The Future of Real Estate Aerial Photography

I have seen something today that makes me wonder about the future of aerial photography for Real Estate use, and guess what it doesn’t involve planes or choppers. It involves our old friend, Google again.

Just released is their plug-in for Google Earth, the plug-in goes by the name of Building Maker – news release here.

(LINK to above video)

In short It gives a user the ability to build a 3D version of a building selection. You can then save that 3D creation, which will submit it to Google. After they have checked it over and are happy with it, your building will turn up on Google Earth for the millions of users worldwide to see.

much HIGH RES snap here

To try it out, I picked Dublin, (at this stage there is a limited set of cities, but knowing Google I’m sure that will expand) and zoomed into what looked like a residential area. I then proceeded to build a home following their instructions. (as above)

Lets put it this way, if there was one subject at school that I near failed it was art / drawing so that probably explains why mine version of someone’s lovely duplex (arrowed in bright red  above) doesn’t look a bit like a house.

Quite obviously I aren’t a draughts person either because as you can see the house looks a bit dis-jointed, especially my version of the roof. You really do need to click here for the much higher res shot to see exactly what I’m talking about – notice the clarity of the church on the left?

It doesn’t take much in the way of imagination that this format could easily evolve into specific real estate franchise overlays, maybe even with adds thrown in…perhaps from afar you could view some investment properties for your next scouting trip, and while you’re looking at the Google Earth view showing these properties you notice that just 75m away there is an Indian Restaurant that is flashing red. No its not because the curry is that hot, its flashing red to alert you to “Specials” they are offering this week. Same could be for a motel on screen….I am pretty sure this is just the start.

However the ability of the program to do what it has so far, and for what took me all of about 7 minutes is outstanding.

In the future I see a buyer who doesn’t know an area that well, request this of agents, very suitable for overseas buyers. Alternatively if it is a tech savvy / forward looking agent, then they would go to Google Earth and build the home there as part of their normal listing process, and show a .kml link on their listing.

I found it was simply stunning that there were so many different side angle shots that I was able to use to build the home. Whether Google has just amassed gazillions of side angle aerial shots or they have some complex algorithm working behind the scenes…all I can say is its great.

In light of recent moves by the search giant to increase its exposure in the Real Estate search field I can only but see this as an addition or rather a consolidation item to that equation.

Re running a business that relies heavily on aerial photography, yes there is no doubt that clear high resolution of the type that displays a very clear photo at current is a much better experience for the average buyer. However you can’t help but not the photo realistic imagery that is being used here too.

In the large resolution shot above you’ll also see a second red arrow (dull not as bright as the one in the middle) pointing to a property/backyard. If you were on the other side of the world this would be the only way currently that you could pick an address (admittedly limited to these 50 cities currently) and practically view its outside extremities in their entirely. Certainly for the local surroundings, railway lines, rivers, roads, schools or just the neighbourhood I suggest that presently there isn’t any better way.

Certainly would assist with any “Walkscore” viewings too.

I can think of many uses for this technology for use by savvy commercial real estate brokers too, in fact they will probably be first cab off the rank on this because it is so much more relevant for them to show an 4 story building’s downtown layout in relation to its surroundings.

So head on over here to test it out.

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2 thoughts on “The Future of Real Estate Aerial Photography

  1. avatarAaron Squires

    Google Building Maker is available for 50 cities right now with more to come, rumour has it Auckland and Wellington are on the cards for Q2 2010, until then you can hone your skills on some more famous landmarks. If yours is the best, Google will slap it straight on there.

  2. avatarDavid Leggott

    Do you know if they are aerial shots or satellite ones they use? Down the line, and with a bit more tweaking do you see it having the potential to impinge on real estate photographers incomes?

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