25 November 2009

Google Earth in 3D

I pay pretty close attention to the latest goings-on at Google. They are the most fascinating thing going in the world of readily accessible technology. I've had the good fortune to meet a few of their development people and it's not hard to see where Google gets its unassuming brilliance.

I stay pretty active in the world that revolves around SketchUp and after you've used one Google app it's not hard to see that all of their apps dovetail into one another. SketchUp bridges the gap between Google Earth and Google Maps and all three of those apps work together in ways that still amaze me.

I was reading the Google SketchUp blog yesterday and Christian Frueh and Manish Patel posted a video that shows what they've been working on over at Google Earth. Google's goal seems to be not only to map the world but to do it in 3-D.

The video shows some of the cities in California that have been rendered in 3-D on Google Earth. It's an amazing video and the technology behind those images is even more amazing.

Buildings get built in SketchUp then have facades applied to them using images that come from Google Maps' Street View. Then they get positioned and uploaded to Google Earth for the world to see. Then I think about it a little more and realize that every one of those apps and all of that imagery and all of that technology is available to anyone anywhere in the world for free. I hate to sound like I've been drinking the Kool-Aid, but thanks Google!

Google Earth
Google Maps
Google SketchUp


  1. This comment has been removed by the author.

  2. NaviCAD might be of interest to you.

    Disclaimer: I'm one of the developers :-)

  3. I love the Google-flavored Kool-Aid for sure. This technology is just mind boggling. It was wonderful seeing so many places that I recognized especially in San Francisco where I've most recently spent time. I did wonder what Stockton was doing in there though. Not that I have anything against Stockton... Tho if Google could add a 'scratch n sniff' component --well then maybe I would.

  4. Dr. Chuck: Ordinarily, I delete unsolicited links to someone's venture but in your case I'm going to make a big fat exception. Holy cow! SketchUp models in my iPhone?! This is better than Christmas, thank you!

    Manhattan is also done in same way as San Francisco and the other CA cities now too. I was swooping over Central Park last night and got all nostalgic when I saw what had been done to the city surrounding it. I think the worship of Manhattan is an east coast US thing. I keep wondering what's next from them.

  5. Oh! And Dr. Chuck, feel free to write to me privately. I'd love to hear more about NaviCAD.


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