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Google Improves 3D Models in Google Earth, Launching for iOS and Android in “Coming Weeks”

by Todd Haselton | June 6, 2012June 6, 2012 10:21 am PDT

Google Earth

Google announced on Wednesday that it has made several improvements to its Google Earth software for Android and iOS devices. The company explained that it uses automated technology to extract 3D imagery from satellite images to improve the 3D models used in Google Earth. Planes with Google-designed camera systems fly over locations in a controlled pattern and take 45-degree angle shots from several directions and directly down. It then combines those images to create a new 3D model. Next, it creates colors and images to match each pixel point on a photo and generates a “textured 3D mesh” to render a scene. Google also announced a new “Tour Guide” feature that allows you to explore points of interest inside Google Earth, such as AT&T Park or the Civic Center in San Francisco. Users can circle around the location in 3D and get a better idea of what the area looks like. The new 3D imagery and the first metro-areas modeled in 3D will land on iOS and Android devices and the tech will be available on other devices later.

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Todd Haselton

Todd Haselton has been writing professionally since 2006 during his undergraduate days at Lehigh University. He started out as an intern with...

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