Trimensions 3D Photogrammetry in Google Earth

3D Building Photogrammetry in Google EarthA company in France called Trimensions has developed a technique using photogrammetry to convert photos of buildings into highly detailed 3D models and, of course, can convert them into Google Earth models. They recently posted an example at the Google Earth Community (GEC). You can see their example (730 Kbytes), which is a 3D Building called Quartier de La Madeleine in Paris, France. The model has an amazing degree of detail showing all windows, ledges, and even railing on a balcony. You can also compare it to the satellite photo of the building underneath the model. Trimensions does not provide any details on their technique at either their web site or in the post. But, they do have some pictures of other buildings there.
GEB has previously shown examples of highly detailed 3D buildings here and here by Dr. Andrew Hudson-Smith at his blog Digitally Distributed Environments. Andrew has already published a number of buildings in London, England. Perhaps he inspired these guys at Trimension? Anyway, it’s nice to see these really cool 3D building models!

About Frank Taylor

Frank Taylor started the Google Earth Blog in July, 2005 shortly after Google Earth was first released. He has worked with 3D computer graphics and VR for many years and was very impressed with this exciting product. Frank completed a 5.5 year circumnavigation of the earth by sailboat in June 2015 which you can read about at Tahina Expedition, and is a licensed pilot, backpacker, diver, and photographer.


  1. time for some quake in ‘real’ mode

  2. It is very detailed indeed.
    But after doing 3d modelling for years now, I have my doubts that this is the outcome of an automated photogrammetric process.
    It may be based on photogrammetry, but there must have been handwork involved. Just look at the accurate downpipes in the court or at the perfectly aligning lines.
    If they posted the whole Paris Opera building in that detail level, I would have been convinced 😉

  3. From what I can read of the website, they start with a 3D model and later map the photograph to the model, then they can incorporate it into Google Earth.
    Not to take away anything from the nice results, It’s still a very nice model, but the level of detail seems to be simply unavailable compared to the 3D wireframe model they start with.
    From the website:
    3D-representation involving an integrated set of techniques, to allow full use of information obtained through metric photography and emulated analytically on computer.
    Plans, sections, elevations and isometrics are reliably executed with highly technical instruments such as : metric camera, theodolite, photogrammetric computing program and CAD software.
    Execution is performed to the exact required scale. The degree of definition can optionally be refined, particularly for surface textures, allowing precise reading of the materials used. This is a feature exclusive to TRIMENSIONS, and is not found on any other system currently in use.

  4. My roommate is an architect and from what I can tell, the model was built by hand using 3D modelling software like Sketchup and then a picture was later mapped to the model. I really doubt that photogrammetry was used to convert photos of buildings into highly detailed 3D models, if I am wrong, than this truly is revolutionary!

  5. Patrick Huff says:

    My partner and I work in photogrammetry using Vexcel’s FotoG software. We are very skilled at creating math models of buildings among other things using digital images. FOllowing the purchase of Vexcel by Microsoft we have found ourselves on the outside looking in and are looking for other opportunities.

  6. Is there any replacement to FotoG?
    I need to calculate topo maps from 1mx 1m to 50m x 50m. I’m using FotoG but the software is no longer supported since Micro$oft purchased the Vexcel company.

  7. I am very thankful to you for posting such posts, since I am doing research on photogrammetry and remote sensing.Thanks for sharing
    Photogrammetry&Lidar mapping

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