3D Models Proliferate for Google Earth

One thing you can expect to see a lot more of, now that Google purchased SketchUp (a popular 3D modeling package which will probably become the most popular in the world now), is a surge in the number of 3D models in Google Earth. If Google will release a new version of GE that supports texture mapping (which allows you to put photo textures onto sides of 3D models), you would have even more realistic looking models. Maybe the next release will have this. Anyway, here’s a list of just a few of the best new 3D models for GE published in the last week:

  • Mikimoto Store in Tokyo, Japan – This unique building (shown in the picture above) was modeled by ‘pivnice’ and published at his blog ZNO – I call it the Swiss Cheese building 🙂
  • Glen Canyon Dam, Arizona – Excellent model! Posted by ‘jpwade’, it really fits in well with the 3D terrain.
  • Casa Malaparte in Capri, Italy – sometimes known as the most beautiful house in the world. Posted by ‘pivnice’.
  • Blender Gets in Way – Stefan Geens at OgleEarth decides to play with SketchUp – see his post. for why this is funny.
  • Aurland Lookout – ‘pivnice’ again, a unique bridge structure in the fjords of Norway

For all the 3D models blogged here, read the 3D Models Category.

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. Please note that none of our models are built in SketchUp .. which we believe doesn’t allow the making of complex 3D’s as easily as many other CAD programmes .. as suggested at http://www.worldcadaccess.typepad.com .. “Google recognized that the ability to design and communicate in 3D is an emerging need for their users.” Yes, but did Google check whether SketchUp is the best product for that, I wonder?
    We primarily use ArchiCAD by http://www.graphisoft.com which now has its own plugin(beta)
    Sketchup does have its place .. maybe for the mass production of ‘simple’ 3D blocks, but we see there will always be a need for full ability CAD platforms. There are plug-ins now for Bentley, ArchiCAD, AutoCAD, Maya, 3DS.

  2. Please see my response to this in this new blog entry:

  3. Hi Frank!
    Well… here it comes! We have developed our own software @ Trimensions, exactly because of the same restrictions ZNO guys did in the comment they left above.
    Although we recognize the value of SketchUp, we also needed a tool to handle the complexities of our models (which are the most complex I’ve seen so far at Google Earth). SketchUp is a very nice ‘off-the-shelf’ application (so far) but we cannot forget that the advantage of Google Earth resides on the possibility to build the same building with several definitions over the same place, over and over again! Great that! This twists the axiom in Physics that says that “”Two physical objects cannot occupy the same space at the same time…”
    There’s space for everyone, I just ask myself if Google will allow and support other developments than SketchUp ones, as we’ve been put a lot of work and a lot of development hours exactly to convey people to G.E.
    Have a nice weekend!

  4. Hello Frank,
    In reference to Google Earth, SketchUp and textures; its like a calm morning on the lake, anticipating a forecasted mid-morning shift of north westerly winds. With those upcoming gusts, some of the best moments of sailing occur. I can see and feel the powerful changes Google Earth and SketchUp are about to bring into our net world and I am checking my rigging for another day of critical edge sailing.
    I have over the years been fortunate to utilize many design, graphics and modeling programs as far back as Xerox’s Star 8010 Document Processor.
    SketchUp has the most user friendly interface I have ever experienced, it makes modeling a breeze.
    Here I sit waiting for those mid-morning gusts to arrive from Google Earth and SketchUp. Those mid-morning gusts called textures.
    We are about to experience the ride of our life thanks to Google Earth and SketchUP.
    Joey P. Wade

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