From Basement to Roadshow: The Story of Liquid Galaxy at ImmobilienScout24

written by Thu - Trang Ho

Feeling inspired by ideas presented at a conference, Tino Nitze, one of ImmobilienScout24’s Engineering Managers, conceptualized and implemented Liquid Galaxy in the company’s business. The starting point: ImmobilienScout24’s basement. We sat down with Tino to talk about the development of the project, how ImmobilienScout24 customers can benefit from it and how it’s connected to our Hack Days.

Tino, what’s the Liquid Galaxy?

Tino: The Liquid Galaxy, an open source project created in 2008, is an intense data visualization tool for operations, marketing, and research. It provides an excellent tool for real estate brokerages and land use agencies to showcase their properties with multiple large screens showing 3D building models and complete Google Earth data. Simply put, it’s a virtual world created from computer screens.

What drove you into realizing the Liquid Galaxy project on you own?

Tino: Originally the idea comes from Google who has been dealing with this innovation for the past eight years. Google open- sourced the entire project, a fact that also motivated people all over the world to rebuild it on their own.

After attending an inspiring Google conference, I brought the Liquid Galaxy to Scout24. During our Hack Days in July, a three-day hackathon where employees have the possibility to hack on their own ideas, my colleagues and I took advantage of this opportunity and created a prototype of our project. By using old discarded computers stored in ImmobilienScout24’s basement Benjamin Wagner, Oskar Wolk and I developed our own little virtual world. We even managed to build a piece of software that would constantly search for listing in the current viewable area and depict each of the listings as an icon on the map of the given city. After our presentation at the Hack Days Thomas Schroeter, one of ImmobilienSocut24’s Managing Directors, helped our team with integrating the Liquid Galaxy project as an innovative gadget into the Innovation Camp Tour.

Liquid Galaxy in action @ Innovation Camp 2017 in Berlin:

This sounds very promising. What are the next steps of the projects?

Tino: In the future, we plan to integrate our object data into the Liquid Galaxy. This allows a virtual tour of the areas where residential objects are listed on our website. Afterwards, the users will have the possibility to view the residential objects with the 360-degree view.

What are other VR technologies that you recommend keeping an eye on?

At the moment our main focus is dedicated to Augmented and Mixed Reality. AR and MR seem to be already envisioning tomorrow’s future by making changes in how we live, shop, learn and work. In my opinion, the most interesting frameworks nowadays are Apple´s AR Kit and Google´s AR-Core. Both frameworks which will lead to a new era of camera centric apps. The year 2018 will definitely be an Augmented and Mixed Reality year and we as a tech company are aiming to be part of that movement.

Interested in joining Tino and his team to develop and implement other technologies for the real estate business? They are looking for Frontend / Fullstack Engineers. Check out the vacancies here: Current Job Openings at Scout24