A Chinese website called City8 is taking on Google and Microsoft’s mapping tools by offering street level mapping with an impressive level of detail.

The site has been developed by Easypano Holdings, based in Shanghai. It began producing street level maps in July last year, and now has coverage of eight Chinese cities. See this video for a demo (in Chinese).

Both Google and Microsoft launched new 3D mapping services back in May this year. They are available on Microsoft’s Live Search Maps site, while Google has added Street View to Google Maps in the US.

Google’s Street View maps, currently available for just a few US cities, provide a 360 degree panoramic view taken from a specific point on the street, allowing the user to pan around and move around the streets.

City8 offers this service, but with a much greater degree of clarity. Like Google, City8 uses cameras mounted on cars which cruise around the streets capturing images. Easypano’s software then blends the views together so that users can seamlessly pan around the city horizontally and vertically.

Google’s street level photography has been a bit too intrusive for some people, prompting concerns over invasion of privacy. City8 hasn’t yet encountered this problem.

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