Scanning and recording the world in high quality 3D might sound like a plan from the distant future, especially when it's done by crowdsourcing users around every corner of the planet. However, the Finnish 3D graphics company, Umbra, is already making it happen. Today, Umbra is releasing tools for enterprise customers to easily optimize massive 3D datasets and stream them to any device. In the near future, Umbra’s tools will enable creating a photorealistic virtual model of the entire planet that’s accessible by everyone on any device from anywhere on the globe.
>> Umbra Allows to Experience The Entire World in High-Res 3D by Creating an Immersive Copy of The Globe
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In June, Umbra announced that together with the city of Helsinki, they are digitizing the Finnish capital into a texture-mapped 3D mesh, with the possibility of streaming it real-time to web browsers, mobile devices and AR and VR headsets around the globe. As the first company to make a 3D-model of an entire city truly accessible as open data, Umbra is now taking the next step towards powering the recreation of the entire planet in high-resolution 3D. The company is today releasing tools that automate the optimization of massive scanned 3D datasets and can stream them to any device.
This new addition to Umbra’s Composit platform will enable the storage of super high resolution 3D content in the cloud, and streaming directly to end-user devices at levels of quality that far exceed other solutions on the market. Imagine 3D with every blade of grass and every grain of sand in perfect detail. In addition, the scanned data seamlessly integrates with architectural and BIM models – allowing architects and construction companies to combine photo-realistic scans of the real world with building design models.
The platform is based on a novel and patented approach to 3D streaming, originally conceived while Umbra developed solutions for the high-end PC Gaming industry. After years of intensive R&D and collaboration with industry-leading AEC companies, Umbra’s platform is now mature enough to easily process 3D datasets that are dozens of terabytes in size and deliver them directly to mixed reality and mobile devices, web browsers, and even the Unity Game Engine at photo-realistic resolutions as high as 100 megapixels. Performance is also paramount, especially on mixed reality devices and Umbra delivers super high frame rates that are comparable to even the highest end PC games.
“It has taken us 15 years of research and work with the most demanding users in high-end 3D graphics, such as the creators of Fallout and Call of Duty, to create this technology,” says Otso Makinen, CEO & Co-founder of Umbra.
Of course, the R&D continues for Umbra in its quest to make this enterprise-quality technology available to consumer markets in the near future. Plans for the future focus on enabling anyone to capture 3D data using their mobile phone cameras, which continue to increase in resolution.
“Eventually our tools will enable anyone to be part of crowdsourcing and the usage of the high-resolution scan of the entire planet, opening up endless possibilities for both enterprises and individual users,” Makinen tells.
For instance, self-driving cars can finally get an accurate model of the surroundings. Buildings and cities can be designed on top of the pixel-perfect virtual environment, and gaming companies can develop experiences that take place in the real world. As Umbra’s high-res 3D models can be embedded on any website and experienced on any device, the 3D digital copy of our Earth becomes eventually accessible to all.
“We can create a high-resolution virtual copy of the entire world together. Anyone with a camera or drone can be part of creating it. As phone cameras and AI for image enhancement advance, one will soon be able to scan accurate virtual copies of the world directly from their mobile phones and explore them in 3D,” Makinen says.
Users don't have to depend on Google, Apple, or others for 3D map content anymore. They will soon have the ability to scan their own content whenever they want, keeping the virtual 3D copy of the world up to date. And unlike current 3D mapping platforms, Umbra does not own the data, allowing everyone to have control of their own data, creating an entirely new ecosystem around 3D content capture and distribution. On the Umbra near-term roadmap, the platform will include support for additional file formats, accurate georeferencing, and automated integration of scans into a shared digital twin of the world complete with detailed metadata.
Umbra unlocks the power of the AR Cloud by making it easier to create, optimize, share and view 3D content in real-time on virtually any device. As the established gaming industry standard in graphics optimization for more than a decade, Umbra is now redefining rapid visualization for all industry ecosystems utilizing complex 3D models. Established in Helsinki, Finland, Umbra has offices in the US and EMEA, supplying technology solutions to top-tier customers worldwide.