16 Mar 2011

3D Assisted Tours on Android

By Malik Arman Morshidi

Interactive digital map

A couple of weeks back, I went to Oxford for a day out with my family. As usual, my wife researched the “must visit” places around the area a few days before the trip. Upon arriving there, I took out my new HTC Desire HD which I bought last January to test an application called Locations.
This app is the perfect travelling companion and you never have to worry about carrying your guidebooks or maps around anymore. Nearby “Places of Interests” are sorted according to distance and are indicated by arrows pointing out from where ever you are standing. If you tap on the “Show on map”, you will be shown the map of the surrounding area. What is even more appealing is that as you turn around, the map will automatically reorient itself. So, you don’t have to worry about finding which way to turn, thanks to the built-in compass and the GPS receiver. Without them, this application won’t work.

3D assisted tour

Another appealing feature I used during the tour was the map with virtual 3D buildings.

The Maps application on my HTC Desire HD, features the latest Google Maps 5.0 for Android. This version supports 3D mapping, vector-based mapping, offline rerouting, and navigating. I was so amazed by this app as I walked down the streets in Oxford. It can show you the exact location of where you were standing with the virtual 3D buildings surrounding you.

Now, in case you are wondering, how on Earth Google manages to model thousands of buildings on the surface of the earth? I will be blogging about that in my next post.

Malik Arman Morshidi is an entrepreneur who loves technology. He is currently researching 3D object tracking at the School of Engineering, University of Warwick, Coventry.

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