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Cutetown San Francisco is an interesting iPad app for creating 3D maps

Mel Martin

This app won't be easy to describe, but here goes. Cutetown is a free iPad app equipped with an aerial photo of San Francisco and parts of the Stanford University Campus. You can select buildings from the 2D photo, then extrude them in height, width and depth before adding pre-formed 3D roofs, windows, doors, etc. When you are done, a 3D building has been added to the map and you can go back and grab another. It's not a serious map-making or 3D app, but it's kind of like having some control over a Sim City layout without the animation.

The app features a tutorial -- which isn't always clear -- after which you're sent on your way to start creating buildings. You have to sign up for an account, apparently so users can collaborate with others to crowdsource the finished map. I don't like the idea of signing up for things without an explanation of how the information will be used, so a few points get shaved for that.

Gallery: Cutetown 3D city creator | 3 Photos

I contacted the developers with some questions, but never received a response. There is a lot of promise and the seeds of an interesting idea here. The 3D tools can be used without any 3D modeling knowledge, but some of the options simply aren't clear. It is worth a few minutes exploring the app but I think Cutetown has to evolve a bit more before I get too excited about it. I experienced one crash of the app, but fortunately, after that crash, it was stable.

Cutetown requires an iPad and needs iOS 5.0 or greater.

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