OK, first off – a disclaimer. I’m blogging about a new software tool – I have no connection whatsoever with Earthmine – I just think it’s a cool new tool for AutoCAD Map users, so I’m sharing.
Thanks to Google Maps, Sketchup, and other visualization tools, there is a stronger interest in seeing things from a 3D and realistic perspective than ever before. There’s a new tool for AutoCAD Map 3D that shows some interesting promise for GIS users. Think of the streetview from Google Maps, and now incorporate that kind of view interactively into your GIS applications. Earthmine combines a new collection process collecting stereo photos as well as point cloud information to create a 3D photographic view of an area. Now take that view, and integrate it with your geospatial data in AutoCAD Map 3D. You get to see the photo model, with your data right in the model.
I see some exciting applications for asset management – municipalities, utilities and campuses, as well as land developers.
So while you “look” around the street, your data shows up in real locations. So you can see the streetview with your valve or manhole location where it might not otherwise be visible in the photograph.
Or get an idea of the subsurface utilities under the street while looking at the model.
It’s a major step forward in the technology. The data itself is coming from Earthmine servers that either you can host, or have Earthmine host. It appears that you can license model information from their partners, or create your own photo models. Imagine making a 3D view of your new development or campus with your geospatial data superimposed. It brings to mind a number of possibilities. Aside from the tools for viewing the data in AutoCAD Map 3D, Earthmine also has a mobile 3D mapping system so you can have your own photo car to drive around (or pedal). I’m pretty excited to see how this technology advances in the coming months and years. I’m looking forward to getting a closer view of this new tool.