Map Games: The 3rd dimension has arrived.

June 6, 2012 2 Comments by admindreamsoft

By Christopher McFarland

America is home of the “melting pot”. Throw a few things together and we will create something new, novel and niche. This is the American way!  In my research I have found an interesting trend: the symbiosis of architecture and cartography. These are two things that I was in love with as a young boy, and today, these two things have provided endless hours of entertainment on the internet.

From Tubmlr to TED events streaming online, the avid fan of buildings and maps are allowed to view some of the most spectacular human renderings of creativity: all this has been super-sized due to the implementation of 3D technology.

Google vs. Apple!  On one hand you have Google, an amazing company that has changed the internet right before our eyes. The contender: Apple, the new standard in modern technology. Why are they are war?

Map Games Image

Map Games Image

Maps: the company that controls maps is the company that will control the way people move in a city. I feel that in this apps-race, Apple may have an edge over Google. Apple has made great strides in buying C3 Technologies, an innovator in 3D technology.

C3 Next Generation

On June 6, Google will hold a map-centric convention to talk about all things cartography. The contender, Apple, will hold an even on June 11th that is cartography centered. Why are they rushing into this maps app-race? Because the basic 2D map rendering provided now, is simply out of date and provides little information that is usable.

I will use architecture as an example of what is necessary. If either of these contenders wants to solidify them as a leader, they would look to the iconic buildings that line the major cities of the world: Chicago, New York, Seoul, Dubai, Tokyo, and Singapore to name a few of my favorites. There is nothing like looking at a skyline as you ride into a city on a train, plane or automobile.

How does architecture and maps collide? Well, newer architecture firms have been working on a 3D platform to show potential investors how things will turn-out after construction; this is a must in 2012. We want to know where the money is going and what the final product will be. In architecture, with the advent of the fourth dimension, time was born into visualization. Is 4D the new 3D?

Not really, 4D is nothing more that showing time in these renderings. Allowing investors and potential clients to view the project as it moves along in the stages of production.

BIM or Building Information Modeling takes the user to a new dimension by allowing people to “fly around a project virtually” according to company sources. Also, users can “jump into the site and walk the building”. Now, BIM is being argued as one of the most important advances in architecture. However, I would like to extend this idea to the maps app race. What is the use of a map, if BIM is not incorporated?

Both Google and Apple have been crooning users about 3D map images, however simply having a 3D interface is not enough. I call for BIM!  I want to be able to look inside the restaurant that is being displayed. I want to check out what is on the 3rd floor of Macy’s. Cartography is an old discipline dating back to Christopher Columbus, now it is time that programmers take on the imagination and enthusiasm that Columbus had for exploration and bring that energy into 3D maps.

Not only do I want a useful image, but with BIM introducing the 4th dimension, maps built using BIM technology will be able to show different locations at different times as the sun changes, the weather changes and as the foot traffic changes. This would be awesome!

Imagine this, you arrive in sunny Miami, you navigate yourself to your Maps application and there is a nice 3D/BIM map of the city. You know a lovely restaurant that you want to try. You find it on the map and you can see the space of the building, you can see the sun setting over the ocean. Also, you find that at this moment, the foot traffic is low. You know this is the place to go because you have been able to view the location and review what will happen as the sun goes down and pedestrian traffic changes. This is information that will push me to use a 3D rendered map, not just images that are popping out of my phone.

I suggest that both companies extend the customer service and push for not only 3D but BIM technologies to be incorporated into this maps race. A stunning image is one thing, but a stunning image with useful information is the perfect mix of ingredients that would create a new way of interacting with the age old discipline of cartography.

One Comment

  1. Drew says:
    Monday, September 24, 2012 at 6:11am

    Do I get it right, I can use 3D maps to see places I cannot go to?


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