I recall roughly around 1997 when i first attempted to get my Flight Simulator logged on & fly with other people around the world. Somehow the real-time aspect held more gravity when flying around faithful renderings of landscapes & somewhat accurate reproductions of meatspace urban centers. I banged right then onto a prescient posibility.
If my Flight Simulator could receive so many packets of data representing the other guy’s actions in HIS Flight Simulator, then why couldnt it tap into the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) or any other National Weather data warehouse and get all that information?
Think of damn-near real-time hops to circle whatever hurricane is sweeping the south. Or a tornado. What about a volcano? Or any damned weather pattern or earth based phenomenon of interest.
Even something as mundane as trans-oceanic shipping lanes could be compelling in their own way when you realize the digital ship your buzzing 1242 south-southwest of Honolulu could very well be within 30m of its actual location in meatspace.
Sure the locations of these artifacts could be parsed in real-time, but all these in-world objects would need to be rendered in real-time. But i’m figgering that if the data warehouse has the position of the ship, it knows the name, owner, size, etc. From that, its simply an additional call to ?? database to obtain rudimentary schematics based on the class or manufacturer or year-built.
Why stop there? And why limit this to flying around within a game?
When everyone & every thing they have is fitted with a GPS signal, then therefore the locations of these in-world items is ubiquitiously known. Some genius out there is going to found the company that wrote the code that renders all of that data into a display. Slap a silly avatar on all your friends. Obtain 3D models of every building in the city they’re walking around. Gather data (anonymously of course) from every vehicle that passes them, and render them doing so. Throw in the aforementioned HD doplar weather data. Throw in the exact time of day to generate proper shadow casts and ray tracing (for known surfaces). Throw that all into an intuitive UI and let users put the camera where ever they want
Over ten years on, this door hasnt begun to close.