3D Elbflorenz in the net

World's Largest 3D City Model Released on Google Earth

Extract from the 3D model of Dresden HPI
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Dresden is the second city in the world to present itself three-dimensionally on the Internet and photorealistic over long stretches to Berlin. Visitors to the 3D model can now take a stroll through Google Earth's representation of "Elbflorenz" since July 9th-without having to move away from their desk. The technology behind it was developed in Potsdam.

The Dresden city administration has released on Monday, July 9, 2007, a 3D "replica" of the Saxon capital on the virtual globe Google Earth With more than 150, 000 buildings, it is currently the world's largest digital city model. Dresden - like Berlin already on 8 March - came before Hamburg, which announced a similar appearance on 17 January, but that is not online yet. Internet users now get a true-to-original impression during a virtual tour through www.dresden.de/3d, as if they strolled through Elbflorenz in person. On the computer screen you can now, for example, walk past the kennel like a pedestrian or fly past the Frauenkirche or other sights by helicopter.

3-D-stroll through Elbflorenz

"So far, Google Earth has only photorealistic images of a few selected buildings in New York, Cape Town, Hong Kong or London, but the city silhouettes themselves are only blocks with a neutral surface, " explains Head of Development Dr. Ing. Konstantin Baumann from the Hasso Plattner Institute for Software Systems Engineering (HPI) in Potsdam. In the near future, however, more and more municipalities would be using their virtual replica in such a way, explained Professor Jürgen Döllner, head of the department "computer graphics systems" of the institute. Entire urban areas could recently be presented in 3D and realistically on the virtual globe Google Earth. He has significantly developed the basic technology for such 3D visualization. The software behind the 3D models and the photorealistic impression were provided by the Potsdam-based company 3D Geo GmbH, a spin-off of the Hasso Plattner Institute.

Software combines 2-D data with altitude information

The true-to-the-original look of the Dresden cityscape in Google Earth comes about through the Potsdam-developed 3D software "LandXplorer". "Simply put, LandXplorer automatically takes two-dimensional map data and combines it with elevation data. Using a new method, the facades are then positioned on them, which have been cut out of specially recorded imagery, "explains Marc Hildebrandt, Managing Director of 3D Geo, on the development process.

According to his information, there is currently no comparable city model in the entire Internet alongside Dresden and Berlin, which offers such an information space for visitors, citizens, business and administration. The 3D geo-software even makes it possible for non-experts to install three-dimensional houses, building complexes or complete urban landscapes in the aerial photos of Google Earth. "Without having to be a computer graphic designer, everyone will be able to bring their own 3D data close to reality on the Internet and make it usable worldwide, " Hildebrandt describes the advantage of the new additional tool to Google Earth. It automatically converts the three-dimensional content into the KMZ format required by Google Earth. display

For the authoring tool LandXplorer even a record of eight million buildings poses no problem. The software efficiently and automatically textures the largest city models for Google Earth. The LandXplorer understands in contrast to Google Earth Professional also all geographic information system formats and can export to Google Earth. He can also prepare the data for streaming.

Data stays local

Because the adjusted geodata is protected against access by third parties, cities and municipalities can also present their official geodata always up-to-date and situationally on public platforms such as Google Earth. The data remains in our software solution on your own computer and do not go into the jurisdiction of Google Earth over, "emphasizes HPI Professor D llner a difference to the approach in Hamburg.

The real estate sector, commerce, gastronomy and the hotel industry as well as providers from the fields of culture, media, advertising, leisure and tourism could have a particular interest in the new kind of city visualization through fascinating walk-in and flyable 3D worlds, For example, the virtual tourist can be given a highly realistic foretaste of the real local experience - be it a stroll through the city or a bike ride in the countryside. It is also possible to provide additional information related to the building. Architects can use Google Earth to present their own designs, urban developers can involve citizens in planning processes, and global corporations can visualize their global corporate infrastructure.

"Virtual city models nowadays offer an excellent infrastructure, which is used by very different interest groups to communicate all kinds of spatial issues directly and vividly, " says D llner. The fascination lies not only in the graphic representation, but also in a 1: 1 relation to the reality. One of the important tasks of local authorities is to build these infrastructures now.

(Hasso Plattner Institute for Software Systems Engineering (HPI), 10.07.2007 - NPO)