29/03/2001 Look up! Wave! Somewhere above your head, a satellite soars, pointing its little lens down at the ground and taking careful note of all that it sees. Used to be that such things were top top secret, and then it got so large countries could afford civilian weather and ground mapping satellites. Now there's so much fine hardware up there that a retail market has developed and people like Kodak -- who know a thing or two about snaps -- are getting in on the act. Today, it bought Groupe Hauts-Monts, or at least as much of it that does digital analysis and presentation of space-based images. Using this, Kodak will be selling digital cities, models of the places we live that are detailed enough to let cellular telcos decide where to place their aerials. Which means, I think, that we're getting close to the ideal virtual world I've wanted for years -- an exact match to the real world, only modelled on screen. It's a great way to find stuff, you can bolt on as much novelty as you like and it's a user interface that everyone would find immediately familiar. Expensive and tricky, though, unless you have real-world scans. Kodak might find they've got a much bigger market than they were expecting.