Will Google Maps 'Rewrite' 21st-Century SciFi Novels?

2368138510_7442a66806_o Taking urban sci-fi to another level, the British headquarters of Penguin Books recently premiered a new website called - We Tell Stories. The basic idea is that six authors will tell six stories over a period of six weeks.

The first story, The 21 Steps by Charles Cumming, was created integrating using Google Maps as an integral part of the plot structure.  In Charles Cumming's story, inspired by John Buchan's famed novel The 39 Steps, we follow a man, watching from above, in an omniscient satellite view.

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Google Maps Now at Street Level View

Picture_5Google debuted Street View yesterday, a feature that gives Google Maps users the perspective of drivers and pedestrians in a city at street-level views . That offers a deeper and more detailed view of locations than aerial images provide, initially in its maps of New York, Las Vegas, Miami, Denver and the San Francisco Bay Area. It said that more cities will be added "in the near future."

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Berlin -Europe's "Hot" City goes 3-D on Google Earth

Potsdamerpla_1"Mr. Gorbachev, tear down that wall!" The course of the infamous wall can now be seen along with more than 44,000 buildings in the western and eastern parts of the Berlin in 3D on Google Earth. Otherwise visitors can cast forward to the present and take a tour of the new Central Station  or zip into the Reichstag, home of parliament, or take a stroll inside Frank Gehry's famous DZ Bank on the Pariser Platz.

Berlin is the first city in the world to present itself in 3D. The German capital commissioned a 3D model from '3D Geo', and then provided the model to Google free of charge. Leave your passport in the desk and zip over and see Europe's trendiest city on your Mac or PC.

You will need the newest version of Google Earth. Note that access is likely to be slow over the next few days simply due to server overload, but give it a shot.


Quicktime Virtual Guides to Italy's Great Cities

Florence_sunsetI wish I had these state-of-the-art interactive Quicktime guides to the great cities of Italy on my last trip to Florence and Rome. These ItalyGuides provide Quicktime movies of the great cultural and architectural landmarks, photo galleries, interactive city maps (including Google maps of Rome and Siena), free audio tour downloads for your iPod, MP3, or GP Garmin. Cities included in this series are Rome, Venice, Florence, Sienna, Pisa, and Naples. The Virtual Tour of Florence, for example, provides Quicktime Videos of all the great landmarks, as well as free downloads of Micheangelo's David, the Piazza della Signoria, and more. Totally cool! Posted by Casey Kazan.

Italy Guides


Google/NASA to Offer 3-D Virtual Tours of & Moon

Marsshadedreliefmap_1Google teamed with NASA's Ames Research Center in December to produce high-resolution 3D maps of and the Moon in the same detail as Google Earth. Users will experience a virtual flight over the surface of the Moon or through the canyons of Mars.The collaboration will also seek to make Nasa data available on the internet, including live weather maps and forecasts, plus real-time tracking of the International Space Station and shuttle. Google will also assist Nasa in managing the vast amounts of information held across the agency’s network of computers. Posted by Jason McManus.

Story Link

NASA/Google Press Release


Planet Earth Goes Mobile

GooglemapslgGoogle extended its Google Maps service for mobile on U.S. Windows Mobile devices. This version of Google Maps for mobile enables users to view interactive maps and satellite imagery, find local businesses, get point-to-point driving directions, and view live traffic updates. The Windows Mobile 5.0 version of Google Maps for mobile is also GPS-enabled, allowing users whose mobile devices support GPS functionality to view their current location.

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Future of Google Maps: Hamburg goes 3-D

Most cityscapes on Google Earth are flat, but in the next few days or weeks -- downtown Hamburg will debut as Google's first three-dimensional city.

0102066138900 "With the textured facades, Hamburg is the first city worldwide that can be seen in such detail," Google spokesman Stefan Keuchel told Der Spiegel in Hamburg on Wednesday, without mentioning exactly when hundreds of buildings in Hamburg's downtown were due to go live in 3D. Expanding its mapping service into the third dimension is high priority for Google. "We want to develop the ultimate virtual globe," said Keuchel. The California-based company plans to build virtual 3D maps 0102077850000 of most major cities -- along with a search function that will show, say, every restaurant along a given street.

The problem is that to build a database of a city in 3D, Google needs photographs of every building, from every angle. It plans to collect them with the help of user-contributed images. Volunteers can use a program called "Sketch-Up" to fill in the outlines of major buildings with their own photos.

The approach is fundamentally different from Google's main rival, Microsoft, which wants to offer a similar 3D versions of cities on its own mapping service, Virtual Earth. Instead of using uploaded photos from users, though, Microsoft simply bought a company that specializes in gathering such images.

Hamburg will be the first metropolis available to anyone who has downloaded Google Earth's free software.

Check out Spiegel Onine 3-D Maps Live Link