Web site’s 3-D maps offer virtual visits
By Jesse Noyes Boston Herald Business Reporter
Wednesday, May 30, 2007 - Updated: 03:13 AM EST
EveryScape is hoping people will see the world from its perspective.
The Waltham-based start-up is in the midst of building online 3-D maps of nine big cities, including Boston.
EveryScape’s product lets users explore cities from a street-level point-of-view. Photographs shot from an automobile are taken and then assembled together to create a 3-D, lifelike map of a city, where a user can travel down streets and even get a look inside local businesses.
But with major players such as Google and Microsoft involvedin the mapping scene, EveryScape has some tough competition.
For instance, Google announced a 360 degree viewing ability called Street View to its popular maps application yesterday. Microsoft is eyeing similiar products.
But Jim Schoonmaker, chief executive of EveryScape, said what sets the start-up apart from bigger companies is that regular users are allowed to contribute content and information about individual cities.
“They actually help us build this content,” Schoonmaker said.
User contributions can range from adding Web-site links related to various locations found in the online maps to actually going out and capturing images from the tops of cars. Users would be rewarded for adding to the maps, but Schoonmaker wouldn’t say how.
Another key feature to Every-Scape is the ability to enter businesses found inside the digital maps like restaurants, hotels and shops. This is one way EveryScape plans to make money. For a fee, businesses could allow users to see internal shots while viewing the maps. Once inside, a visitor could look at menus or even reviews, he said.
“You can think of it as an advertisement and really sophisticated advertisement for the restaurants,” Schoonmaker said.