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)