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Google Already Has 3D City Maps

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So is Google really working on a plan to create 3D maps of major cities, as rumored last week? Heck, it turns out the company already has these type of maps. They are available to those beta testing the latest version of Google's Keyhole software, AKA, Google Earth.

Check out the screenshots here and here for examples of the 3D renderings of nearly 40 cities. Is the data coming out of the rumored Google program. Nope. It comes from third parties, Google says.

OK, it could be that those third parties are working on behalf of Google. Or maybe Google is running its own 3D mapping program in addition to using third party data. In either case, Google said it won't comment on rumor or speculation.

The 3D mapping program is something different than the non-3D city block photographing project, which we know Google is involved with. After all, Google is credited on the home page of that project as funding it.

Any news of what will happen with that project, such as an attempt to rival A9's Block View feature? Google has no details to reveal, sending this statement:

Google supports many university research projects worldwide, but we have not made announcements related to the project you're referring to.

Back to 3D, Brad Hill dug up some nice research about a non-Google affiliated Berkeley project doing and a PDF research paper on the subject. None of this is specific to what Google may or may not have underway, but it should please those looking for more about such projects.

Postscript: SiliconValleyWatch, which originally reported news of a 3D project, has posted a picture of where the mapping truck is kept.

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