We are currently witnessing the emergence of a new trend in the geospatial industry: the use of aerial photogrammetry techniques to generate 3D models of our environment and a mainstream access to these new models/ 3D maps. Photogrammetry has been used for decades in the mapping community but the demand for 3D geospatial data is expanding and technology is evolving at an unprecedented pace with new multi-angle camera mapping systems specifically designed to increase overlapping images, resolution and coverage.
Map users got for the first time public access to 3D city models generated from aerial photogrammetry through Nokia’s maps (Check out Here.com). Based on an automatic system powered by C3 technologies (originally created by SAAB), it is now possible to create textured 3D models of urban environments by extracting the geometric properties of objects presents in the aerial photographs. In late 2011,Apple bought C3 technologies to provide identical 3D maps. http://www.apple.com/au/ios/maps/
Based on a similar mapping technology, Google is currently adding a new type of 3D maps. You can see a few examples available in Google Earth 7 including San Sebastian, Spain and Canberra, Australia. http://www.google.com.au/earth/explore/showcase/3dimagery.html.
Google already has a large database of human generated 3D models and in some cases the imagery is being used to re texture these prior models. http://sketchup.google.com/3dwarehouse/
It is just a question of time until other big player join the race. Who will be next?
While these new 3D maps give the general public an exciting new way to visualize the world, these new datasets designed to cover large areas lack accuracy and resolution.
This is where we, at AEROmetrex, enter the game with aero3Dpro:
Also based on aerial photogrammetry techniques, aero3Dpro 3D models have been specifically designed to generate high-resolution, geographically accurate and fully textured 3d models of natural and urban environment to provide geospatial solutions to clients where high accuracy is needed. The following video gives an example of how aero3Dpro models look like in Google Earth, a pre-rendered video of Adelaide as well as an example of aero3Dpro model used for engineering-type work.
Adelaide virtual city model
To learn more about the potential applications of these 3D models, I encourage you to join the the following group on LinkedIn “3D city Models“