities..
-VE builds 3D Models for buildings only, we build anything that is higher than specific height, which means you will see 3D trees (not very nice though)
-GE runs as a desktop application (seems they didn't hear about the activeX browser plugin)
-VE runs as an activeX control (only on windows)
while hitta.se runs on Java (which runs on all OS, on all browsers)
Comparing the quality,
GE's models are the best in shape,
VE's models have textures,
Hitta.se is faster to build...
As I see the future in this field is toward a more accurate automated process, google's approach (so far) will need a lot of time -even with large participants- to build the universe in 3D...
Maybe a combination of both can do the job.
here is a link to enjoy the 3D Stockholm, it requires the latest JRE.
That's it so far, keep in touch.
Live Maps added the functionality to rotate the camera while in bird's eye, I think this is a step toward automated 3D "cities" generation