Explore Berlin in 3D

New trend: Virtual trips through 3D cities on the Internet

Brandenburg Gate in 3D Hasso Plattner Institute for Software Systems Engineering GmbH
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Berlin is the first German city to present itself in three dimensions on the internet and photorealistic over long distances. By integrating them on the virtual globe "GoogleEarth", you can now walk through the Brandenburg Gate on the computer screen or fly close to other sights as realistically as with a helicopter. However, according to the Hasso Plattner Institute (HPI) at the University of Potsdam, this is just the beginning: in the future, more and more municipalities will probably use 3D technology to inform tourists or to plan city buildings.

"So far, Google Earth has presented only a few selected buildings in New York, Cape Town, Hong Kong or London in a realistic manner, but the city silhouettes themselves are only in the form of blocks with neutral surfaces, " explains development manager Konstantin Baumann. In spectacular contrast is the faithful look of Berlin's cityscape in Google Earth. It comes about through the Potsdam-developed 3D software "LandXplorer". "To put it simply, we take two-dimensional map data, combine the data with elevation data, and use a novel process to 'glue' the facades cut out of specially captured imagery, " says Marc Hildebrandt, managing director of 3D Geo, describing the creation process.

Geodata individually expandable

According to Hildebrandt, there is currently no comparable city model in the entire Internet, 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 3D content to the KMZ format required by Google Earth.

Because the geodata set are protected against access by third parties, cities and municipalities can present their official geodata always up-to-date and situationally on public platforms such as Google Earth. "The data remain with our software solution on the own computer and do not go into the jurisdiction of Google Earth, " emphasizes HPI Professor Döllner. For anyone who wants to present his data to a broad public, but does not want to give away or give away, this solution is the obvious one.

Wide application possibilities

The real estate sector, commerce, gastronomy and the hotel industry as well as providers from the fields of culture, media, advertising, leisure and tourism are particularly interested in the new type of visualization. For example, the virtual tourist can be given a highly realistic foretaste of the real experience on site - be it a stroll through the city or a bike ride in the countryside. Furthermore, it is possible to offer building-related additional information. Architects can use Google Earth to present their own designs, urban developers to involve citizens in planning processes, and global companies to visualize their global corporate infrastructure. In addition, the objects imported into Google Earth are easy to mark visually important, for example, for brokers who want to emphasize objects for sale in a building complex. display

Virtual city models today provide an excellent infrastructure that can be used by very different stakeholders to communicate all kinds of spatial issues directly and vividly, said D llner. The fascination lies not only in the graphic representation, but also in a 1: 1 relation to the reality.

(Hasso Plattner Institute for Software Systems Engineering (HPI), 15.03.2007 - AHE)