Ground level mapping
This is very cool. Using home-grown technology, a Chinese firm has upstaged the likes of Google and Microsoft with a mapping service featuring 360-degree street-level imaging of extraordinarily high resolution.
The service, which is similar to features found on Google’s and Microsoft’s online mapping sites, presently covers eight Chinese cities – including the capital Beijing and Shanghai. I can only imagine the advertising oportunities eg overlaying messages onto billboards etc
The company behind the technology, Shanghai-based Easypano Holdings, is working on expanding the coverage of its City8 website to another 12 cities by the end of the year.
It’s part of a trend in online mapping towards providing users with ground-level shots to complement the satellite and aerial imaging that is already widely available.
The City8 imaging was captured by special multi-lensed cameras mounted on cars which cruise the streets – and even some of the back alleys – of major Chinese cities capturing million of images.
The process is almost identical to the one used by Google, which has been using technology licensed from Canada-based Immersive Media.
These photographs are stitched together using software developed by Easypano and the result is a near seamless tapestry of ground-level images which can be zoomed, panned 180 degrees vertically and 360 degrees on the horizontal.