Technology

Virtual Earth makes a 'Quantum Leap' in 3d

Anthony Marshall
Anthony Marshall
25 Sept 2008
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This new release of virtual earth has some major updates to the 3d plugin. The two biggest changes being real time clouds and 'street view' imagery for 3d models.

The first time I saw the real time clouds demo'd last week my first thought was "this looks just like the opening titles to <a href="http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=dBwrmp5X3q4" target="_blank">Quantum Leap</a>!". Zooming through the clouds at as if in a plane is really cool even if it is a bit of a gimmick.

To give you an idea of what it looks like take a look at the video below of <a href="http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Snowdon" target="_blank">Mount Snowdon</a> in Wales. Unfortunately I couldn't get our normal capture program (<a href="http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Snowdon" target="_blank">fraps</a>) working with the latest 3d plugin so it's not very smooth, and certainly not 'zooming' but it still adds a lot of atmosphere to the landscape.

<object classid="clsid:d27cdb6e-ae6d-11cf-96b8-444553540000" width="400" height="300" codebase="http://download.macromedia.com/pub/shockwave/cabs/flash/swflash.cab#version=6,0,40,0"><param name="src" value="http://vimeo.com/moogaloop.swf?clip_id=1810025&amp;server=vimeo.com&amp;show_title=0&amp;show_byline=0&amp;show_portrait=0&amp;color=00ADEF&amp;fullscreen=1" /><embed type="application/x-shockwave-flash" width="400" height="300" src="http://vimeo.com/moogaloop.swf?clip_id=1810025&amp;server=vimeo.com&amp;show_title=0&amp;show_byline=0&amp;show_portrait=0&amp;color=00ADEF&amp;fullscreen=1"></embed></object>

Go and give it a try for yourself here are a few mountains to try:

<ul> <li><a href="http://maps.live.com/default.aspx?v=2&amp;FORM=LMLTCP&amp;cp=53.068308~-4.076425&amp;style=h&amp;lvl=19&amp;tilt=-18.9550230922267&amp;dir=67.6080078562372&amp;alt=1171.18749668822&amp;cam=53.067919~-4.077994&amp;scene=-1&amp;phx=0&amp;phy=0&amp;phscl=1&amp;encType=1" target="_blank">Snowdon, Wales, UK</a></li> <li><a href="http://maps.live.com/default.aspx?v=2&amp;FORM=LMLTCP&amp;cp=45.868745~6.887672&amp;style=a&amp;lvl=14&amp;tilt=-27.0889791854943&amp;dir=29.4589024617404&amp;alt=11320.9927145364&amp;cam=45.749874~6.791528&amp;scene=-1&amp;phx=0&amp;phy=0&amp;phscl=1&amp;where1=mont%20blanc&amp;encType=1" target="_blank">Mont Blanc, French Alps</a></li> <li><a href="http://maps.live.com/default.aspx?v=2&amp;FORM=LMLTCP&amp;cp=27.970734~86.919315&amp;style=a&amp;lvl=14&amp;tilt=-18.7476781932201&amp;dir=17.1769414206275&amp;alt=11620.4781073928&amp;cam=27.902401~86.895528&amp;scene=-1&amp;phx=0&amp;phy=0&amp;phscl=1&amp;where1=everest&amp;encType=1" target="_blank">Everest</a> - looks especially cool looking down on all the clouds</li> </ul> Now if only we could commercially sell these 3d videos flyovers, like we currently do with <a href="http://www.earthware.co.uk/products/travel/3d-video-tours/default.aspx" target="_blank">Google Earth video tours</a>, it would be brilliant, but Microsoft's 3rd party licensing deals are always the issue.

That's all for now next time we will look at the new 3d street view imagery that's been added to some of the modeled cities.

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