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Google Crowdsourcing 3D Maps

Google is getting way cool.

Today Google announced that it is crowdsourcing 3D maps, calling it “Google Building“. Google Building pretends to be a cool new Lego-like game for tech geeks to waste their time with, but in reality, it’s crowdsourcing that I expect will work well for Google.

Check out the video:


Google smartly makes use of the perspective views obtained from aerial photography, and provides the (simple) tool for overlaying simple geometric shapes it can easily register to the images. It then (again, easily) maps the images to the built blocks. If you’ve ever worked in image processing, you recognize this as very smart engineering — taking the available data, simplifying the remaining tasks to those that are easily accomplished but which deliver greatest impact.

After all, Google doesn’t need the rendering to be exact. It needs it to look good and be a close relative approximation. And since it is easy and fun, it can be crowdsourced.

Bravo, Google.  I can’t wait to see various cities race to be the first fully-rendered (San Francisco?).Oh, and of course the cross-promotion/adoption of Google Earth, Google Maps, Google SketchUp, etc.


  1. Wow this is soo cool, how comes I’d never heard about that?!!! Google is getting cooler and cooler, This is just a masterpiece!

    Wednesday, October 14, 2009 at 2:20 am | Permalink
  2. Oribium wrote:

    Crowdsourcing creates amazing stuff that’s not possible to achieve in any other way. Google definitely know how to take advantage of that. Great to see!

    Friday, October 16, 2009 at 6:45 am | Permalink
  3. Ray wrote:

    Google is always coming up with something. If they can’t come up with something then they just buy something so someone else don’t come up with the idea. This kind of resembles Google Maps or Earth, which is kind of cool but can be very time consuming. At any rate something to check out and have a look at.

    Saturday, October 17, 2009 at 9:37 pm | Permalink
  4. Tom wrote:

    You’ve got to hand it to Google, they never cease to amaze. There is a reason they are mutli billionares or whatever it is! Good on ’em I say!! This looks like it’s going to be fantastic and ALOT of fun!

    Monday, October 19, 2009 at 6:20 am | Permalink