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3D Model of Landmarks Built With Flickr Images

By - Source: ReadWriteWeb | B 6 comments

Researchers have developed a way to build 3D images based on similar photos.

Using millions of images pulled from Flickr, a team from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill (UNC) were able to build 3D models of historical landmarks, and even the majority of an entire city.

The algorithm developed by the UNC team isn’t perfect, but it can get a lot done within 24 hours. It starts by grouping similar-looking photos into “appearance clusters”. Only groups with any geometric compatibility—clusters containing photos of the building’s front and sides for instance—are retained. These remaining clusters are used to build the 3D models themselves, with the source photos manipulated to “paint” the structure determined by the algorithm.

3D Models Built From Flickr Images

The detail of the resulting models is quite surprising, though it’s clear that the UNC team has a long way to go. Some of team’s models are incomplete, while commissioning 3D modelers would still produce more accurate (and expensive) results. Still, the project is yet another example of crowd-sourcing’s advantages.

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  • 2 Hide
    cmartin011 , December 7, 2010 8:42 AM
    Dam spammers fire you all!
  • 0 Hide
    victorintelr , December 7, 2010 3:03 PM
    Though the concept is not new, these projects are really interesting, making 3d-buildings out of pictures, and if you look who is behind all of these you'll find a lot of people with a lot of experience in it.
  • 0 Hide
    djab , December 7, 2010 5:21 PM
    it looks like photosynth from microsoft labs... not new
  • Display all 6 comments.
  • 0 Hide
    bv90andy , December 7, 2010 5:47 PM
    I did this in my city center with photosynth in 2008
  • 1 Hide
    jaysbob , December 7, 2010 8:06 PM
    the photosynth similarity is actually addressed in the youtube comments:

    "The major differences are that we create a dense 3D model and in contrast PhotoSynth uses the images for visualization. Additionally we can handle orders of magnitude more data millions of images compared to thousands. We can handle more disturbances in the data."
  • 0 Hide
    dalauder , December 9, 2010 6:27 AM
    I wonder what technology Google's gonna buy next and rebrand? They'll definitely want this for their maps. Google's really good at catching things before everyone's heard of them and developing it to something useful (although not always profitable).

    Anyways, I expect to be able to do 3D visits to Amsterdam on Google Earth in 3 years or less. Although I guess a lot of cities are more known for what you can do there instead of what you can see.
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