Part 1: The Convergence of the Geospatial and Gaming Industries
From driving directions to complex industrial projects, geospatial data helps shape the way we interact with the physical world around us. Thanks to the gaming industry, it has seeped into life’s imaginary aspects, too. That convergence of fun and utility has led to important innovations and a fascinating future, and even given people a glimpse of the way the world looked in ancient times.
From the Tony Hawk Pro Skater series, which recreates famous skateboarding spots from real cities, to Grand Theft Auto, which creates fake versions of real cities to wreak havoc upon, games today revolve around maps. They nearly always have – working memory of the 2D Super Mario maps was how to win that game. But today’s video games and virtual simulations are rapidly approaching the level of detail and immersion of the real world.
East View Geospatial’s 3D modeling and building databases give users access to spatial information about specific points on the globe, like where buildings, roads, and other built-up features are. Combined with our capabilities in terrain and elevation modeling, the result is an astonishingly detailed reproduction of real-life places, right down to trees, bushes, streetlights, and telephone poles.
That’s the kind of data that helps make the post-apocalyptic versions of real cities in the Fallout game series believable. In fact, much of the acclaim for that game’s details comes not from the famous landmarks it portrays, but from the realistic depiction of neighborhoods flush with real-world details – even down to the size and color of bricks on a wall. The same goes for Metro 2033’s faithful reproduction of the Moscow Metro system. The stations in Moscow are known (in real life) for their ornate stateliness. In the game, their degradation is used to immerse players in the grim imagined future it sets up.
Those are the kinds of environmental details that keep gamers immersed in the world made by developers. And they are not limited to modern environments anymore. Thanks to the application of geospatial imaging processes to archaeological information, the creators of the Assassin’s Creed games recreate ancient cities and buildings with astonishing accuracy. For Assassin’s Creed: Brotherhood, the team created a 1:1 virtual reconstruction of Rome’s Colosseum. The Call of Duty game series recreates both current and historic battlefields. In the recently released Port of Verdansk Map in Call of Duty: Warzone, geo-specific data was utilized to create a gameplay map from the city of Berdyansk, Ukraine. The incredible detail around the port and within the entire gameplay experience allows players from all corners of the world to be immersed in a real-life landscape.
Techniques like photogrammetry, which allows for a kind of composite rendering to be made of individual 2d photos, make the possibilities even more tantalizing when it comes to archaeological exploration.
For processes like that, East View Geospatial’s sourcing and consulting abilities are second to none. Our procurement teams track down and obtain the most accurate, geo-specific data for our customers’ end-use needs.
Our confidence in our abilities comes, in part, from working with the defense industry for the last quarter-century. We’ve earned our expertise in situations where accuracy matters most.
However, without advances made by video game graphics, GIS simulations and data presentation would not be as close-to-reality. That’s why the convergence of these industries promises to continue giving both important -and- entertaining results.
At East View Geospatial, we are excited to be working at the cutting edge of information that allows interplay between virtual and physical realities. The implications, in worlds both real and imagined, are immense.
(Image courtesy of Activision)
In its 25-year history, East View Geospatial (EVG) has provided solutions for over 10,000 companies across more than 30 industries in over 150 countries around the globe. Today, the work produced and procured by EVG’s expert staff appears on everything from map library shelves to major aircraft simulators and command and control center monitors. From printed topographic maps to full 3-D renderings of cities, the array of products and services East View Geospatial provides is truly expansive.
EVG’s roots go back several decades. Beginning with a company co-founded by Kent Lee and Vladimir Frangulov to export systematically declassified Soviet military journals and books (East View Publications—www.eastview.com), a map department was created in the early 1990s to focus on a new and quite interesting phenomenon—the sudden commercial availability of a worldwide trove of detailed Soviet military topographic maps.
By the mid-1990s, East View’s map department was growing more successful. Its products and services rapidly began to appeal to users outside its traditional client base of academic and government institutions. Thus was born East View Cartographic in 1995, the first East View company solely focused on scientific and precision maps and geospatial data. (EVG adopted its present name in 2012.)
The corporate world, in particular, was very interested in large scale topographic maps, and as the GIS revolution took hold, all paper-based maps began to be much more useful as they yielded critical information about terrain, transportation networks, boundaries, geographic names, and much more. Soviet military maps were an especially rich vein of data (indeed they still are) for countries and regions of the world not well mapped by other, more easily available map products.
Early corporate adopters of digital mapping data relied on EVG for precision terrain models in exotic locations to build many of Africa’s and Asia’s first cellular telephone networks, saving untold millions of dollars in the efficient network design afforded by such data from East View. The same data was incorporated widely into the civil aviation industry’s terrain avoidance systems, providing a life-saving benefit for anyone flying over such routes. Energy companies of all kinds relied upon (and still rely on) EVG’s data products and solutions for oil and gas exploration and delivery, for efficient siting of wind power turbines, for mining operations, and even for solar applications.
“In relatively short order, East View became a leading distributor to professional geospatial consumers in numerous verticals—academic, governmental and corporate—in nearly all countries of the world” says Mr. Lee. The success of digital geospatial data sourced from maps soon gave East View the opportunity to expand its repertoire into all forms of remote-sensing data, including high-resolution satellite and aerial imagery. Mr. Lee says this development path helped underline a broad geospatial competency that no other company, even today, offers: namely, the unique, one-stop shopping proposition that EVG offers its clients in sourcing both remote-sensing data (increasingly a commodity) and locally-produced authoritative data (which is still frustratingly difficult to acquire in so many situations).
Thanks to an unparalleled network of data and content providers spanning the globe, academics, world explorers, nation defenders, risk assessors, software integrators, even reality TV show contestants make use of EVG’s products. The defense industry relies on geospatial data for training, simulations, and mission planning. Telecommunications companies require detailed geospatial information of many kinds to inform their construction of new networks. The entertainment industry needs maps and data for quality sets and for special effects. In colleges and universities around the globe, East View Geospatial’s databases and maps provide the knowledge on which future scholars build.
The strategy is simple – make discoverable and provide access to the world’s most authoritative geospatial and cartographic content. Partnerships with hundreds of mapping authorities and publishers, from national mapping agencies to nautical and geological agencies, guarantee that EVG can provide authoritative content direct from the source.
From satellite imagery to digital elevation models or population datasets, East View Geospatial’s procurement team can track down anything for its customers. Field offices on six continents and a commitment to being the authority on cartographic data compels EVG’s teams across the globe for new information.
In 2020, East View Geospatial wants to share more of its knowledge with the world. Follow the EVG blog to stay up to date on industry news, innovations, exciting projects, contests, giveaways, and more. We want your feedback and will check in periodically to ask about which topics most interest our colleagues in the geospatial community.
We’ll also be posting new and interesting geospatial tidbits on our social media channels. We are on Facebook, LinkedIn, Twitter at @EVGeospatial and on Instagram at @eastviewgeospatial.