3D mapping is hot. With this technique people use scanning or 3D techniques to get a better view of a landscape or the space around them. Right now, Japan has entered the game with a free 3D map of Japanese mountains, which can be used for 3D printing.
The map is made by the Geospatial Information Authority of Japan (GSI), Japan’s national mapping and surveying authority. It can be used to view mountains and islands from the angle of a person’s choice. Viewers are able to rotate the image, and to zoom in and out, using the scroll wheel on the mouse. You can even 3D print your own part of this landscape in order to get a perfect view of the landscape.
A good question here could be: why would I? Well, the Japanese have an answer to this, saying it can be interesting for hikers and adventurers. Using such a 3D model of the landscape of your next possible trip, you can directly find out whether for instance a landscape is steep or not. Shoichi Oki from GSI says: “Hikers can use the map to confirm climbing routes because it clearly shows mountain ridges and valleys in great detail.” If you’re interested in a hikers trip through Japan yourself, then you’ll find this a useful website. However, we hope your Japanese is better than ours.
Probably because of such perks, 3D mapping has seen its popularity rise, while offering more and more possibilities. Last year’s September, it became possible to print out your own slice of Norway, a project by the Bengler team, which was called ‘Terrafab’. After choosing your part of Norway in the open data from the Norwegian Mapping Authority, you can choose the area you prefer and get it printed.
3D mapping also interested Google, after which the company started with Project Tango, a smartphone that can map the entire space around a user. A user could walk around a room with the smartphone. A motion tracking camera and a depth sensor will then automatically measure the size and shape of the room, whilst making a quarter million 3D measurements every second. For instance, if you would take a little stroll through your living room, it would help the phone to create a 3D map of your house. Google eventually hopes to create a world map in order to be able to give its customers accurate directions to any point in the world. It could be implemented into Google Maps. Another goal is to help visually impaired people to navigate unfamiliar areas as well as it could also be very useful for the gaming industry.
Image credits: GSI.