Google Earth 4 – Textured 3D models, New SketchUp for Mac and Windows

Google Geo Developer DayYesterday, Google announced fantastic support for 3D models in the new Google Earth V4 (beta). The 3D models for Google Earth will take on much greater realism now thanks to new support of textures. This means you can put color photos, patterns, even paintings onto the surface of polygons for 3D models. Models of buildings, people, landscapes, etc. will take on much greater realism without the necessity of complex 3D data which would otherwise take up a great deal of memory. This unleashes the full power of the free Google SketchUp modeling program.
In addition, Google announced new versions of Google SketchUp for both Windows and the Mac OSX. Mac OSX support is new for SketchUp. Not only is the free version available for the Mac, but also SketchUp Pro 5 is also available for the Mac.
The Google 3D Warehouseis already being populated with 3D models supporting textures. Look for models with textures which are marked as downloadable by Google Earth V4. You can search for “San Francisco” to see a bunch of examples.
The free Google SketchUp provides a simple mechanism for first importing a screenshot of the satellite/aerial photos for the location where you want to place your 3D models. And then, after you place your 3D model where you want it, you can easily export the model back to Google Earth. It’s amazingly simple!

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. oakgrove45 says:

    Will new Google Earth V4 (beta) be provided as an update for Google Earth Pro & when??

  2. If there’s one thing that Google Earth desperately needs, it’s better (and ideally customizable) keyboard shortcuts.
    Personally I’d like to be able to hit one key to toggle the road layer on and off; another to toggle the community layer on and off; others to change the elevation exaggeration without going through the tools menu; others to change the tour speed, and so on.
    This ought to be simple enough to add. I was hoping they would have added it to this version, but as far as I can tell they haven’t.

  3. For a mac user who’s been turned onto architecture, mainly by Cameron Sinclair’s (google him) work, and looked enviously at Sketchup, this is a godsend. I no longer need to rush out and buy a PC too play with Sketchup.

  4. David Crouse says:

    With the new ability to use textures in SketchUp, and export them to GE, you can use an image as the texture and then paint a 3D object with it! Now you can not only take a picture and geo-refrence it, you can paint it on a 3D representation of the target in the picture and place it in GE! Very cool. I only played with it for about 5 min. Its not perfect but I think that it can work (and maybe be inproved on as an added feature.)

  5. what if you download the 3d models from GE where are the textures located? they are not stored in the dae file they are refrenced right? so i guess google has a /images folder buried someplace…? any ideas?

  6. Kaleb Lewis says:

    Can’t people use Google Earth 4 on Windows or Mac?

  7. anonimus says:

    On my site will be free models for some time models
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  8. Organized content is the best way to display or post an article, thank you for making it easy to digest your post.

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