Sunday, March 27, 2016

This is how you can travel around the virtual 3D Earth right from your Virtual Reality Headset

London-based eeGeo is creating a 3D model of the entire world. Developed by gaming stalwarts who previously worked on Grand Theft Auto, Lemmings and Lego Series, eeGeo's map will be used in gaming, virtual reality and augmented reality.
"Our model of the world is like a gaming world, but it is in fact geometrically and geographically very accurate, as accurate as satellite data and Google maps," said Ian Hetherington, chief executive of eeGeo. "Our ambition is to build the whole of the world."
EeGeo, which was founded in 2010 and launched its first map publicly in 2015, has already landed deals to map for major international clients, including Cisco, Samsung and the V&A Museum of Design. Even though the product has not been designed for commercial use, its app has already been downloaded 4.5 million times.

And this month, eeGeo raised $5 million (£3.5m) in an investment round led by NetSol Technologies to expand the map and its uses.  txt Ian Hetherington's first company, Psygnosis, created major video games, including Lemmings and Wipeout. It was bought by Sony in 1993, and Hetherington moved with it to work on the PlayStation console. "Since the Sony days I've been starting and building companies in the video game space," said Hetherington.
His latest venture, eeGeo, is creating its 3D map of the world using data from TomTom, Ordnance Survey, Nasa, the US Geological Society and Zenrin - a Japanese map publisher.
"We can build a whole country in a matter of weeks," said Hetherington.
EeGeo built a 3D model of Japan, which including hundreds of thousands of buildings, mountains and railway lines, in just three weeks.
"We've since expanded it with cherry blossoms and bullet trains," said Hetherington. "The model aggregates, so it's really simple for us to add to it at scale."
Hetherington and his team of 20 people have been working on the technology behind the eeGeo map for five years.
"We've had a team of 20 of the finest games engineers working on this since 2010," said Hetherington. "We had four million downloads before we announced the company."
EeGeo's world map differs from those by Google and Apple as it is malleable and programmable, according to Hetherington. "We give people the tools to build the world they want to," he said. "If you want to highlight every building with poor efficiency in res, you can." And if you wanted to design a bright pink, sparkly world you could also do that.
More practical realisations of the technology include pointing out where products are in a shopping centre to help customers navigate, or tracking patients and equipment in a hospital to help it run more quickly and efficiently. "The savings are absolutely black and white," said Hetherington.

While the eeGeo continues to build its entire map of the world it is also concentrating on its next challenges - mapping interior spaces and developing the product for virtual reality. "The whole VR industry needs something special and we think we've got it," he said. "This is what really gets me out of bed every morning."
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