Friday, April 15, 2016

From Street View to 3D

Did you know that Street View on Google Maps has hidden depth data. This hidden depth data has been used by projects like Urban Jungle to enhance Street View imagery and by others to create 3d point clouds of real-world locations.

Urban Jungle is a fantastic website that allows you to view Street View scenes enhanced with some virtual jungle greenery. The effect is possible because of this undocumented depth data stored in Street View. Urban Jungle is able to use that data to create a depth map which can be used to plot geometry and sprites in the 3d space of the Street View panorama.

Callum Prentice's Street Cloud and Street Cloud Flow uses Google's hidden Street View depth library to create 3d point clouds of real locations. In these demos the depth maps break the Street View data up into dots and recreate the scene in an interactive 3d scene.

Patricio Gonzales has done something similar in his Skylines III project. In this project you can explore 3d point cloud scenes of the Ile de la Cite in Paris and the Queensboro Bridge in New York. Patricio has also posted his Street View Depth Map scraper on GitHub.

Peter Pisljar has also started creating 3d maps with Street View depth data, However Peter's maps also use satellite imagery to provide textures and elevation data to create realistic terrains. 3d World Modeling with Three.js combines all this data to create an impressively realistic interactive 3d map of a real world location.

All you need now are some VR goggles and you need never venture outside again,
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