Earthscape for iPhone to Add Geotagged Photos

I moderated a panel on the future of mobile phone technology for accessing MMOs at the Virtual Worlds Expo in LA this week, but one of the most interesting demos showcased there was a very cool iPhone application for the real world: the ability to upload geotagged photos onto a 3D map of the plane in near real time.

It’s an upcoming feature for Earthscape, an iPhone app that renders satellite imagery into a navigable, 3D map of the world — think Google Earth at your fingertips. 300,000+ places on the Earthscape globe also have a link to the Wikipedia page associated with the location.

While there are other iPhone geotagging photo apps, founder and CEO Tom Churchill told me his company has tried to make theirs “brain-dead simple to use.” You don’t need an account on Flickr or another service to use it, for example.

Instead, photos are associated with each phone’s unique identifier, making it a simple process of point, shoot and upload. (Churchill sent me the one above, showing two photos he took at LA’s Staples Center.) You can see photos you’ve added to the Earthscape map instantaneously — and if you choose, photos taken by all other Earthscape users across the planet. That’s the feature that excites me most, because it suggests a crowdsourced, photographic depiction of the world updated in near real-time. (Almost like Twitter with images instead of words.) Churchill expects Apple to approve the update and have it available on the App store by mid-September.

Disclosure: My Second Life blog was an unpaid media partner for the Virtual Worlds Conference.

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