ImageAmerica Acquired by Google Friday, the Google LatLong Blog announced the company had acquired ImageAmerica, “a company that builds high resolution cameras for the collection of aerial imagery.” Google plans to use the capabilities in Google Maps and Earth. ImageAmerica provided some of the high-resolution post-Hurricane Katrina images (no longer available) in Google Earth.

In May of last year, Microsoft acquired Vexcel. Among other things the company is the maker of an extremely high-resolution camera for orthogonal photography and 3-D mapping. Microsoft is using Vexcel’s technology in both areas. Vexcel also brought automated 3-D rendering to Microsoft, allowing the company to build photo-realistic models of urban areas very quickly.

At the time of the Vexcel cquisition and subsequent launch of Virtual Earth 3-D, Microsoft believed that it had trumped Google and taken the lead in online mapping. Clearly that was true in terms of 3-D rendering, which Google was relying on third-parties to develop manually. But more recently Google has apparently licensed automated 3-D rendering technology to complement its community based approach.

The rest of this post is at SEL.


The reason that Google and Microsoft are battling it out in mapping and investing millions of dollars in developing these applications is that they’re about more than just maps and directions. They’re turning into important developer platforms and, in one version of the future, “metaverses” that have social networking and cross-platform (TV) implications.

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