A few months ago, Google Earth Blog wrote about some attempts to produce some basic anaglyphic (red-blue glasses required) stereoscopic screenshots so you could see “3D” in Google Earth. However, imagine being able to move Google Earth dynamically and see everything in stereoscopic 3D. Well, you don’t have to imagine anymore!
A company called Dynamic Digital Depth, which specializes in 3D display technologies, has developed a new software product called TriDef Visualizer™ for Google Earth. This Windows software is actually a modified OpenGL graphics driver and so it can elegantly take over your Google Earth window. TriDef defaults to anaglyphic (red/blue) stereoscopic 3D. You will see a view like in the screenshot here (showing San Francisco 3D buildings). Click on the thumbnail for a bigger picture and try it with your red/blue glasses. The top half of GE is normal, and the bottom half is presenting dynamic stereoscopic views. So, as you move around looking at 3D terrain, or 3D buildings and models, you see 3D views (if you’re wearing red/blue 3D glasses and once you’ve installed their trial software). There is no apparent speed impact, it just works. They have a special promotion for Google Earth – the full-screen version costs US $ 50.
TriDef Visualizer supports a number of different stereoscopic display techniques including dual projection and quad-buffered devices. It also allows you to control screen depth, focus parameters, and other settings. If you have a need to really show off 3D views in Google Earth, this is by far the best way to do it I’ve seen. I’m going to have to try this on a large projection screen. The registration/installation process for the trial is a little convoluted right now, but it is worth the trouble if you’re a fan of stereoscopic viewing. By the way, once you have it working, to turn it off simply choose “Switch View to 2D” or close the TriDef control panel. Great stuff! I highly recommend trying it out if you’re into stereoscopic 3D.