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Silicon Valley's Next Goal Is 3D Maps of the World--Made by Us

By Financial Times

December 9, 2020

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Ordinary online users are being conscripted by Silicon Valley technology companies to produce three-dimensional digital maps of the world.

Facebook, Google, and others hope to furnish this crowdsourced virtual Earth as a precursor to augmented reality (AR) technology.

Google this month announced it would ask Google Maps users to upload photos to Street View using their smartphones for the first time, and only phones running its AR software can participate.

Meanwhile, game developer Niantic is recruiting players to capture scans of local points of interest that form gyms and "PokeStops" in its Pokemon Go game, promising in-game items in return.

Facebook's efforts, unlike Niantic's, focus on non-public locations, including a research project called Replica to generate photorealistic models of homes and offices, with Facebook researchers claiming this "could help us to place your grandma's digital avatar in the seat next to you."

From Financial Times
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