The Future of WebCams and Virtual Mapping

The Future of WebCams and Virtual Mapping

If you think the ever-growing number of webcams, red light cameras, and surveillance cameras are already overbearing, prepare for a lot more — cameras and applications.

This new Microsoft Virtual Earth Preview hints at what’s to come. Although the site is slow and you can’t “drive” around with a real-time view, it certainly points to the future of cameras and their use on the Internet.

Today, street scenes are being captured and stored for photographic mapping services (much like aerial photography has been for years). As slick as this is, these are still archived photos, some dating back months or years. To keep a database of city street views is labor intensive and the images quickly become out of date.

What I predict will happen, although not for some years, is the deployment of live high-resolution cameras scattered throughout major metropolitan areas, all tied back into mapping sites. It’s a mashup of virtual mapping and webcams, which to the end user will look more like a video game through real life, in real time.

Don’t say you weren’t warned.

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