An innovative 3D map of Macau will enable visitors to navigate the city's streets and building interiors virtually A new 3D map of Macau will allow users to navigate city streets and inside buildings, hotels and restaurants from the comfort of their home or office. Former bank worker Patrick Wong and engineer Ken Lam came up with the idea after seeing information about 3D maps on the internet. The pair set up P & K Technology Macao in 2006 and it took the company 10 months to complete the first stage of the 3D mapping system. The internet-based map, developed in collaboration with Macau Business Support Centre, allows users to create a free account and navigate their way around the lifelike city. Users can message friends to identify meeting times and places, advertise their homes for sale and promote their businesses. Mr Wong said there were similar mapping systems being developed for 15 cities in the mainland, but he did not know of any others around the world. 'The idea behind the project was to create a digital Macau and the first step in that process was to create the 3D map,' Mr Wong said. 'Everything is based on the real world and our dream is to recreate the whole city including people, which will take time but we are working on it.' The first stage of the project involved creating a 3D map of the city landscape and streets. The next phase will allow users inside buildings so they can navigate their way through hotel rooms, restaurants and businesses and the third stage will involve simulating human behaviour and lifestyle. During the first stage a team of workers collected information and photographed each building in Macau. The buildings then had to be drawn electronically and another team worked on developing the system to ensure easy navigation. Mr Wong's company, which also provides IT support, employs 10 staff and partners with the 100-strong team from the mainland's Guangzhou Yidong Internet Technology. He said due to the labour shortage it was difficult to find staff locally and was more cost effective to partner with a firm from the mainland. The project, in which the company has invested more than HK$1 million, involves programmers, graphic artists and a large team of researchers who collate the information on Macau. Mr Wong said the map, which will be officially launched next month, was useful for tourists and locals and was updated regularly to ensure accurate information. He said revenue was generated by selling advertising to businesses and individuals on the map. 'There are so many people wanting to know about Macau and if you are planning a trip here you can get online and go as far as looking inside your hotel room,' he said. 'You will know where you are going and what you can expect. Locals can set an appointment and send a message detailing exactly where people are to meet, shop online and see what homes are for sale.' The first version of the 3D map is in Chinese and the company is working on English and Japanese versions.