Building blocks: 3D models with detailed facades November 19, 2009

Building blocks: 3D models with detailed facades

November 19, 2009
With tools like SketchUp and Building Maker, modelers around the world have been creating remarkably high-quality 3D buildings for Google Earth — just check out any of our Featured Modelers to see the impressive work they’ve been doing. We’ve also had local governments contributing models of their entire city – like Amherst, Massachusetts and Washington, DC – through our Cities in 3D program.

At Google, we’ve also been busy working on expanding our 3D coverage. Last week, we added detailed 3D models for Valencia, Spain. Many of these were Google-created models and before that, across the Atlantic, we released models in Milwaukee, Wisconsin, and Indianapolis, Indiana. In addition to adding entirely new areas, we’ve been tinkering with ways to make richer, detailed 3D models. If you zoom into downtown Los Angeles, San Diego, San Francisco, Berkeley, or Stockton you’ll now notice that our 3D coverage is now much more extensive and a lot more vibrant.

San Diego, CA

Berkeley, CA

The buildings in these five California cities now have detailed facades, meaning that you can see storefronts and architectural details like you would if you were walking down the street. We’ve constructed these models by using imagery from Street View, similar to the way that users can make photo-textured models in SketchUp 7.1.

With these models in Google Earth, you can go in one swoop from viewing the globe through an astronaut’s eyes to virtually browsing the shops in San Francisco’s Chinatown or San Diego’s Gaslamp District.

Showing is always better than telling, especially for an interactive and vivid experience like this, so go explore the models in Google Earth. To kickstart your exploration, check out this video preview of what awaits you:

Posted by Christian Frueh and Manish Patel, 3D Modeling Team

More to see in 3D

More to see in 3D

December 22, 2009

A few weeks ago we released new 3D models with more detailed facades for 5 California cities. Even though we’re based in California, we know there are a lot of beautiful cities with amazing architecture elsewhere around the country, so we’re adding 4 new cities scattered from coast to coast. Now you can fly through Portland, Austin, Chicago, and Philadelphia and see vivid, detailed 3D models throughout the cities.

While the list is quickly growing, some of our favorite spots are Portland’s Pearl District, South Street in Philadelphia, Austin’s 6th Street, and the restaurants along Rush Street in Chicago:

Portland, OR

Austin, TX

Chicago, IL

Philadelphia, PA

For the full effect, you should explore these cities for yourself in Google Earth. As you browse through these cities you’ll also see a number of great buildings creating by users using tools like Sketch-up and Building Maker. Here’s a video preview of the interactive experience:

Expanded 3D Buildings coverage

Expanded 3D Buildings coverage

July 7, 2011
(Cross-posted on the Official SketchUp Blog)

Looking for new 3D cities to explore in far off places? Well, you’re in luck! We’ve been hard at work expanding our 3D coverage by adding ten of thousands of 3D buildings to these cities:

  • Berkeley, California USA
  • Cologne, Germany
  • The Hague, Netherlands

See the new buildings for yourself with the “3D Buildings” layer in Google Earthor by using Google Maps with Earth view.

Happy touring!

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A royal view of the wedding procession, right in your browser

April 27, 2011
As we approach Friday and the marriage of Prince William and Catherine Middleton, many locations in central London are in the spotlight. Last month weexpanded our 3D imagery of central London’s buildings and trees in Google Earthto help you explore the royal wedding procession route.

As we get closer to the wedding day, we’ve also featured a few highlights along the procession route for you to explore in 3D using Google Maps with Earth View. If you have the Google Earth plug-in installed, you can get started viewing these spots though an immersive tour right away, or you can download the Google Earth plug-in to explore Google Maps in 3D.

With one click, you can travel to Buckingham Palace, fly to an aerial perspective of Westminster Abbey, or get a clock-level view of Big Ben and the Houses of Parliament. Get started seeing these and other highlights

Houses of Parliament & Big Ben, London

Whatever way you’re celebrating on Friday, we hope this rich data of London in Google Earth and Google Maps brings you that little bit closer to this historic event.

Explore the ancient and modern with Rome in 3D

Explore the ancient and modern with Rome in 3D

August 22, 2011
[Cross-posted from the Google SketchUp Blog]

Rome really is an eternal city. With a history spanning over 2500 years and regimes from the early kingdom, through the republic, the empire, and later as the heart of the Catholic faith in the Vatican city, each has made their mark on the current urban architectural landscape of Rome. Now, with the release of thousands of new 3D buildings for the city, you can explore the blending of the ages in layered construction of Rome from within Google Earth.

Let’s start our exploration in the ruins of the ancient Roman forum, home of the original Roman republic. From here we can easily travel to some of the subsequent Imperial buildings such as the Colosseum (AKA the Flavian Amphitheater) and Trajan’s Market and Column.

Looking towards the Colosseum through the Roman Forum
Next, we’ll head Northwest, towards the Pantheon and Piazza Navona. The Pantheon is a great example of the layered reuse of buildings in Rome; originally built in the Republican period, the Pantheon was retrofitted with the front portico in the Imperial period, and then later converted into a church. The shape of Piazza Navona also displays its historic foundation as the site was originally the Stadium of Domitian in the Imperial era.

Central Rome showing the Pantheon and Piazza Navona
Lastly, let’s head over to the Vatican City, where we can see great examples of the Renaissance and Baroque architecture of the city in Saint Peter’s Basilica and the colonnade by Bernini around St. Peter’s square.

St. Peter’s Basilica and Piazza in Vatican City
There is much more to explore in Italy’s modern capital, so have a look around this beautiful city! And don’t forget, a few years ago we also released ancient Rome in 3D which allows you to see Rome as it was in 320 AD.To see Rome in Google Earth for yourself, use Google Maps with Earth view or turn on Google Earth’s “3D Buildings” layer and search for “Rome, Italy”. Alternatively, you can download this KML tour from the Google Earth Gallery to take a virtual tour of the 3D landmarks for yourself. As always, feel free to useGoogle Building Maker or Google SketchUp to make any improvements or additions to the city or to model your own town.

Happy touring!
Posted by Mason Thrall, Program Manager, Geo 3D

More 3D trees in the western United States

More 3D trees in the western United States

August 31, 2011

It’s late summer and many U.S. cities have reported record (or almost record) heat. Are you withering in warmth and longing for some shade under a tree? Maybe you can’t easily leave for your favorite park but trees are actually closer than you think! We’re happy to announce that we’ve added 3D trees to Google Earth in three new cities: Los Angeles, Denver and Boulder.

Typically, when you imagine trees in Los Angeles, you picture the commanding palm trees that line the famous Hollywood avenues or dot the gracious mansions of Beverly Hills. While Palm Trees may dominate the landscape, there are actually many other trees both native and foreign that inhabit the city, such as the California Oak, Black Walnut trees, and California Sycamore (to name a few).

You can now get a glimpse of these trees with the new 3D tree models covering the West Side, including cities like Santa Monica, Beverly Hills, and Hollywood, as well as parts of downtown where the financial district sits. Check out the famous Sunset Boulevard which stretches from the sea at Santa Monica to downtown. Here is where you will find Palm Trees lining glitzy movie posters and billboards that are a marquee signature of the city.

Sunset Boulevard, Los Angeles

Or jump to the see more native species like the native Oak tree species in Elylsian Park adjacent to Dodgers Stadium.

Elysian Park, Los Angeles
There are two species you absolutely can’t forget when talking about trees in Colorado: Colorado Blue Spruce and Quaking Aspen, both native to Colorado. Colorado Blue Spruce has a very distinct look for the pale blue of its needles. It is also the Colorado state tree and a very common tree species seen in the Colorado Foothills. Quaking Aspen got its name from fluttering leaves in the breeze and makes up the famous golden fall foliage of Colorado. Take a walk on Cheeseman Park in Denver or a fly over Boulder and you can tell these trees by their unique colors and shapes.
Cheeseman Park, Denver

There is one other tree species in Colorado deserving a special mention – Cottonwood trees in Boulder. Every late spring, these trees cover Boulder in white cottons, making it feel like it’s still snowing in June (although that could happen in Colorado). There are several Cottonwoods right by the Google Boulder office that create white blankets of cotton in our garage and on sidewalks every June and July. Looking at these 3D trees on Google Earth makes me feel like sneezing all of a sudden…

Google Office in Boulder, CO

If you want to get a taste of these cities, put on some shades and visit in Google Earth. Just make sure “Trees” is checked under “3D Buildings” in the left layers panel.

Posted by Kay Chen, Geo 3D Program Manager

New 45° imagery for Detroit and 4 other cities

New 45° imagery for Detroit and 4 other cities

December 20, 2011

Earlier this month we highlighted 21 new cities with updated 45° imagery on Google Maps. In our last 45° imagery update of the year, we have 5 new cities from the Midwestern and Southern regions of the US.

Detroit, Michigan is one of those cities I’m particularly excited to share with you. Growing up nearby this great international city, I’ve gotten to know its beauty, character and deep history. Recently Detroit has attracted much international attention for its auto sector and changing urban landscape.

With this 45° imagery update, and also using the Street View feature of Google Maps, you can now explore for yourself the wonderful revival that has happened in Detroit’s downtown core. Here at the corner of Montcalm and Woodward you can see the historic Fox Theatre and the famed Hockeytown Cafe, with the home of the Detroit Tigers and Lions just a short walk away:


You can also view some of Detroit’s stunning architecture, among the most beautiful in North America. The GM Renaissance Center standing proudly amongmany of the majestic 1920s era office buildings is a poignant contrast of Detroit’s history and progress:                                                                           This new 45° imagery in Detroit extends a few neighborhoods in each direction of the downtown area so I encourage you to zoom in and rotate the compass ring to explore this great city from the air!

While you’re at it, be sure to take a look at other new updates in these US cities:

Fayetteville, AR, Nashville-Franklin, TN, Baton Rouge, LA, Huntsville, AL

Posted By Mike Pegg, Google Marketing

Google Model Your Town 2012: Vote for the winner!

Google Model Your Town 2012: Vote for the winner!

April 2, 2012

Cross-posted from the SketchUp Blog

The 212 teams that participated in this year’s Google Model Your Town Competition produced thousands of models, the vast majority of which were jaw-droppingly, heart-stoppingly, mind-bogglingly gorgeous. Narrowing down the field to six finalists was a gut wrenching affair, but it had to be done. In alphabetical order, the finalist teams for 2012 are:

Evansville, Indiana, United States | Evansville’s collection of models
Modeler: Randall Crane

Getaria, Gipuzkoa, Spain | Getaria’s collection of models
Modelers: Josetxo Perez Fernandez, Pedro Domecq Aguirre

Leominster, Herefordshire, United Kingdom | Leominster’s collection of models
Modeler: Tom Harvey

Lowell, Massachusetts, United States | Lowell’s collection of models
Modeler: Beryl Reid

Toruń, Kujawsko-Pomorskie, Poland | Toruń’s collection of models
Modelers: Arkadiusz Pawlowski, Górniak Grzegorz

Zielona Góra, Lubuskie, Poland | Zielona Góra’s collection of models
Modeler: Tomasz Szular
This video provides an aerial, musical tour of each of the six finalists’ models in situ. Make some popcorn and enjoy.

It’s voting time!

It’s up to you (and the rest of the world) to pick an overall winner. We’ve created separate one-minute video tours for each town, as well as KML files that you can download to see the models in Google Earth. Peruse the entries, then vote for your favorite. You have until May 1st, 2012 to cast your ballot.

Congrats and thanks to everyone who entered—this year’s models were truly amazing.

Posted by Allyson McDuffie, Google SketchUp Team

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