A new clue emerged today about the future of real estate mapping.
The University of Washington and Cornell University are working together to build mathematical models that will use photos to dynamically build three-dimensional renderings of buildings, neighborhoods and potentially entire cities. The name for this project is called PhotoCity.
PhotoCity is a process whereby multiple two-dimensional photos are combined to generate mathematical scale to buildings. Microsoft has commercialized this process with a product they call Photosynth. Microsoft has failed in scaling their Photosynth service to cover any significant geographic region.
PhotoCity has a plan that may be prime for adoption. They have created student games and are crowd-sourcing images to expand the footprint. If REALTORS were to collaborate in the project with the millions of photos at their disposal, it would seem that PhotoCity could realize their goal of having an extensive footprint rapidly.
If anyone wants to play, there is a website called PhotoCityGame.com. Anyone who wants to be a “custodian” of a particular building or place can begin by uploading pictures of the site. To maintain control, you will need to be part of the group that contributes the most photos, in a capture-the-flag-like competition.
Someday, this virtualization of community data could have rich value in MLS systems that can be made available to practitioners.
If you want to play, build a team and begin capturing some flags. You may learn something about future technology, crowd sourcing, and even have some fun.