The Creepy Side of 3D Indoor Mapping

Photo by Andrew Balet
Photo by Andrew Balet

Last night I read an article about Nokia’s plans to develop 3D indoor mapping for Ovi.  Creeperific!

Ok not fair, let me think through this a bit . . .

The Outside

We’re already pretty good at 3D outdoor mapping.  I remember a few years back when Stephen Lawler presented Microsoft Virtual Earth at ECF.  How Microsoft was droning major cities around the planet to record real 3D topographies for digital use.  Here’s where they are today.

There also exist industry applications/mutations of 3D “outdoor mapping”.  For example with handheld devices such as Noomeo’s Optinum you can scan a 3D map of your head.  Such 3D scanner devices enable you to record 3D maps of large structures like ships.  This is useful in the worlds of 3D CAD and PLM.

None of these outdoor categories seem creepy to me.

Now let’s take 3D indoor mapping first from an industry perspective.

The Inside

Think medical devices and life sciences.  3D ultrasounds.  Building a mechanically accurate 3D model of the human foot .  I’m sure you can think of other examples.

What about 3D virtual events?  We’ve 3D indoor mapped the French Virtual Pavillion that will be for-real shown at the Shanghai World Expo.

How about inside your home?  With 3DVIA Shape you can 3D indoor map your kitchen, which as Cliff explains is pretty handy for making decisions with your dearest.

Not creepy.  This stuff is helpful.

So what would be some advantages to Nokia’s 3D indoor mapping offer?

1) It’s a step towards democratizing indoor 3D mapping (not everyone has an iPhone).

2) You can get familiar with public places like museums before you visit and build smarter, more precise itineraries.

3) 3D-savvy bank robbers can get a better feel for theft scenarios (if you have an evil, greedy side, forget I said this) 😉

4) Fill in the blank.  ___________________ What benefits do you see?  3D indoor mapping is good for what purpose?