Capture the World in 3D

Capture the World in 3D_HKUST Professor Long Quan and 3D mapping technology_thumbHKUST’s 3D mapping technology helps find where you are and where to go

HKUST research team has developed a comprehensive 3D mapping technology and platform which are critical for the next-generation of true 3D maps chased now by all internet giants in US and China.

Led by Prof Long Quan from the Department of Computer Science and Engineering at HKUST, his team uses only photographs and computer programs to produce a complete 3D picture of any place. His team plans to be the first to make a 3D map of Hong Kong.

Internet giant Google started to offer comprehensive coverage of a few cities in North America and Europe, says Prof Quan. His research team used the algorithm developed after more than a decade of research to map out the high resolution side views of buildings and landmarks based on images obtained from planes, helicopters or unmanned drones, eliminating the need for manual input of missing details. The 3D map will be able to capture the real world with high ground resolution of a few centimeters accuracy, with its quality better than those from Google and Apple.

Prof Quan and his team say the technology holds potential for attracting mass internet users, identifying city attractions, and analysing residential-area activities and human behavior, among other things, that will help city planners, logistics firms and navigation companies.

In addition to collaborating with the big internet companies, recently, HKUST has also partnered with Thales Group – a French multinational aerospace, defence, transport and security firm – to create maps for use in search and rescue missions from unmanned drones. The agreement will help boost innovation, nurture young engineering innovators and facilitate active exchange among researchers.