Maps are not core competency of this company. They are early Internet pioneers maintaining huge portfolio of various services for almost two decades. Maps is just another service they are working on to keep users from leaving them for Google/Youtube, Facebook etc.
Btw, I spoke to Seznam.cz founder briefly once at some business event in Slovakia back in 2000 when I was 17
edit: their maps are created by Melown.com, see example https://www.melown.com/maps/
Are you looking for an Android dev btw ;) ?
To sum it up with Wikipedia-like markup: "Most accurate [citation-needed], most up-to-date [citation-needed], best for users [says-who]."
China is the most obvious example where Google simply haven't been allowed to gather mapping data to compete, but it's interesting that there are other places where they can theoretically compete but there are significant local players.
Incidentally, South Korea also has probably the craziest map data regulations: no map data can leave South Korea. So, if you want to serve map data, your server must be physically in South Korea.
As the link explains, the technology originates from the Swedish air force, and was meant to guide missiles through urban landscapes. It was since commercialized for civilian uses by the company C3 Technologies.
This looks like it's exactly the same technology.
I wonder why Google hasn't done it yet. I don't think there are any real technical limitations. It may be that getting it fast is hard and the usefulness from an end user perspective isn't there yet?
Check out https://www.google.com/maps/place/San+Francisco,+CAfirstname.lastname@example.org... and rotate the image. Check out the trees to see the seams of the different pictures used to create the textures/models.
(updated screenshot to be from the same angle you have)
I don't have any idea what they are using there, but they do pull in a lot of aerial photos from the U.S. government. Those photos are (largely?) taken from piloted planes though.
If this is done in an automated way they are on to something pretty great.
Also to do this, is really really hard/lots of work. So kudos for that.
1) As was already said above, Seznam.cz is not a startup, it's been here longer than Google, and it's one of the biggest Czech companies (over 1000 employees). In terms of monthly user counts, it is still number one on Czech internet, in front of Google.
2) the imagery is not taken by drones, nor helicopters, but airplanes. Nobody is able to take imagery of large areas (hundreds of kilometres) by drones, it is only possible by airplanes, in today's state of technologies. We have our own imagery, not bought from anyone.
3) the 3D model is computed from the aerial imagery (ortofoto + oblique). No manual work is performed. It is a highly demanding computation, consuming months even on huge cloud of top-notch supercomputers - which is why it is not easy even for Google, to do it on large areas around the whole globe. The computation will run for almost one year, to create 3D model of thousands of square kms, which we plan to publish this year.
4) our maps earn money by selling our primary data, which we produce (ortofoto, oblique, Panorama, etc.), for commercial professional users (not only in Czech rep., but also abroad). The company as a whole earns money from selling media space on its 20-30 web sites (seznam.cz, firmy.cz, sreality.cz, novinky.cz, etc.). The company is highly innovative in terms of technologies (as I describe above), as well as in user interface (our GUI never copies other designs, we constantly create and test newer and newer GUIs).
Can anyone provide any insight into how this is done? Is there a dataset which specifies the detailed 3D layout of the earth? If so, how is it generated? Is there satellite imagery of all possible angles? Is this all automated, or is there a lot of manual work in doing all of this?
The paragraph is about another dataset, not the Brno city dataset.
The software for that is made by Citationtech, which has the same founder/owner as Seznam (Ivo Lukačovič).
I don't want the back button to navigate the map!
They experiment a TON, all the time.
Why seznam does non exist in others European languages?
Czech republic is a little market, and if they focus just on Czech republic their economy of scale will be broke very soon. They need investment to update technology, but if their market is so little it became prohibitively expensive very quickly.
In other words, we seem to be rapidly drifting back into the Bad Old Days, when sites were made for a single browser? Not using Firefox? You're SOL. Not using Chrome? You're SOL elsewhere.
Just a few questions - what algorithm do you use for geometry simplification? Is it based on quadric error metrics edge collapses? How do you join tiles of different LODs? Any papers on reconstructing 3D from your drones?
Nice to see it can be done with a single UAV and camera. Is there any open source software doing this?
have they actually scanned this? or are they generating this from google maps imagery?
Their big advantage is that they are local. The maps (mapy.cz) are superior to Google maps. In what data they provide and in general UX (my opinion). I don't know/use other products.
Check it out,: http://i.imgur.com/o80D3gr.jpg
Even the artefacts are similar, which is not surprising since both maps were created the same way (by flying over the city from different directions). the only difference seems to be that this Czech company is using UAVs and Apple is using helicopters (they showed an helicopter in their promo video, I’m not sure whether they are always using helicopters).
Apple bought the company that made 3D maps like this but I honestly don’t see the need for Google to buy anyone. This seems easy enough to figure out.
Also, Google doesn’t seem to want to do this. Stuff like this has been out there in the wild (even before Apple bought the company) for a long time, so they could have easily picked up the idea a long time ago.
Also I wouldn't characterize it as a "start-up", it's one of the biggest Czech companies.
I like the idea of bringing back more of the contours into maps once again. The move to flat satelite and Google Maps style stuff has meant the act of being able to navigate based on most efficient effort (e.g across contours not just A to B) is rapidly getting lost.
Yet it's super awesome to see Seznam's quality of delivery to local market.
I'm not sure how much it takes the elevations into account during the planning.