Everyscape is poised to launch their virtual version of the world this fall. Looking to compete with Google Earth, this flash based online mapping application will use panoramic photos to create a 3D view of the world not just just from the street but will also of interiors of buildings. The plan, according to the company is to “bridge the gap between the physical world and the virtual one by allowing people to search, find, and experience every aspect of a city or town.” Currently, a demonstration of Union Square in San Francisco is available for “test driving” with stated plans to cover Boston, New York and Seattle.
The demonstration is interesting although the navigation tools take a little getting used to. Click and drag the mouse to spin the scene in any direction including up and down. You can also click on the Google map to the right of the demo area to jump to a new area. As you pan around each scene, circled letters pop-up on the screen that you can click for more information, mostly hyperlinks to the establishment’s web site or to reviews. Periodically, a “Go” sign pops up that takes you to the next scene. Sometimes the imagery toggles back and forth between day and night without explanation which is a bit confusing. For example, clicking on the “Go” sign leading towards Macy’s also transitions the scene from day to night. Some of the “Go” signs lead the viewer inside of the building; clicking the “Go” sign above Saks Fifth Avenue zooms the view into the Harry Dentins Starlight Lounge.
The company envisions that the intimate level of imagery will be used for site seeing, checking out hotels, apartment hunting and more. Interior views are created by stitching together photos to provide a panoramic view.
The plan is to launch the product for ten cities in the U.S. by the end of the year. The level of imagery needed means that the company is looking for “scape artists” which are listed in levels named Graffiti, Amateur, Master and Commercial Artists.