There’s a dogfight among the street-view mapping companies. Blue Dasher Technologies is launching its own virtual tourism application where you can remotely view a distant place and feel like you’re walking down a street with a 360 degree view of the scenery. The company is unveiling the technology at the CTIA show in Las Vegas today.
They’re not the first to do it, but they claim they’re the best. Typically, these companies try to produce a “you are there” sensation by driving down streets with cameras to capture still images from all directions. They then stitch those images together so that users can wander through them as if they were virtual worlds on the web. The experience of cruising through the streets of a mirror world of Paris is akin to an old Zoetrope movie.
This Miami-based company hopes to set itself apart by producing better-quality, seamless images that beat those of rivals such as EveryScape and Google’s Streetview. (our coverage). We’ll have to see how it looks when all is said and done; EveryScape boasts the ability to show scenery both indoors and outdoors.
Blue Dasher captures images at normal driving speeds on streets and highways with as much as five times the resolution of its rivals. Blue Dasher’s cameras take a picture every 10 feet or so. That allows you to zoom in on details as needed. (Privacy alert!)
You can type in an address with Blue Dasher and literally see the exact building (photo shows address overlaid on building). Google Streetview, by contrast, shows an approximate address on the street.
It promises a video-like experience for web viewers, while others deliver a “point, click, wait” experience, Blue Dasher says. Even with a DSL broadband connection, viewers can pan or zoom and “drive” down a route at a high speed.
The Blue Dasher technology works with a browser, Adobe’s Flash format, or a plug-in. In cities such as Las Vegas, Blue Dasher has captured every public street. The company says it snapped 7.5 million images of the city by driving down the streets over a period of three weeks. They expect to cover every street in the 50-largest cities by year end. Those areas include San Francisco and South Florida.
Blue Dasher hopes that the technology will appeal to consumer sites in the real estate, hospitality, and navigation markets. Licensees can customize the Blue Dasher technology to suit their own tastes. The Blue Dasher Route service can work with any of the major mapping and navigation providers.
The company says that advertisers can embed their own ads inside the imagery. (I guess Coca-Cola could place a Coke machine over a Pepsi machine?). I guess it’s a good time to get a job as a camera-car driver.
The company was founded in 2007 and raised an undisclosed amount from friends and family. It is seeking a new round of funding now. Founders include Herman Miranda, chief scientist and a 20-year veteran of geographic information systems including Digital Matrix Systems and Largo Technology Group. Another co-founder is Marcelo Fernandes , chief operating officer and a veteran of real estate companies. Michael Reidbord is president and CEO.