Everyscape: A 3D Worldviewer Made From 2D Photos

everyscape

Everyscape aims to be able to show you the whole world — both inside and out — from its website. It plans to do this with normal 2D photos. Using proprietary technology Everyscape will stitch these photos together and 3D-ify them. The result is a pan-n-scan world accessible through a Flash viewer.

When looking at their viewer you are presented with small, green arrows that direct you around their representation of the realworld. When you click one of the arrows you zoom though the 3D’d photo (a neat affect). It’s not just outside some of the arrows will take you inside buildings. Throughout the app you’ll see web links and info boxes in the form of small blue circles. You can currently check out San Francisco’s Union Square with the Everyscape viewer.

To make their representation of the world Everyscape needs to know the lat-long and the orientation of the camera when a picture was taken. This data is used to stitch the photos together and place them in the world. The comparisons to Microsoft’s Photosynth (Radar post) are very obvious. The models generated by Everyscape are less CPU-internsive to generate and require less data, but are not nearly as detailed — given Everyscape’s goal I am not sure that it needs to be.

In addition to professional teams that tackle major population centers, Everyscape will also enlist their users to document the world. Called Scape Artists, people can sign up to photograph geographic areas. The Everyscape team sees the use of commodity hardware and the ability to enlist their users as a huge advantage. They claimed their data capture costs to be two order of magnitude cheaper then both Microsoft and Google.

Everyscape is launching with San Francisco this fall. They told me that they would have ten cities by the end of the year. On the homepage they list San Francisco, Boston, New York , and Seattle as coming soon. They claim that takes three weeks for them to record a city (the same number that MS quoted at Where 2.0) so expect the roster to expand quickly after the initial batch. If you want them to come to your town vote early, vote often to help them choose.

Everyscape is still determining their revenue model. They can easily embed advertising and local search into their application. There may be other methods of monetizing their « eye-level search ». Real estate agents would probably love to put their houses up in a viewer like this.

The company was founded in 2002 by Mok Oh. He developed the 3D effects and photo-stitching when he was at MIT. Everyscape took funding in 2004 and brought on its current CEO in 2005.

Everyscape is an interesting player in this space. It’s a combination Virtual Earth/Google Maps and Photosynth, but much cheaper to develop content for. Will this cost savings help them out much? Will users tolerate exploring cities in sort-of-3D? Will they be able to get users to their site? If they can get users to grab content for them and fill in the gaps that MS & Google will surely leave in their 3D offerings then they may have a differentiator.

After the jump is an early technology preview video developed by Mok. You can really see the similarities to Photosynth in it.


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