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3D Mapping from Tele Atlas


When most people think of GPS devices with a “3D” display, what they picture is a view of the road ahead from the perspective of near-ground level. The width of the road ahead narrows to give the illusion of 3D. The area at the bottom of the GPS covers a shorter distance (more closely zoomed in) than the area at the top of the GPS furthest away from you. But we will soon need to drop this definition of 3D displays, because “true” 3D maps are coming to GPS devices before too long. So what is different about the new “3D”?

GPS 3D DisplayInstead of just displaying a 2D map at an angle to give a 3D perspective, new devices and maps will actually be able to represent height of relative objects. Medians can be drawn on the GPS and those drawings can have shadows to illustrate their relative height. More importantly buildings can be shown in 3D to serve as landmarks, guiding the driver to know exactly when to turn. Checkout the image at the right and see an example of this 3D imagery. Click on the image to see a more detailed view and notice how the “yellow brick road” shows your route and actually wraps around the corner and you can see the turn ahead superimposed on the buildings as if the buildings were transparent. Also, check out this video showing what it will be like to drive in “real” 3D.

GPS 3D CityWhile we won’t likely see these types of maps in the next few months, we will see them over the next few years. These images come courtesy of Tele Atlas and show the progress they are making on their 3D models. Note in the first image that you can actually see the color and construction of the buildings…. think of the possibilities of verbal instructions that might be possible with such data. “In 500 feet turn right after the red brick building”. Wouldn’t that be nice?

Tele Atlas will start releasing this data to their partners in July for about 50 cities in Europe. Following next year will be more cities in Europe plus cities here in the USA as well as Asia.

“Three dimensional digital maps deliver a navigation experience that is even more tangible and realistic, with features that can ultimately help improve map usability,” said Basak Ozer, vice president, global product marketing, Tele Atlas.

To help their partners develop devices and applications to utilize the new 3D data, Tele Atlas has partnered with 3D modeling companies and hardware companies to help Tele Atlas partners incorporate this data into their devices.

3D landmarks are already available of some cities in Europe and there are already some devices on the market which incorporate that data such as the Pioneer AVIC-HD3BT. That device can display 518 different landmarks within Europe in 3D.

Sometime next year Tele Atlas plans to deliver about 1,000 3D landmarks in the USA covering about 30 major cities.

4 Responses

  1. It seems to me that as we get more 3D maps, we are going to have to be concerned about internal memory of our GPS units and possibly buying a rather large amount of additional memory on an SD card. This is especially true as we share more POIs with fellow users as well ad the ones we download.

    JeepLover - November 4th, 2007
  2. Yes, it will take a bit more memory, and much more processing horsepower to process 3D images. As such the prices of devices that support it will likely be higher.

    Tim - November 5th, 2007
  3. It is a wonderful product. Do we have some thing in the mild form for Asia?

    tahir raja - November 5th, 2007
  4. Great job. Should i see one of Portugal… i guess i would buy it.

    Faroia Alves - January 10th, 2008

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