Google is accelerating “crowdsourcing” on Maps. The latest expression of this trend is Building Maker, announced yesterday. It simplifies the process of 3D rendering dramatically, in an effort to get ordinary people online involved in building up Google’s 3D warehouse of images. There the best version of a building with multiple renderings is chosen and added to Earth (and Maps).
Like Map Maker, My Maps and the new “report a problem” initiatives, Google is combining its own technology (satellite, Street View), public and some third party data, with crowdsourcing to enhance its Maps product. Microsoft by contrast relies on technology it acquired with Vexcel for automated 3D rendering.
There are all kinds of interesting potential applications of 3D cityscapes that I can imagine as the Internet migrates to TV screens.