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We have just spent the last 30 minutes wowed by ‘Live 3D’ sent to us by Austin Abrams, a graduate student at Washington University in St. Louis. In short Live 3D is a Google Earth-powered web application that allows users to transform photos into 3D geometry in Google Earth – ie you can drap webcams onto the buildings for a ‘live view’ of a city and it has notable potential for a live Google Earth.

The camera is automatically calibrated, revealing its location and orientation (take a look at, this scene, the position and orientation of the camera is automatically generated, which closely matches the real webcam image).

The group has been archiving 1000 webcams for the past four years, as the Archive of Many Outdoor Scenes. If the user gives Live3D an AMOS camera, the application can re-texture the scene based on time-lapse imagery. So, you can see what the scene looked like a week, a month, or a year ago.

Urban scenes seem to work particularly well, because billboards and other advertisements aren’t as static as the Sketchup models suggest. For example, the model for Times Square still advertises Spiderman 3.

To see if live goto:


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