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Exploring cities in 3D: far beyond photorealistic flyovers, acute3D smart3Dcapture can bring real-3D to business-oriented, accuracy-critical applications


Sophia Antipolis, France (November 8, 2011) - Since a few months, Nokia Maps ( provides stunning photorealistic flyovers of cities, based on the technology from the Swedish company C3 Technologies. After the partial purchase of C3 by Apple this summer (, there is no doubt that this type of user experience will become widespread.

Closer in nature to long-existing “two and a half dimensions” digital terrain models - 2.5D cannot support multiple points on the same vertical line - than to genuine 3D models, these maps only allow distant views, since they are not able to capture details such as overhanging façades and roofs, building or monument ornamental features (balconies, door and window frames, etc), undersides of bridges and trees, interiors, objects, etc.

In contrast, professionals are expecting true-to-life 3D models allowing to dive from the sky into the very heart of cities. Applications demanding such fidelity are numerous: architecture, engineering & construction, intelligence & defense, manufacturing, media & entertainment, e-commerce, scientific analysis, cultural heritage.

Hopefully, the process of creating true-to-life 3D models is entering a new era with smart3Dcapture, a breakthrough technology by acute3D (, which allows to build real-3D, high resolution models from simple photographs. The acquisition step has near-zero shooting constraints, and the processing step, designed with high scalability and performance in mind, can be performed within minutes or hours, without any human intervention. This technology is stemming from 15 years of research at two major European academic institutes.

Going far beyond photorealistic 2.5D flyovers of cities generated from tightly-controlled aerial imagery, smart3Dcapture allows, in a completely automated manner, to turn various image sources (aircraft, helicopter, UAV, street-level, ...) into a consistent and accurate real-3D model encompassing all scales, from large-scale relief to finer details of man-made and natural landmarks.

smart3Dcapture is already available as a custom software solution which can be integrated by 3D software vendors into their products, or deployed on industrial 3D production lines. It is at the heart of Autodesk’s groundbreaking 123D Catch web service (, formerly Photofly).



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