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Section 2 / Page 55

If the system had been developed, then a virtual globe, a 3 dimensional version of the planet earth was seen as being part of the interface system. E.g. people were to have been given the ability to zoom into any part of the planet, by using all of the data and models distributed throughout all of the networked databases. The end users could then have selected to download a VR version of the planet Earth, not just a static image, but a 3D image of the Earth with real time satellite weather pictures mapped onto it etc and as much real time information as possible so as to produce a totally interactive VR Earth, (bandwidth and the availability of the data, being the only real issue).

Through the virtual interface, the system could have provided the end users with the ability to zoom into any part of the planet that the network had data on. At the time this was seen as becoming a great educational tool and the best tourism gimmick of all time. By tying in video footage, web pages, pictures, VR models and real time web cam footage of any of the places, then it should have allowed users a simple and yet fully multilinked interface, to all of the databases information.

The video below will give you an idea of what is being described here, sorry about the BMW advert at the end:-

This technique should also have allowed for an easier route, I believe, to assembling all of the data that the network was to have contained, by keeping everything relative then it should have been able to tie in all of the information for each particular place, so keeping it in some sort of order, so allowing for a faster search. The franchise concept, should have allowed the globe project to be implemented in a very cost effective way, so giving the network access to an incredible amount of accurate data from all over the world. The networks search engine should have been able to, not only learn through user interaction with it, but also learn how best to organise it's own data, through the use of A.I. routines.

The user was also seen as being given the option of a virtual tour guide for the more popular places and even history lessons for those places. By exploiting both the graphics and sound processing potential of the latest PCs and consoles etc, it should have allowed for a level of interactivity that is only being touched on by current mass audience platforms. The network was to have allowed the public a totally new and easy way to see and hear everything that has ever been recorded in a totally interactive way, new high-speed networks will allow for total interactivity. The Internet as it is today is using advanced search engines to find the information the user wants, but by using the virtual globe method, I believe, it would have allowed the public a much easier route to finding the information they require.

An example of the globe concept:-

Rather than going through hundreds of web pages and text pages, the virtual globe could have allowed the user to see and hear information in a new way. Using Text-to-Speech software, the system was to have allowed the end user the ability to zoom into any part of the globe and see any of the virtualised models. If the system did not have any virtual models for a particular location, then it could have had one of the virtual tour guides just show the user, a web page / TV or web cam footage or picture of the area, and then the tour guide could have just read out any text description available of the area.

The globe concept in conjunction with the real time overlay of information should have come into its own as bandwidth increased, but obviously it would have depended upon how much of the VR database network had been developed. The end users and franchisees from within any given location could have put in virtual data for their particular area, in this way, the franchised network could have built up a very large image database and in a very cost effective manner. This should have allowed the franchise operator to build up the VR globe project, in easy stages. The VR Globe project was envisioned as being a much more accurate reconstruction than any current system available today. Including both the external and internal descriptions of buildings from all over the world. (P.s. this is about the future of the web, see Microsoft's Virtual Earth system).

The virtual globe was to be tied into the basic model concept outlined in section 4.

Also see database setup.

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Author Alan Keeling