Google Earth is pretty great as it stands, but I like where it's going even better. And that place is Simsville, with a stop-off at Liberty City along the way.

The internet giant has released a map of New York City that's astonishing in detail, combining satellite data with shots from its fleet of Google Streetview cars to generate a completely three-dimensional image of the city.

It's great as a plaything, or even as a guide to getting around the Big Apple, but I'm having more fun dreaming up gaming applications for something like this. And don't lie and try and tell me you didn't either, first time that 3D render of the city popped into view.

I mean, it's not hard imagining a city management game utilising these models. Or even an open-world title like Grand Theft Auto, where graphical detail is sacrificed for 1:1 realism.

Provided, that is, you don't think New York has already been over-played.

[via Gizmodo]