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3D New York Movie - Virtual Earth

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


  1. Anonymous2:30 AM

    *shrug*. I tried several times to install the Virtual Earth plugin in Firefox and IE, no luck. Wake me up when they have a working product.

  2. Anonymous11:12 PM

    Really, really cool. A number of other major cities were also added with this update as well. Anyways, if you want to view New York, I recommend you have a very powerful PC (if it can run Vista well and is running XP, you're all set) and that you set the cache to 30GB (30720 in the Options>3D Settings window), 20GB minimum so that you aren't waiting forever and a day for the buildings to load.

  3. Anonymous2:37 AM

    Actually, try 50GB with textures and 40GB without, find that works much better.

  4. Great video. I'm wondering if the released data can be used in Google Earth.

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  6. Anonymous6:39 PM

    I installed Google Earth and it amazes me how I can visit all the cities I have lived in and see the changes taking place without being there. Technology is surely changing fast.