Sunday, May 27, 2007

Virtual City Content Continues Falling Off the Web

What's going on with all the Virtual City content on the Web? Yesterday I realized that even Planet 9 Studios had taken down their virtual San Francisco, Los Angeles, and Las Vegas models. I did not see that coming. I had spent hours cleaning up their VRML files and keeping a version locally. I felt more comfortable linking to their textures than downloading them. Now the textures are gone and my local versions are nothing but white blurs.

Perhaps they'll comment to my blog here, please? Or, if anyone who has taken off virtual content could let me know the reasons for it, I'd appreciate it. Were you afraid someone would quickly convert your models to contribute them to an open source virtual city project? I would not have done that without permission. Isn't it worth you doing it yourself to get the credit you deserve? Is Google denying your participation? That's not how they are pitching their community contribution model.

I'll keep contending that we need to teach school kids how to build virtual city content and have our schools and governments support the effort with publicly available back-end databases. Everyone who enjoys the process should get credit and see the fruits of their labors be associated with a master virtual city plan. The process can mimic the Wikipedia community participation model, with tagged versioning and an intelligent review process.

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