The largest model railroad in the world gets a thorough mapping, giving the world a glimpse at a much smaller version of itself.
If you tried to drive a normal Google mapping car through a scaled-down village full of tiny models, you’d crush the thing. But if you toss a few cameras in there, you end up with something special — an interactive map of the largest model railway exhibit in the world that feels no different than your standard Google Street View.
Miniatur Wunderland in Hamburg, Germany is home to more than 200,000 tiny denizens and over 8,000 miles of model-train tracks. The city, called Knuffingen, connects to miniature representations of Las Vegas, the Grand Canyon, the Hamburg airport and the Swiss Alps. The attention to detail — from each car on the road to the individual jersey barriers at the airport — is staggering. There’s even a diminutive version of Google’s own mapping car.
Google teamed up with Ubilabs, a German map company, to develop a miniature camera for this job. It was attached to minuscule vehicles that traversed the numerous roads and tracks spanning each of Miniatur Wunderland’s locations. Treating it like a traditional mapping project resulted in a very detailed Street View map that can be viewed just like any other.