Google to Map San Francisco in 3D

SiliconValleyWatcher reports that Google plans to map the city of San Francisco in 3D using a fleet of laser-equipped trucks:

Google plans to use trucks equipped with lasers and digital photographic equipment to create a realistic 3D online version of San Francisco, and eventually other major US cities.

The move would trump Amazon’s A9 service, which offers two-dimensional photos of buildings on US city streets.

The trucks would drive along every San Francisco street using the lasers to measure the dimensions of buildings, to create a 3D framework onto which digital photos can be mapped. This would complement the mostly top-down view of San Francisco available through Google’s Keyhole satellite photo application.

The goal is to create similar 3D online versions of other cities in the US and overseas.

The Slashdot community speculates on the potential uses of this service: for example, it could provide much more accurate navigation tools (imagine GPS with an accurate 3D rendering). But the funniest suggestion is integrating it into first-person shooter games like Counter Strike. As one commentor said, “wohooow, google will [let] us frag people in ‘real’ cities…”

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