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Imaging the World: The State of Online Mapping

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Wherever computers are commonplace, free online mapping systems such as MapQuest and Yahoo! Maps are among the Web's most popular reference sites. Consumer sites such as these compete to improve their interfaces and data relevance to better appeal to the browsing public. But innovation in online mapping isn't limited to these household names. Three trends dominate online mapping today: 1) the bringing together of more data sources, whether from public-domain sources, community input, or extrapolation from multiple, diverse sources. 2) Increasing the resolution and timeliness of those sources, particularly those relating to site photography. 3) Combining those sources in useful and easy-to-navigate ways. Recent pushes in these areas have opened up interesting new opportunities for computer graphics professionals. For example, Google's SketchUp program provides a direct way to create 3D models of real-world objects for placement in Google Earth. Such models could be marketable to companies seeking to catalog, manage, and develop their real-estate holdings. At the same time, other geographic data take on greater value, as they can now be placed in a larger context within online mapping systems and promoted via the shared world of online map sites

Published in:

Computer Graphics and Applications, IEEE  (Volume:27 ,  Issue: 2 )