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Navteq's laser technology--lidar, short for light detection and ranging--uses 64 lasers mounted on a stalk atop a vehicle. It can work even when the vehicle is traveling at highway speeds.
Navteq has begun offering these 3D digital models of cities in the United States. European, South American, and Asian cities will follow.
This close-up shows a more detailed view of what the Navteq 3D laser system can capture.
This view from Navteq's 3D mapping technology shows both trees and a pedestrian crossing the road.
Navteq isn't the only mapper gathering 3D data. Google has been doing so since at least 2008. This view shows one of Google's Street View cars, photographed by Gabriele Peloso.