What you see above is an ultra-high resolution aerial photograph of San Francisco as it looked in 1938. The David Rumsey Historical Map Collection put the image together using 164 large format black-and-white photos of SF that were shot in 1938. When viewed through a zoomable image viewer, the composite photo is pretty much a 1938 version of Google Earth’s satellite view. Read more…
Fractal-like patterns are found widely in nature, “in phenomena including clouds, river networks, geologic fault lines, mountains, coastlines, animal coloration, snow flakes, crystals blood vessel branching, ocean waves and many others.” The fact that it appears on a large scale in geographical formations means that many of these beautiful patterns can be captured as photographs from space.
Innovation is why we love companies like Google. Several times a week, it seems, the company comes out with another program or product idea that makes us all smile (and secretly wonder how long we have until they’ve achieved world domination). Their best ideas, however, involve their user base — and their latest expansion idea for Google Earth does just that. Read more…
If you thought Google Earth was cool, check out the work being done by Swedish corp C3 Technologies. Using only photos shot from planes, they can automatically create high-resolution 3D models of entire cities that can then be explored. The above video shows a beautiful fly-by of New York City.
All of the C3 products are based on high-resolution photography captured with carefully calibrated cameras. For every picture, the positions and angles of the cameras are calculated with extremely high precision, using an advanced navigation system. This is what enables C3 to give each pixel its geographical position with very high accuracy. [#]
They can also apply the technology to turn panoramic photographs captured at street-level into 3D models of the scene that the user can navigate through freely. Hopefully this kind of thing makes its way to products like Google Maps soon. It would also be awesome for creating maps in video games!
Frank Taylor, the guy behind the unofficial Google Earth Blog, is currently on a 5 years sailing trip around the world called The Tahina Expedition. Google is actually a partner in the expedition, and is acquiring content generated by the trip for use in their products. One thing Taylor has been doing is taking aerial photographs of locations using a kite, resulting in imagery that’s much clearer than the photos Google gets from their satellites up in space. Google has already begun incorporating some of these images into their products, as you can see from this Google Maps satellite view of Manihi in French Polynesia.
Google recently added high-quality street level photographs to Google Earth, presumably using the imagery captured through its Street View van cameras. While it’s an interesting development, the fact that everything is flat is a bit strange, and makes you feel as though you’re looking at an outdated video game. How many more years do you think it will be until we’ll be able to virtually tour the streets of a city in true 3D?