Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

Online Vacation Photos Create 3-D Models Of World Landmarks

Date:
November 5, 2007
Source:
University of Washington
Summary:
Online collections of photos, such as Flickr and Google, were used to create precise 3-D models of buildings and landmarks. The method could speed the development of 3-D digital maps by tapping the vast supply of photos on the Internet.

A virtual reconstruction of the Statue of Liberty, created from tourists' photos.
Credit: Michael Goesele, TU Darmstadt

More than 10 million members of the photo-sharing Web site Flickr snap pictures of their surroundings and then post those photos on the Internet. One group at the University of Washington is doing the reverse--downloading thousands of photos from Flickr and using them to recreate the original scenes.

A presentation in October at the International Conference on Computer Vision showed how photos from online sites such as Flickr can be used to create a virtual 3D model of landmarks, including Notre Dame Cathedral in Paris and the Statue of Liberty in New York City.

"The big breakthrough here is being able to compute very accurate 3D models from people's vacation photos," said co-author Steve Seitz, a UW associate professor of computer science and engineering. "The long-term vision is to be able to reconstruct the detailed geometry of all the structures on the surface of the Earth. Many people are working toward that goal, but by using online collections this work brings in a whole new source of imagery and level of detail."

Online photo-sharing Web sites such as Flickr and Google are popular because they offer a free, easy way to share photos. Flickr now holds more than 1 billion photos; a search for "Notre Dame Paris" finds more than 80,000 files. The study authors, experts in computer vision, believe this is the world's most diverse, and largely untapped, source of digital imagery.

But the freely available photos do present a challenge: these are holiday snapshots and personal photos, not laboratory-quality research images. While some may be postcard-perfect representations of a setting, others may be dark, blurry or have people covering up most of the scene.

To make the 3D digital model, the researchers first download photos of a landmark. For instance, they might download the roughly 60,000 pictures on Flickr that are tagged with the words "Statue of Liberty." The computer finds photos that it will be able to use in the reconstruction and discards pictures that are of low quality or have obstructions. Photo Tourism, a tool developed at the UW, then calculates where each person was standing when he or she took the photo. By comparing two photos of the same object that were taken from slightly different perspectives, the software applies principles of computer vision to figure out the distance to each point.

"The general principle is very similar to how our eyes work," said lead author Michael Goesele, a former postdoctoral researcher at the UW who is now a professor at Technische Universitδt Darmstadt in Germany. "You get multiple views from different points of a scene, and then you find the same point in different views and infer from that the depth of the object."

In tests, a computer took less than two hours to make a 3D reconstruction of St. Peter's Basilica in Rome, using 151 photos taken by 50 different photographers. A reconstruction of Notre Dame Cathedral used 206 images taken by 92 people. All the calculations and image sorting were performed automatically.

"We don't quite get the accuracy of a laser scanner, but we're in the ballpark," Seitz said. The recreations of Notre Dame show individual figures carved into the stone facade. A model of The Duomo in Pisa, Italy, a building about 160 feet tall, is accurate to within a few inches. The resolution of the 3D model mostly depends on the resolution of the original photos.

Creating 3D reconstructions of individual buildings is a first step in a long-term effort to recreate an entire city using online photographs.

"We've downloaded about 1 million photographs of Rome from Flickr," Seitz said. "We want to see how much of the city we can reconstruct--including exteriors, interiors and artifacts." The group hopes to make significant progress on the Rome project over the next couple of years, he said.

Other co-authors on the recent paper were Noah Snavely, a UW doctoral student in computer science and engineering; Brian Curless, a UW associate professor of computer science and engineering; and Hugues Hoppe, a researcher at Microsoft Research in Redmond, Wash. The research was funded through grants from the Alexander von Humboldt Foundation, the National Science Foundation, Microsoft Research and Adobe Systems Inc.

 


Story Source:

The above story is based on materials provided by University of Washington. Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.


Cite This Page:

University of Washington. "Online Vacation Photos Create 3-D Models Of World Landmarks." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 5 November 2007. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2007/11/071101191441.htm>.
University of Washington. (2007, November 5). Online Vacation Photos Create 3-D Models Of World Landmarks. ScienceDaily. Retrieved April 17, 2014 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2007/11/071101191441.htm
University of Washington. "Online Vacation Photos Create 3-D Models Of World Landmarks." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2007/11/071101191441.htm (accessed April 17, 2014).

Share This



More Computers & Math News

Thursday, April 17, 2014

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

German Researchers Crack Samsung's Fingerprint Scanner

German Researchers Crack Samsung's Fingerprint Scanner

Newsy (Apr. 16, 2014) — German researchers have used a fake fingerprint made from glue to bypass the fingerprint security system on Samsung's new Galaxy S5 smartphone. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
Twitter, Apple Social Data Purchases Likely to Spur More Mergers and Acquisitions

Twitter, Apple Social Data Purchases Likely to Spur More Mergers and Acquisitions

TheStreet (Apr. 16, 2014) — The social media data space is likely to see more mergers and acquisitions following Twitter Inc.'s acquisition of tweet analyzer Gnip Inc. on Tuesday and Apples Inc.'s purchase of Topsy Labs Inc. back in December. One firm in particular, the U.K.'s DataSift Inc., could be on the list of potential buyers. Among other social media startups that could be ripe for picking is Banjo, whose mobile app provides aggregated content by topic and location. Banjo could also be a good fit for Twitter. Video provided by TheStreet
Powered by NewsLook.com
Bitcoin Exchange Mt. Gox to Liquidate After Rebuilding Rejected

Bitcoin Exchange Mt. Gox to Liquidate After Rebuilding Rejected

TheStreet (Apr. 16, 2014) — Bitcoin exchange Mt. Gox has agreed to liquidate after a Japanese court rejected its plans to rebuild, according to a report by the Wall Street Journal. Mt. Gox filed for bankruptcy protection in February after announcing about 850,000 bitcoins, worth around $454 million at today's rates, may have been stolen by hackers. It has since recovered 200,000 of the missing bitcoins. The court put Mt. Gox's assets under a provisional administrator's control until bankruptcy proceedings begin. Video provided by TheStreet
Powered by NewsLook.com
BlackBerry: The Crash That Launched 1,000 Startups

BlackBerry: The Crash That Launched 1,000 Startups

Reuters - Business Video Online (Apr. 16, 2014) — Tech startups in BlackBerry's hometown of Waterloo, Ontario, are tapping talent from the struggling smartphone company and filling the void left in the region by its meltdown. Reuters correspondent Euan Rocha visits the region that could become Canada's Silicon Valley. Video provided by Reuters
Powered by NewsLook.com

Search ScienceDaily

Number of stories in archives: 140,361

Find with keyword(s):
 
Enter a keyword or phrase to search ScienceDaily for related topics and research stories.

Save/Print:
Share:  

Breaking News:
from the past week

In Other News

... from NewsDaily.com

Science News

Health News

Environment News

Technology News



Save/Print:
Share:  

Free Subscriptions


Get the latest science news with ScienceDaily's free email newsletters, updated daily and weekly. Or view hourly updated newsfeeds in your RSS reader:

Get Social & Mobile


Keep up to date with the latest news from ScienceDaily via social networks and mobile apps:

Have Feedback?


Tell us what you think of ScienceDaily -- we welcome both positive and negative comments. Have any problems using the site? Questions?
Mobile iPhone Android Web
Follow Facebook Twitter Google+
Subscribe RSS Feeds Email Newsletters
Latest Headlines Health & Medicine Mind & Brain Space & Time Matter & Energy Computers & Math Plants & Animals Earth & Climate Fossils & Ruins