Back in February, Microsoft acquired a company called Caligari mainly for their 3D modeling and animation software, trueSpace. As of now, trueSpace is available for download – for free. With trueSpace, you can create high-resolution models, landscapes, buildings, and more for Virtual Earth and Live Maps. After creating these models, they can then be uploaded from trueSpace directly into Live Maps as a collections item. Why is trueSpace important? Well, for one, this is not sketching software – these aren’t drawings, but detailed, rich and realistic models. For example, take this Starbucks model (image to the left - see the full video on Chris Pendleton’s blog). This could either be a 3D model of the actual store or a mockup of one they’re thinking of building. That mockup could then be aaded to Live Maps in order to get feedback from the community. Even better, trueSpace supports importing of models drawn within other 3D software environments, including AutoCAD, Illustrator, and more. (The full list is here). For more details on how to use trueSpace, Chris has a great walkthough on his site. To register and download trueSpace, click here.