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The Street View cars have LIDAR which which gives them distance data. They must be constructing a 3D model from this data.

Are you sure? How do you know it is not an image processing/edge detection algorithm running? If they were indeed constructing a 3d-model, I'd be interested in seeing it, even if it is a low-poly approximation...

I didn't have the reference handy when I posted, but here is some info about how they use the lasers to make the 3D model:


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