Microsoft have released 3D data for New York in their Virtual Earth browser. Created using their semi-automatic capture technique the results out-strip Google's Google Earth city model. The movie below provides a flythough of the model:
Music by Remergence
The scale is impressive, while watching the movie there are times when you forget its a model and that is the sign of a well produced digital representation of the city.
In our previous post on the Populating the Digital Earth we noted Microsoft's view on the construction of their 3D cities:
this is a very expensive process to get off the ground. The startup costs are astronomical and the complexity is daunting, but it scales very well - the cost per building comes way down if you plan to create models of 1000's of buildings (and that's just one city!). If you only wanted to model 1 or a handful of buildings you would grab your favorite 3d modeling package and have at it. But if you want to model all of say Manhattan or London, it would be prohibitively time consuming and expensive. Each approach is valid and has its place. I think that's why our 3d team opted to employ both.
Frank Taylor at the Google Earth blog notes that Microsoft intend to have 500 cities completed by next year. As expected Microsoft have taken the digital earth to new levels.
If this level of detail was in Google Earth there would be a flood of posts on the web praising the next step in virtual globes, yet as its Microsoft the reception seems strangely muted.
New York in Virtual Earth is very impressive.. click here to view via maps.live