More details about yesterday’s Virtual Earth update

We mentioned it yesterday, but now we have details of the imagery update in Virtual Earth, thanks VE: An Evangelist’s Blog.

I had hoped to see more of their awesome “version 2.0″ 3D cities added, but no new ones were added this time.  Still, it’s a very impressive update!

Here’s part of the list:

Microsoft Ultracam Orthos

  • Pueblo, CO
  • Wilmington, DE
  • St. Joseph, MO
  • Graceland, TN
  • Memphis, TN
  • Mesquite, TX
  • Burlington, VT
  • Yokohama, JPN
  • Kawasaki, JPN
  • Setagaya, JPN

Obliques (Bird’s Eye) – US

  • Areas NW of Birmingham, AL
  • Pickens County, AL
  • Charlotte County, FL
  • Boulder, CO
  • Pueblo, CO
  • Pasco County, FL
  • Fulton County, GA
  • Black Hawk County, IA
  • Johnson County, IA
  • Woodbury County, IA
  • Douglas County, KS
  • Olmstead County, MN
  • Suburban St. Louis, MO
  • Hinds County, MS
  • Mississippi Metro
  • Smith County, MS
  • Tallahatchie County, MS
  • Tate County, MS
  • Tunica County, MS
  • Yalobusha County, MS
  • Yellowstone County, MT
  • Pitt County, NC
  • Merrimack County, NH
  • Lancaster Metro, PA
  • Lawrence County, PA
  • Minnehaha County, SD
  • Pennington County, SD
  • Eau Claire, WI

Obliques (Bird’s Eye) – Australia

  • Gold Coast, Australia
  • Sydney, Australia
  • Hobart, Australia
  • Wollongong, Australia

Obliques (Bird’s Eye) – Europe

  • Aberdeen, UK
  • Edinburgh, UK
  • Dunfermline, UK
  • Cumbernauld, UK
  • Falkirk, UK
  • East Kilbride, UK
  • Dundee, UK
  • Crawley, UK
  • Glasgow, UK
  • Liverpool, UK
  • Las Palmas, Spain
  • Telde, Spain
  • Santa Cruz de Tenerife, Spain
  • Den Helder, Netherlands
  • Ruhrgebiet Region, Germany
  • London, UK (updated)
  • Ruhrgebiet Region, Germany
  • Berlin, Germany
  • Agrinion, Greece
  • Chalkida, Greece
  • Chania, Greece
  • Drama, Greece
  • Ioannina, Greece
  • Kalamata, Greece
  • Iraklion, Greece
  • Katerini, Greece
  • Kavala, Greece
  • Lamia, Greece
  • Larnia, Greece
  • Serres, Greece
  • Trikala, Greece
  • Patra, Greece
  • Volos, Greece

Orthos – US (0.5m)

  • Albuquerque, NM
  • Santa Fe, NM
  • Augusta, GA
  • Charlotte, NC
  • Columbia, SC
  • El Paso, TX
  • Florida Southwest Coast, FL
  • Ocala-Gainesville, FL
  • Gulfport, MS
  • Knoxville, TN
  • Myrtle Beach, SC
  • Nashville, TN
  • Oklahoma City, OK
  • Panama City, FL
  • Pensacola, FL
  • San Francisco, CA
  • St. Cloud, MN
  • Tampa Bay, FL

Satellite – Worldwide

  • Baker Island, USA
  • The Alhambra in Grenada, Spain
  • Ahmadabad, India
  • Pune, India
  • Bhopal, India
  • Timbuktu, Mali
  • Bhudaneswar, India
  • Indore, India
  • Patna, India
  • Nagpur, India
  • Bangalore, India
  • Calcutta, India
  • New Delhi, India
  • Bombay, India
  • Hyderabad, India
  • Jaipur, India
  • Kanpur, India
  • Madras, India

Some background on how Virtual Earth creates 3D buildings

The Virtual Earth 3D blog has a post today that explains in detail how they create each 3D city.  From the article:

Microsoft’s acquisition of Vexcel Corporation, a 20-year old provider of remote sensing solutions, provided the Virtual Earth team with a broad background in photogrammetry, geospatial data production, and digital elevation model (DEM) generation and refinement.  The models and their texturing are generated from aerial imagery generally captured at a 15 cm ground sample distance (GSD) by planes flying at roughly 5,500 feet over the target city and capturing a minimum of 5 views for each building (top and 4 sides). Since the Vexcel acquisition, this aerial imagery is increasingly being captured using the Vexcel UltraCAM series of high-resolution digital cameras, providing Virtual Earth’s 3D display with sub-meter accuracy.

Along with being able to generate massive numbers of models per city, they’re also able to load quickly for each user.  In fact, this is one of my favorite things about Virtual Earth.  They’ll load 3D models very quickly and very low-res, then slowly sharpen them up as you zoom in on them.

Google Earth, on the other hand, can only load full-res models.  Google’s models tend to look a little better than the ones in Virtual Earth, but the quantity and load time make VE’s cities look much better.

The full article goes into much more detail, and it’s well worth reading.

Microsoft is pouring it on — 60 more cities are now in 3D

To go with yesterday’s 36 TB imagery update, Virtual Earth now has another 60 cities in 3D.  Amazing!

The list:


* Chino (124 sq. mi.)
* Corona (65.17 sq. mi.)
* El Monte (129 sq. mi.)
* Fontana (100 sq. mi.)
* Fullerton (122 sq. mi.)
* Ontario (99.43 sq. mi.)
* Pasadena (108 sq. mi.)
* Riverside (123 sq. mi.)
* San Bernardino (126 sq. mi.)


* Arvada (207 sq. mi.)
* Aurora (237 sq. mi.)
* Boulder (131 sq. mi.)
* Lakewood (108 sq. mi.)


* Hartford (89.32 sq. mi.)
* New Haven (70.29 sq. mi.)
* Waterbury (81.46 sq. mi.)


* Davenport (93.46 sq. mi.)


* Nampa (103 sq. mi.)


* Peoria (83.34 sq. mi.)
* Springfield (79.38 sq. mi.)
* Waukegan (77.33 sq. mi.)


* Kansas City (53.21 sq. mi.)
* Overland Park (168 sq. mi.)
* Topeka (74.54 sq. mi.)
* Wichita (97.86 sq. mi.)


* Lowell (85.32 sq. mi.)
* Springfield (87.43 sq. mi.)
* Worcester (54.55 sq. mi.)


* Gladstone (82.76 sq. mi.)
* Independence (83.61 sq. mi.)
* Kansas City (94.76 sq. mi.)
* St Louis (129 sq. mi.)


* Cary (83.93 sq. mi.)
* Charlotte (75.73 sq. mi.)
* Durham (113 sq. mi.)
* Fayetteville (99.34 sq. mi.)
* Greensboro (91.59 sq. mi.)
* Raleigh (104 sq. mi.)


* Fargo (86.02 sq. mi.)


* Manchester (88.08 sq. mi.)


* Cleveland (122 sq. mi.)


* Eugene (90.13 sq. mi.)
* Gresham (148 sq. mi.)
* Hillsboro (111 sq. mi.)
* Salem (77.59 sq. mi.)


* Providence (82.71 sq. mi.)


* Rapid City (207 sq. mi.)
* Sioux Falls (64.72 sq. mi.)


* Provo (79.74 sq. mi.)
* Salt Lake City (99.66 sq. mi.)
* West Valley City (95.8 sq. mi.)


* Newport News (144 sq. mi.)
* Norfolk (172 sq. mi.)
* Richmond (99.76 sq. mi.)


* Eau Claire (86.58 sq. mi.)
* Green Bay (85.28 sq. mi.)


* Lachine (60.9 sq. mi.)


* Liverpool (43.04 sq. mi.)

Very impressive, I must say…

More updates to Virtual Earth

Microsoft has just released a new version of Live Search Maps (named Gemini), as well as revealed a few more places that were updated in the past few days.

The new version has a lot of cool stuff:

  • 1-Click Directions – Also known as “party maps”, this is a single permalink that you can send out, and each person can get directions to it from their house with a single click.
  • Route Around Traffic – It’s a check box option to have it automatically route around traffic jams, based on the live traffic data.
  • Data Import – Import GeoRSS, GPX and even some KML.
  • Birds Eye View in 3D – A way to view Birds Eye imagery while in 3D mode.  It’s kinda weird, but very cool.
  • 3D Tours and Videos of Collections – You can build a “tour” (fly around, look at stuff, etc), then share it with others by sending them a simple URL.  They can control the tour using DVD-style controls.
  • 3D Modelling – Using Dassault, you can create 3D buildings in VE.
  • Collection Search and Explore – A search engine for more content.
  • Enhanced Detail Pages – More info about each business listed in VE

You really need to read their full post to get details about all of those enhancements.

Also, there was more to their latest imagery update than we posted a few days ago.  In addition to all of that Birds Eye data, the following was also added:

Birds Eye Imagery

  • Madrid, Spain
  • Stockholm, Sweden
  • Dopenhagen, Denmark

Ortho Imagery

  • Imperial County, CA
  • Fresno, CA
  • Cincinnati, OH
  • North Kentucky
  • Kern County, CA
  • Louisville, KY
  • Merced, CA
  • Blythe, CA
  • Lexington, KY
  • Willow Springs, AZ
  • Wilmington, NC
  • Placer County, CA
  • St. George, UT
  • Ft. Pierce/Stuart, FL
  • Northeast Ohio
  • Pensacola, FL
  • Catalina Island, CA
  • Ft. Myers, FL
  • Panama/Tallahassee, FL
  • Florida Keys, FL
  • Gainesville/Ocala, FL
  • US 19, WV

Satellite Imagery

  • Banff, Canada
  • Everglades, FL, United States
  • Freeport, Bahamas
  • Grand Teton/Yellowstone, CA, United States
  • Pusan, South Korea
  • Malta
  • Marsh Harbor, Bahamas
  • North Bimini, Bahamas
  • Whistler, Canada
  • Helsinki, Finland

All in all, it amounts to an astounding amount of new stuff for VE.  Very impressive!

A bunch of new 3D cities in Virtual Earth

Chicago in Virtual EarthYesterday, Microsoft added 3D data to a bunch of cities.  They include:

  • Arizona
    • Phoenix
    • Tucson
    • Tempe
    • Mesa
    • Avondale
    • Gilbert
    • Peoria
    • Glendate
  • Augusta, GA
  • Denver, CO
  • Nashville, TN
  • Chicago, IL
  • Fort Worth, TX
  • Coral Springs, FL
  • Edmonton (Canada)

Chicago, in particular, is quite impressive.  Enlarge the screenshot at the top, check out a great video of it, or go see it for yourself!

3D Campus buildings are now in the default 3D layer

As reported by the Google Earth Blog, the winners of the “Build Your Campus in 3D” are now available in Google Earth.  Check them out in Google Earth, or watch the video that gives a brief tour of each campus.

Google’s “Build Your Campus in 3D” winners announced

As announced on the Google Lat Long blog, today Google revealed the winners of their “Build Your Campus in 3D Competition“. They are:

  • University of Minnesota – Department of Architecture
  • Purdue University – Departments of Computer Graphics Technology and Education
  • Concordia University, Loyola Campus – Department of Civil Engineering
  • Stanford University – Department of Architectural Design
  • Indiana University Purdue University Fort Wayne (IPFW) – Departments of Engineering and Computer Science
  • Franklin W. Olin College of Engineering – Department of Engineering
  • Dartmouth College – Departments of Computer Science and Digital Art

The winners get to fly out to Mountain View in August for a 3-day visit and workshop.  Fun prize!

Even better, Google says that nearly 4,000 buildings were modeled and submitted for this contest.   That will certainly give their 3D content a boost when all of that is pushed into Google Earth.

Massive updates to Virtual Earth

Microsoft just announced a ton of new updates for Virtual Earth.  This includes:

  • Updated road/hybrid map styling for the entire world
  • Hillshaded roads for the entire world
  • 3Di/Boulder hi-res orthos for 44 cities in 10 states, along with a bit in Canada and some in France.
  • New or expanded 3D models in 47 cities, along with some in France and in the UK.

You really need to just go see the full list, then go check it out for yourself in VE.  Quite impressive.

They already had a substantial lead over Google in their quantity of 3D buildings, and this update has just extended that lead much further.

All of the data in this update has been included in the API as well, so that’s good news for sites that take advantage of it.

Update to the Google Earth 3D Buildings layer

huge_building.jpgGoogle has just pushed out their June update to the 3D buildings layer. Some cities with updates include Chicago, Christchurch (New Zealand), Karachi, Rome, Barcelona, Amsterdam and Moscow.

In addition, there is a big bug in this update. There is a building in western Turkey that looks like a normal house but is about 11 miles wide! You can view it here, but hurry — Google will likely fix it soon.

Google Earth Blog has the rest of the details about this update.

Complete 3D model of Rome, circa 320 A.D.

This is both amazingly cool and horribly frustrating.  The Institute for the Advanced Technology in the Humanities at the University of Virginia has built a complete 3D model of the city of Rome as it was in 320 A.D.  “Rome Reborn”, as it’s called, is astoundingly sharp and consists of billions of data points.  FTA:

“To create the digital model, researchers scanned a 3,000 square foot, 1/250 plaster model of the city – the “Plastico di Roma Antica” – which was completed in the 1970s. Because of the model’s intricacy – the Plastico’s Coliseum is only 8 inches tall — Italian engineers used laser radar originally designed to measure precise tolerances on jet parts to scan within a tenth of a millimeter. Each 6-by-6 section contained 60 million data points.”

As of now it has only been licensed to a tour company in Rome, but they’re in talks with Second Life to bring it there.  We can only hope that it might find its way into Google Earth or one of the other digital globes one day as well.