Western town boldly goes into virtual world
By Fiach Kelly
Friday January 11 2008
The world's first fully three dimensional town will not feature spectacular skyscrapers or the neon wonders of a metropolis at night -- instead, it will showcase the modest octagon in Westport.
The Co Mayo town is to be launched as the first 3D village by Google Earth next week, allowing virtual visitors stroll through the streets whilst sitting at their computers.
The town council initially approached AMT3D, a digital computer modelling company based in Westport, about the project to help out with town planning.
But Google Earth, the internet service that allows users to look at satellite images from anywhere on the planet, has adopted the model and will run it online from next Wednesday.
Users worldwide will be able to zoom in on the virtual Westport and browse the sights through life-like computer images.
"The biggest thing that it will do is give people the opportunity to look at Westport before they travel," chair of Westport Town Council, Cllr Declan Dever said yesterday. He also said the new 3D model will help with planning applications by showing a proposed building as it would look.
Brendan Hafferty of AMT3D, which used trolley-mounted lasers to scan the town, said they were approached by Google about adding Westport to the site.