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.