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Tag "Google Maps"

Together with the digital mapping the 3D modes have become very popular and are of most mapping services these days. There is the basic terrain that can be rendered in 3D, but also the buildings.

Google had from very early on 3D buildings for cities, gradually expanding on numbers and quality. They started with grey volumes and now show good quality photo mapped buildings. To get here Google tried crowd sourcing the work in different ways and were really successful. They offer an online tools, the Building Maker, for people to use together with the required data such as location, aerial imagery and images of the building or texture mapping. This was back in 2009.

SenseFly UAV
Image taken from engadget / 3D model of an urban fragment generated from areal images recorded by an SenseFy UAV.

Other companies tried different technologies. Yell Maps were one of the first to show full coverage in 3D for cities using 3D models built from satellite imagery. It is based on lidar scans that created the basic mesh for the topography and then automatically mappen on with images.

This is a very different approach to the Google model because basically the buildings and the topography are mapped out at once. It is a high res topography scan that will include the buildings. This is sort of what other companies are using now for the 3D visualisation of online maps as for example the Nokia OVI maps or the maps available on the Swedish search engine hitta.se.

lidar scan
Image taken from searchmesh / The principles of a lidar scan.

At EPFL in Lausanne a team of scientists has extended on this research and developed a drone based mapping version of a similar technology. It is however, no longer based on laser scanning of the terrain for the point mesh, but instead they are using the images themselves to create the point mesh.

The drone is something like the SenseFly. An UAV works autonomous but can be controlled in rel time and captured images re available immediately after landing. See a clip HERE and a post on Digital Urban HERE.

SenseFly UAV
Image taken from geeky-gadgets / The UAV developed by SenseFly. It comes with a 12m camera and controle software in a neat flatpack box.

The drone will cover an area multiple times taking pictures from different angles as it passes overhead. The computer will match all images calculating the differences and produce the mesh in amazing detail.

This sort of brings the 3D modeling back to the crowd where everybody can join in and produce parts of the digital environment. On a larger scale this would also provide time based imagery with links to a great archive. It could become a tool for project like the Grassroot Mapping project (discussed on uT HERE) and similar projects of public involvement and feed into the Community Remote Sensing CRS movement.

Probably the commercial version is too expensive at $10’000 and mainly focusing on faming applications and land surveys. But maybe an adapted version using an iPhone and the photostich software to merge the images.

Via sunFoundation

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Icons dominate the modern maps completely and with the comic style Google simplifications of symbols our ives have become very ordinary. There are currently some 166 Google standard symbols available in Google Earth and 91 in Google Maps. Of course there are projects to symbolise our worlds, where you an find replacements and additional material for Google Earth and Maps.

Image taken from Google Earth / Set of icons preinstalled with the software.

This domination of everyday live orientation has lead to some surprising and funny projects and reactions. One was the real world Google Maps location marker and now one that I just found as an online project by the artist collective Jodi.
Jodi, or jodi.org, is the duo of the artists Joan Heemskerk and Dirk Paesmans. They started creating artworks for the Web, later they also turned to software art and artistic computer game modification. Now, they have been in what has been called their “Screen Grab” period, making video works by recording the computer monitor’s output while working, playing video games, or coding.’
Their website globalmove.us is a portal to the wold of mapping with Google Maps and Google Earth, a spinning, twirling and hopping approach. If previously the icons made you feel ridiculous this is heaven. It is a very fascinating visualisation?animation using web based mapping tools , on the other hand it is quite annoying and without context that one could start making sense of what is going on on the screen. In the end it really shows how these tools manipulated our daily experience. I like it.

Image taken from globalmove.us / A animated drawing on Google Maps on random locations. Click the image for the animated version.

The work I like best really are the rotating circle locations on Google Earth this definitely makes you feel dizzy after a while!

Image taken from globalmove.us / A map connecting and circling round structures in Brussels on the map. click image for the animated version. Click HERE for additional cities.

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We can usually have it our way, especially using the digital media. There are so many ways and so many options we’ll find something suitable for you. If not try Google or Spezify. Anyway in terms of mapping there is little choice. You can go for OSM, Google Maps, or StreetMap. How we find our way is extensively dominated by these services. In the streets of London people very often stand around at crossroads with an A4 printout of an internet map page to find their way. In everyday situations the classic map producers such as OS have little meaning. This ultimately is true too for the graphics used by these mapping services. These graphics take a dominating role and influence the way we navigate. This is one of the reasons I mainly use the satellite view, but stil this is a very specific representation. However as for example demonstrated by xxxx in his clip these map representations have become everyday objects we are very familiar with and more importantly we trust. Since we relay on it to navigate, we start to believe in it as a true representation of reality and therefor very deeply start to identify with the product.
Compared to proper maps eg. Kummerly und Frei, Schweizer Landestopographie or OS Master Maps, digital maps like Google Maps are extremely simple and cheep. And still or because of this they become so familiar so quickly.
Artists have quickly realised that this is a great opportunity to reflect on the way we are manipulated by a few providers of navigation graphics. One of them is Christoph Niemann and his Abstract City project is really a joy! Dive in and have it Your Way!

Images taken from niemann.blogs.nytimes.com byChristoph Niemann / Three individual maps from the Abstract City project

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It is a really busy season for Santa Clause as he has to bring presents and surprises to children all over the world in only a couple of days. Its is every year the same rush, but luckily he’s got his little helpers. Together they spend all year long preparing for the mad trip to dispatch all the goods. However these days the big trip can be followed on line, Santa is tracked by NORAD (North American Aerospace Defense Command).
Check out the website where you can see him at different locations all over the world going about his business, mainly flying his sledge. There is little detail on how he actually slides down this chimney…

Image taken from NoradSanta.org – screenshot, map showing Santa’s stopovers.

There is also some detailed instructions on how to use the site in this slideshow.

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Google has put online a set of maps containing local knowledge. Basically it represents pieces of local peoples mental map by locating their favourite spots and share it with the world. They can be accessed at Google Favorite Places.
Vancouver is the first Canadian city to go online and ten local experts share their most important places as the Google Blog reports.
Bif Naked (map) – rock singer-songwriter, breast-cancer survivor, Gordon Campbell (map) – Premier of British Columbia, Kit Pearson (map) – children’s book writer, Governor General’s Award winner, Monte Clark (map) – owner of Monte Clark Gallery, Rebecca Bollwitt (map) – Vancouver’s Best Blogger & Top Twitter User for Miss604.com, Rob Feenie (map) – Food Concept Architect for Cactus Restaurants, Iron Chef champion, Ross Rebagliati (map) – Olympic Gold Medallist, snowboarding, Simon Whitfield (map) – Olympic Gold & Silver Medallist, David Eaves – public policy entrepreneur, open government specialist (map), triathlon (list taken from eaves.ca)
But you also get other famous peoples favourite locations, as for example Al Gore’s spots or Tony Hawk’s most liked places. All in all this could start building up a personal world view through favourite spots. However at the same time it also points out the limitation of the Google Maps interface and especially the graphics. THe way locations get tagged and how information is embedded really is not intuitive.

View Ross Rebagliati’s Favorite Places in a larger map

Found through wiseristhepath

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Gaming in the real world is currently the big thing and interactive technologies do support these activities. However there is on the other side similar effort to make games more realistic, see game engines on digitalurban. In between the two extremes, you could say, there sits Google Maps and Google Earth. Of course not as an official game but in terms of reality vs. virtual, as it virtually represents the reality. Google has so far had little aspiration to take on the games market, apart from the flight simulator in Google Earth together with release 4. There are now with the release of the new flash version some new options. Not Google, but independent developers, have started to merge some gaming interaction with Google’s virtual real world platforms.
A very early one was the Monster Milk Truck that could be driven in Google Earth. I love that one, it is hilarious with some nice, but simple effects, like jumps that made the feeling. It was made possible by the release of the Plug-In to run Google Earth in a browser.
Earlier this year we saw the launch of Monopoly based on Google Maps and now there are some new racing games out.
One is RealWorldRacer by Tom Scott. Here you can enter a destination in Google Maps as you would to find a route you are planning and off you go. There are some four cars to compete with. Along the track there are check points and you have to drive relatively close to them to deactivate. This is to make sure you are not driving off somewhere on the map, as there are currently o other bounding elements implemented.
Another tool is googleDrive developed in conjunction with the MIT by Samuel Birch, this one is said to have limitations where you can only drive on the actual roads, however it did not work on my machine so let me know what you think of it.
A third one is Driving Simulator on geoquake and here you can choose between four different vehicles. It has just released a beta version with a perspective to drive the car HERE.

Image by urbanTick – Screenshot Real World Racer : Plymouth to Exeter. You can tell, I am driing the red paper car that is going down towards Sutton Harbour.

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