Black Shark Austrian start Behind the Digital Globe, flying in a Microsoft flight simulator, raise $ 20 million round A to develop and enhance our Earth technology. There are many and varied applications that could be the “digital twins” of the planets, and the company has a start even on massive mapping projects like Google.

Last year, the world got a spectacular (if not 100%) spherical view that could be fully transmitted in a flight simulator. We He called it “technical.” And later he explained in detail how it was created and by whom.

BlackShark AI was released from Game Studio Bongfish with the intention of setting up and setting up Michael Putz, a founder and CEO, to take their world-building technology beyond the realm of gaming. The basis of their technique is to convert large-scale 2D images into precise 3D representation by machine, a little bit of ingenuity and a lot of computer power.

The details are here, but basically the system knows exactly what different buildings look like, even in tiny light and incomplete images. The machine learning system you have built can be derived from imperfect details, taking into account the presence of neighbors (residential and commercial), the type of roof (flat and flat) and other air conditioning units, and so on. Using all this, he creates a convincing 3D reconstruction of the building.

The hard part, of course, is not how to do it. one time But how to do it A billion times regularlyTo create a contemporary 3D image for every building on the planet. ዝTutz explains: “Even if you can buy computer power for all this, it’s hard to build the back end to serve! This was a real world issue for us to consider.

Their solution was to facilitate, as it is often necessary, to access II-powered services. ዝ Putz said that the process of calculating the 3D model for every building on the planet took about a month at first, but now it can be done in three days, at a speed of about 300x.

This is crucial for their business to be able to update regularly based on new images from satellites, Putz said. Many 3D map data, such as Google and Apple maps, can be used to determine the size and depth (by our eyes) of photography, combining multiple aerial images in aerial photographs, and comparing parallax data. This creates good data when the photo is taken.

If you want your 3D map to represent what a block in Chicago looks like last week, Not two years ago, and you want to present that level of popularity to as many parts of the world as possible, these days the only option is satellite imagery. But that requires the 2D-to-3D method mentioned above.

Putz is not really a competitor, although the 3D Map and the ones from Google and Apple have similar similarities. They all offer a real “canvas”, but they vary greatly in purpose.

“Google Maps is a canvas for local businesses,” he said, and the most important thing for the company and its users are locations, reviews, directions, and so on. “For us, for flood, for climate change, we provide 3D information. Seattle and other people who specialize in water physics and liquid simulation can use it to paint the real world as a canvas. Our goal is to be a visible planet.”

Image thanks Black Shark

What is the total flat roof in this San Diego neighborhood? Which regional airports have 4,000 square meters? How do wildfires overlap with modern wind models? It is not difficult to come up with ways that can be useful.

“The more you think about it, the more likely it is that one of their ideas will be used.” “Obvious government applications, disaster relief, smart cities, independent industries – driving and flying. All of these industries need artificial environments. It was not just a matter of saying, ‘Hey, we want to do this.’ And this 2D-3D thing is the only way to solve this big problem.

The $ 20 million round was led by M12 (Microsoft Venture Fund) and Point72 Ventures. Putts is pleased to have some of the most recognizable advisors on board. (These are the people Giving adviceno I do not Joining This article was previously incorrect.)

Balancing is a matter of going to the market rather than building the product; Of course, as many engineers and researchers are employed, the company must quickly move from a “smart start” to a “global supplier of 3D landscaping” or find another smart beginner eating lunch. So the sales and support team will be building together with the “remaining hyperscaling company,” Putz said.

Beyond the more obvious usage issues he lists, you know it’s coming – there’s a chance vice versa Applications. In this case, however, it is less hot air and more interesting any interesting AR / VR / etc. Applications, from games to travel guides, want to build their virtual experience based on the latest version of Earth. Not only that, but the world outside of us can be created in the same way, so if you want to plunder the planet and create a new one (and who can blame you?) You can do it to the end. week. Doesn’t it look good?

Once the new funding is used, expect to see the complex markets and processes taking place on our planet in the new generation of “powered by” or the like.