China Just Won SimCity With Censorship-Bypassing 3D Baidu Maps

Illustration for article titled China Just Won SimCity With Censorship-Bypassing 3D Baidu Maps

China has repeatedly prevented Google Maps from providing maps of China because the government would like the right to censor landmarks and locations. That means people miss out on cool features like Google's 3D view for Android. So what does China do instead? Have Baidu—the most popular search engine there—provide a 3D pixel art version instead. The result is amazing.

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Illustration for article titled China Just Won SimCity With Censorship-Bypassing 3D Baidu Maps

Instead of just using simple blocky, textureless models of buildings, Baidu's version is actual, realistic pixel-art version of the buildings. I had someone who grew up in China find their old home and their old high school, modeled exactly to specifications, down to the basketball courts (the right number too!) that they used to hold assemblies on.

Illustration for article titled China Just Won SimCity With Censorship-Bypassing 3D Baidu Maps

You can scroll around the major cities and check it out for yourself. Go to map.baidu.com and then follow the instructions in the image here to get to 3D map view.

C'mon America. Do this! USA! USA! USA! [Baidu via Bloggokin via The Daily Bunch via Kotaku]

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DISCUSSION

Holy crap! That is insane. The detail and extent of this is amazing. I can't help but think about the huge numbers of low-wage positions required to put all this together by hand.

Sort of like the opening ceremony at the 08 Beijing Olympics: a massive number of people working together in perfect harmony. Only in China.