China Won SimCity With Censorship-Bypassing 3D Baidu Maps

China has repeatedly prevented Google Maps from providing maps of China because the government would like the right to censor landmarks and locations. That means people miss out on cool features, like Google's 3D view for Android. So what does China do instead? Have Baidu - the most popular search engine there - provide a 3D pixel art version instead. The result is amazing.

Instead of just using simple blocky, textureless models of buildings, Baidu's version is actual, realistic pixel-art version of the buildings. I had someone who grew up in China find their old home and their old high school, modeled exactly to specifications, down to the basketball courts (the right number too!) that they used to hold assemblies on.

You can scroll around the major cities and check it out for yourself. Go to and then follow the instructions in the image here to get to 3D map view.

C'mon America. Do this! USA! USA! USA! [Baidu via Bloggokin via The Daily Bunch via Kotaku]



    Thats at least 4 kinds of awesome! Google need to do this now.

      OH EM GEE, that is an insane amount of pixelated detail. Someone had A LOT of time on their hands...

    My architectural, artistic, geeky side just exploded with joy.

    Baidu isn't the first to do this, and they don't have many cities with the pixel art yet.

    If you have a look at you can see the same sort of thing but on almost every major city in china

    Nice project, but where are the masses of Chinese people we keep hearing about :P
    It's a nice idea to have as a backup but I'd rather see the real deal.

    This is hardly new. I have been using Edushi maps since 2008 for a 3D view of Chinese cities I have been visiting.


    Hover cursor over the Chinese characters to see the English names of cities in the links.

    Clicking on the bus symbols gives the route numbers of the buses stopping at that station, which is a great help.

    WOW.... just miss the streetview option :-)

    cmon google... you can do this !!

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