Shanghai Daily comes out with this news item today:
Digital map to provide 3D view of downtown
By Zhang Jun 2007-2-10
BY the time the World Expo opens in 2010, travelers will no longer have to visit the city in person to enjoy a three-dimensional tour of its downtown core. They will only have to boot up their computers.
The city plans to create a digital, three-dimensional map of Shanghai that can be easily searched online. The project will be similar to Google Earth, a site that lets you study satellite images of the planet, but will provide an even better look at the city’s architecture, according to Shu Rong, a researcher with the Shanghai Institute of Applied Physics, which will provide airborne camera technology for use in the project.
Users will be able to view the map using a PC or cell phone.
“The map will provide a vivid city tour,” Shu said, noting it will include pictures of the sides of buildings, unlike the Google site which only provides a birds-eye view of cities.
A couple of comments:
- Just as when France’s IGN decided to come to build a custom viewer, Géoportail, to depict its imagery of France, you have to ask: Why chain content to a specific delivery mechanism? Wouldn’t it be better if IGN and the Shanghai city government made their datasets available in an open format, viewable with a range of virtual globes? Isn’t the whole idea to disseminate this information as widely as possible? Imagine coming out with a special browser exclusively for your website — it doesn’t make any sense.
- You can bet your bottom dollar that this content will be censored, just as GéoPortail’s is. Then again, censorship seems to be something Google Earth is no longer immune to either.
- 2010 is far off. Google Earth already today lets you show 3D buildings, as does Microsoft Virtual Earth 3D. The mind boggles when I consider what virtual globes will be capable of in 2010, especially considering the rapid rate of development we’ve seen over the past 18 months.
(Thanks to Robert Jacobson for the heads-up.)