Crusing with the Google 3-D Mapping Truck

by Harold Davis

According to SiliconValleyWatcher, Google is planning to use trucks equipped with lasers and digital mapping software to create realistic 3-D maps from the ground. There's already an experimental truck cruising San Francisco, which is running into some problems with line of sight measurments due to pedestrians and vehicles.

Apparently, second and subsequent passes by the trucks through the city could eliminate erroneous data due to moving objects. But Google is looking for a way to 3-D map a city with a single pass.

I've been wondering for a while about the arms race into very cool mapping software - wonderful stuff to play with (interesting anomolies and all), but without a clear path to monetization (at least to me). A glimmer of where this is going is beginning to dawn on me: a very sci-fi world of realistic virtual mapping of local information truly would be a yellow pages killer, and Google has the resources and smarts to maybe pull this off.

What commercial uses do you see for this fancy, wonderful mapping stuff?