FINNISH PHONE MAKER Nokia has launched a 3D beta of Ovi Maps that renders details photo-realistically.
Nokia's 3D beta service at Ovi Maps can be used now if you're happy to install an 11MB plug-in, and you can have your choice of up to 20 big cities, including London. The camera point of view can be changed from about God height all the way down to road level imagery with a 360 degree panoramic view, providing you want to look at Copenhagen, Helsinki, London, Oslo or San Francisco.
Nokia didn't bother to mention how the technology works in its release information, only that it was first launched at the Where 2.0 conference in California. However, it does offer up explanation at its Nokia conversations blog, where it said it partnered with the 3D mapping company C3 to use its mapping technology.
Apparently, C3 shoots one image per second of the same object from 100 different angles. C3 then puts the different images and textures together in post production to create a seamless 3D photo-realistic environment.
"This is the secret to C3 maps' realistic look compared to competitors' hand-made and cartoonish appearance," Nokia wrote in its blog, having a dig at Google Earth's 3D view.
Ultimately, Nokia wants to roll out the 3D Ovi Maps view in more countries over time, but it didn't provide its rollout plan.
What with teaming up with Microsoft and plummeting sales, the Nokia team can do with some good news. Okay, so it's not quite the strategic company boosting addition Nokia needs right now but it should cheer up Nokia users. µ
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