The future was supposed to be all about swooping through pixellated cities, the crepuscular computer ghost-light arcing through the Aurignacian canyons of Neo Tokyo as we trailed our enemies into the dark. Instead we get some of the coolest map visualizations I’ve ever seen with a few social media tricks thrown in to make a very cool mapping platform called UpNext. You win some, you lose some.
UpNext uses 3D renderings of world cities to show points of interest and Foursquare checkins inside a real representation of nearly 50 cities. They’ve just launched their app for the iPad and Android tablets and I am seriously impressed. The resolution is great and the onscreen update speed is amazing. It offers the best of services like Google Maps alongside real city imagery, allowing you to use the map to orient yourself in 3D space. A blinking dot on a 2D street-scape works, but a 3D dot in a 3D city works even better.
“Google launched Google Maps 5 for Android last year. We are bringing the same vector based goodness to iOS, but with more beautiful cartography, faster rendering, and fluid search with our innovative search results system. Our cities are fully textured, our roadways carved in full 3D with overpasses and tunnels and our buildings are all tappable,” said Danny Moon, CEO.
Now all I need are a pair of Virtual Light glasses and a carbon-fiber messenger bike. The app is available now for iPad and Android and is coming soon on the Kindle Fire.