This just in from the San Jose Mercury News: Google aims for 3D World
From the article:The Mercury News has learned that Google has quietly licensed the sensing technology developed by a team of Stanford University students that enabled Stanley, a Volkswagon Touareg R5, to win the 2005 DARPA Grand Challenge….
The technology will enable Google to map out photo-realistic 3-D versions of cities around the world, and possibly regain ground it has lost to Microsoft’s 3-D mapping application known as Virtual Earth….
Microsoft’s Virtual Earth, available through the 3-D link on maps.live.com, gives a hint of what that future will look like. Thanks to a unique approach to aerial photography, clever algorithms and the application of massive computational power, Microsoft has been able to create exact replicas of more than 50 cities, including San Francisco and San Jose.
Google Earth had 3-D cities, too. But until now, the buildings have been modeled by people, not computers, giving Microsoft’s computer-generated cities a decided edge in completeness.Google Maps going 3D? by Mike Blumenthal