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Microsoft Virtual Earth offers 3D building capability

Partnership with Dassault Systemes on free online application will enable people to build and share virtual 3D structures.

Microsoft and Dassault Systemes have released a 3D building application for the Virtual Earth mapping program, the companies said Friday.

Microsoft/Dassault Systemes

Virtual Earth-3DVIA will let people create 3D structures with textures and colors and share them with one other online. The models can also be tagged with real-life addresses or town information so that they can be viewed in Virtual Earth as they would be on a map.

The application is being released as a "technology preview," according to the companies, in order for them to get feedback for its next release.

The program could be a rival to Google Earth's 3D Warehouse, which was released in January and was recently opened to Multiverse Networks users. That partnership lets people use 3D objects from 3D Warehouse to create virtual worlds.