Nokia has announced the launch of an impressive new 3D virtual globe – Ovi Maps 3D. The application runs directly in the web browser, through a downloadable browser plugin, integrating with the OVI Maps 2D service.
Just like Google Earth you can zoom into anywhere on the planet, tilt the view back to see mountains and hills. Navigation is fairly straightforward – just drag the globe to pan, double click or use the scroll wheel to zoom in. Rotate and tilt options are at the bottom of the window.
The highlight of this beta version is twenty metropolitan areas with stunning, photorealistic 3D models. You can access these via the ‘choose a city’ option. The initial release includes:
- Austria: Vienna
- Canada: Toronto
- Czech Republic: Prague
- Denmark: Copenhagen
- Finland: Helsinki
- Italy: Florence, Milan, Venice
- Norway: Oslo
- Spain: Barcelona, Madrid
- Sweden: Stockholm
- UK: London
- USA: Boston, Chicago, Las Vegas, Los Angeles,Miami, New York, San Francisco
Copenhagen, London, Helsinki, Oslo and San Fransisco also have street level panoramas, accessible by clicking the stick man figure in the navigation menu.
The application obviously doesn’t have anywhere near the wealth of data and imagery provided in Google Earth, nor does it allow you to add your own content. Having said that, I have found some high resolution aerial imagery outside the cities listed above – in the USA – but it’s difficult to know how extensive the coverage is.
If it looks slightly familiar, that’s because C3, the company behind the 3D data is responsible for 3D maps on a handful of European websites. For example the UK’s yell.com.