This is a question that I’d like answered too because I don’t exactly understand the whole situation.
C3′s technologies were pretty instrumental into converting the usual flat NAVTEQ into a mind blowing 3D Photorealistic landscape – where maps felt like you’re actually there.
Here’s the blurb when Ovi Maps (now Nokia Maps) jumped to the third dimension:
To make this possible Nokia has partnered with C3, the leading provider of 3D mapping solutions, offering photo-realistic models of the world.
C3 uses modern camera equipment to capture as many as one image per second of the same object from up to 100 different angles. The images are then used to automatically reproduce the shape of the objects with very high accuracy. After that, an image processing software automatically drapes each shape with the texture chosen from the pictures of each object. The same process is being applied for all objects – buildings, houses, trees, and hills – the result is a seamless canvas of 3D-data where the resolution (8 to 12 centimeters per pixel) and quality is consistent over the entire model. This is the secret to C3 maps’ realistic look compared to competitors’ hand-made and cartoonish appearance.
News on the web show this has interested the giant fruit and Apple was a mysterious buyer of C3 back in August (some say last year)
Cheers Arts for the tip!