Microsoft GeoSynth: like Google Street View but with you doing the hard work

By andy

Microsoft looks set to continue nipping at Google’s heels like an annoying little dog by getting you, the humble citizen, to do the hard work and help build Redmond giants answer to Street View.

In fairness, there’s a lot of technology behind GeoSynth, which will feed a huge range of geotagged photos into a Virtual Earth and PhotoSynth mashup.

Seems the idea is that if enough people take a picture of a particular location, PhotoSynth can build up a pretty realistic digitised version. Stitch thousands of these together and you have something a bit like Street View, except without Microsoft driving around taking photos itself.

“The system would take the best images from a location to create a single image of a specific landmark,” said a Virtual Earth tech specialist.

Sounds pretty cool if you like the whole concept of street-level views of locations. You’d probably get some locations (cities, famous landmarks) with a huge amount of photo data while others would be fairly limited, but then Google’s only really mapping large cities at the street level.

Being able to run a virtual tour of various landmarks just from photographs and without the need for any tags (apart from the geolocation data) is a great idea as this PhotoSynth video demonstrates.

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