Machine Learning Algorithms Re-Create City in 3D Using Only Image Data

By Digital Trends

May 19, 2017

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A team of researchers used the new Varcity platform to create a reconstruction of the city of Zurich, Switzerland,based on millions of images and videos.

Credit: ETH Zurich

Researchers at the Swiss Federal Institute of Technology in Zurich (ETH Zurich) have developed Varcity, a platform that collects massive amounts of image data of a city and uses algorithms to automatically create a three-dimensional (3D) model of it.


The researchers used the Varcity platform to reconstruct the city of Zurich in 3D using millions of images and videos.


“The more data we have of an area, the more precise our models get,” says ETH Zurich’s Hayko Riemenschneider.


The researchers used machine-learning algorithms that semi-automatically analyze the images and created a rough sketch of Zurich, and then enhanced the model with their own knowledge of the city.


The researchers say the Varcity platform could be used to help design smarter and more livable cities. “There are a number of applications such as urban city planning, architectural design, traffic modeling, autonomous navigation, and tourist guidance, as well as catastrophe response planning,” Riemenschneider says.



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