Google StreetView expanded to Europe in 3D

CNet posted about expanded Google StreetView coverage in Europe and the coming automation of 3D mapping for Google Earth and, perhaps, the desktop. “With an automated solution, they could go for blanket 3D coverage,” rather than the more limited approach today involving user contributions of basic 3D models, robotics engineering student Mark Cummins observed on his […]

CNet posted about expanded Google StreetView coverage in Europe and the coming automation of 3D mapping for Google Earth and, perhaps, the desktop.

“With an automated solution, they could go for blanket 3D coverage,” rather than the more limited approach today involving user contributions of basic 3D models, robotics engineering student Mark Cummins observed on his Educating Silicon blog. Cummins also helpfully included links to work by start-up Earthmine and University of California at Berkeley researchers Avideh Zakhor and Christian Früh to show what others are doing with 3D street-view imaging.

Cummins bases his conclusion on the use of Sick laser scanning equipment, which sends a laser beam back and forth to gauge distances to nearby objects. Laser scanners can produce a 3D model detailed map onto which imagery can be overlaid.

Google wouldn't comment either on any European expansion or on 3D scanning, but both ideas are consistent with the company's general plans for Google Maps and Google Earth.

“We continue to add more cities in Street View,” spokesman Larry Yu said. “There are of course laws and regulations to consider abroad, so we looking closely at that.” Yahoo has run into some privacy concerns with its street-level imagery.

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Google Maps, Google Street View, Europe, 3D, Google Earth