Dassault Systèmes and Microsoft have launched Microsoft Virtual Earth -3DVIA.

This free online application, developed by Dassault Systèmes, allows consumers to imagine and create realistic 3D models — such as of buildings and structures — then share them through Microsoft Virtual Earth and online communities.

Users can download Virtual Earth -3DVIA for free and immediately begin using the application, which the companies describe as fun, easy-to-use and intuitive.

Virtual Earth -3DVIA allows anyone to apparently easily design a 3D model of their house, favourite building or any structure, then select from different visualisation options, textures and colors to give their 3D model a style of its own.

3D models can be uploaded to Virtual Earth, specifying an address or neighbourhood so they can experience the model within a real-life context and shared with friends.

"Virtual Earth -3DVIA users will be able to build a world that mixes their future projects and ideas with real-life places, buildings and structures", said Lynne Wilson, senior vice president and general manager of 3DVIA at Dassault Systèmes.

"Through Microsoft’s online geographic location mapping technology and our 3D modeling and realistic visualisation know-how, we have created a new level of realism within Virtual Earth that provides an unrestricted freedom for creativity and innovation."