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C3’s Amazing 3D Cities

I’m at O’Reilly Media’s Where 2.0 conference in San Jose. It’s a crowded and exciting confab on one of the hottest topics in tech: location-aware applications and services. There are a bunch of interesting demos going on, but the one that’s really knocked my socks off so far is one I’m watching right now, by a Swedish company called C3 Technologies. Mapping applications such as Google Earth include some painstakingly handcrafted 3D models of buildings, but C3 uses photos taken from aircraft to capture entire cities–buildings, trees, everything–and recreate them as photorealistic 3D models. We’re swooping through London, Las Vegas, San Francisco, and other locales, and it’s just stunning.

This video isn’t new, but it gives you a taste of what C3 does:

C3 says that its technologies requires no human intervention and can recreate an entire city in weeks. The company has recreated fifty cities to date. I can’t wait until stuff like this shows up in mapping programs, on GPS handhelds…everywhere there’s geography. Amazing stuff.


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