Source: http://www.ted.com/talks/lang/eng/blaise_aguera.html (TED2010 filmed Feb 2010)
Blaise Aguera y Arcas demonstrates a new form of mapping developed by Microsoft, taking mapping into a whole new world.
The video is under 10 minutes long and I was blown away by the technology. The maps are developed from the ‘sea dragon software’ (a video about this is on the TED website), this makes the whole process of using the software very fluid when zooming and panning.
The view of the map gives a 45 degree angle of where you are looking, which is fairly unique compared to Google maps. The mapping area at that point looks pretty much like your regular kind of map, however it is here where this acts as a canvas for various applications to be utilised on the map such as a map of Haiti before and after the earthquake can be viewed.
Photosynths (also known as ‘crowd source imagery’) are another feature, these allow collaboration with users to geographically tag where their photos were taken, which in turn stiches them into the actual map. This is the very essences of what the Sea Dragon software does, putting images together to create a three dimensional view. This in turns brings ‘3D understanding’ meaning by the images together the user can enter a virtual projection of real areas in the world.
The software pushes the boundaries of mapping, insides of buildings can also be mapped now with ‘back pack cameras,’ which works just like the outdoor mapping. The best part of this now is that video can then be broadcast live (if a user wishes to) which will then be stitched in real time to the three dimensional map adding more 3D understanding, building a ‘virtual real world,’ also known as Augmented Reality.
An even more impressive part to all this is Curtis Wongs ‘Worldwide Telescope’ is implemented meaning that its not just the Earth that is mapped but the Universe also (well, not all of it.) Here the user can view what the sky will be like at a specified time, resulting in able to know what constellations are overhead for example. This even stretches for the user to accurately zoom to the moon!
This truly is the future of a form of AR, and also utilises community and collaboration online which uses the Internet for what it was meant to be, a way of sharing with the world.
The view demonstrates these features better than I can describe them!