Earthmine: From stereo panoramas to an annotatable 3D city model

Earthmine is a competitor to Google Street View that was last blogged here in October. At the time, we noted that Earthmine turning automated city panoramas into an annotatable background canvas really is the state of the art. We even dared hope for some kind of vague far-off future where it is possible to “paint panoramas onto a very accurate 3D rendering of the world, so that every spot in the panorama and its corresponding coordinate on Earth become one.”

Fast forward 70 days. It would appear that Earthmine has done just that. Here is a video of their upcoming mapping product that is definitely worth watching:

The best part: They’ve licensed the technology behind software used by the Jet Propulsion Laboratory’s Mars Rover team which turns a series of stereo imagery into 3D terrain that mission control can then use to steer the rovers.

(Plenty of 3D Mars data sets made with this software were released to the public together with a viewer back in 2004, and it was easily the coolest thing my Mac did that year. That viewer, Maestro, and the datasets, are still available for download today. A must if you haven’t already. Earthmine, now that you have the technology, is it too much to wish for Marsmine? Just the bits where the rovers have been will do…:-)

Only bummer: Earthmine is Flash based, and Apple isn’t doing Flash on the iPhone.

2 thoughts on “Earthmine: From stereo panoramas to an annotatable 3D city model”

  1. The point-cloud modelling stuff (from pano source) isn’t incredibly new — but what I’d still like to see is their taking the same imagery and texturizing the models with it. It’s only a matter of time that Street View does this — which it would be logical to assume will translate back to Google Earth. (My point about the necessity for scalability of the data — generate the/a ‘product’ through the source, and scale it to all applications for inclusion in those environments.)

    The only thing that would have to be accomplished at that point is rooftop texturing from the overhead sources. Google has all the sources — it’s just a matter of them executing on these methods.

    And in that context — Google Earth would become the domain of all source-produced data — Street View derived, satellite and aerial derived. I would gather to suggest that the data would also be scalable to other platforms, such as World Wind and OSSIM Planet. VE? Meh — doubtful.

  2. Yea, yea, yea….would like to see the scientific literature about generating point clouds of a metric environment (1-10-100 meter deep) from a 1 mt wide stereocamera….come on! Is anybody trusting these guys?

    Remind me the Microsoft “Photosynth”, a great idea. And still an idea!

    What’s behind that kind of marketing. Any suggestion? StreetView is a reality, Earthmine is just a very effective flash demo. And only.

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