Miniatur Wunderland isn’t your average model railway exhibit. We’re talking 13,000 kilometers of track, almost a thousand trains, 335,000 lights, and more than 200,000 little figurines spread across a layout that’s now takes up almost 14,000 square feet. Besides trains, there are also hundreds of little cars that drive around the various cities. It’s Hamburg’s most visited tourist attraction.
The layout features everything from your typical German, Austrian and Swiss landscapes to miniature versions of Las Vegas, the Grand Canyon, Norwegian fjords, and a DJ Bobo concert (yep — somebody called DJ Bobo is a thing in Germany, but then, so is David Hasselhoff’s Christmas album). There’s even a working airport.
Google worked with Ubilabs to build a very small version of its Street View cameras to create these images. Ubilabs says the project took about two months of preparation and experiments before heading to Hamburg, as well as 600 hours of work (mostly at night) on location. Having a camera this small will likely allow Google to go into other, small spaces as well. At the same time, it’s also hard not to look at this and think that this kind of technique should work well for creating 360-degree imagery for virtual reality applications.