Berlin in 3D Released for Google Earth

[UPDATE 1800 ET: Mac OSX version works now too! See video below provided by the publishers of the collection.]
Berlin 3D buildings in Google EarthSeveral German readers have sent me E-mail this morning alerting me to the release of 44,000 buildings of Berlin (about 10% of the buildings in Berlin) for Google Earth. Not only that, but five of the buildings are available in the “highest resolution” with even interior details including the Reichstag Building (seat of the German Parliament), and the Olympic Stadium. The models were made possible with help by Hasso Plattner Institute in Potsdam and a spin-off called 3D Geo GmbH. It was developed by the State of Berlin through the Senate Department of Urban Development, the Senate Department for Economics, Technology, and Women’s Affairs, and Berlin Partner GmbH.
To download the collection (not yet part of the Google Earth layers), use this link (English) or this link (German). These models are not yet part of the Google Earth layers, you have to download them through these links published by the State of Berlin.

At first glance, I’m really impressed with this collection. They have done a good job of balancing performance with complexity. Buildings that are further away automatically disappear (so they don’t use too much memory, and so you see more detail when you are closer to the buildings). Although, this is annoying if you want to take a screenshot of the skyline. You might need a relatively recent computer with a relatively new 3D video card (preferably one with a lot of memory for textures). Because some of you won’t have a fast enough computer, I will do a video demonstration later. [UPDATE: there’s a WMV video (Windows Media Player required) available here by the developers which shows off some of the buildings.]
There may be problems reaching the models today since it was just released and there will be high demand for this large collection of 3D models. More details on the release are available from here. Also here is a Spiegel Online article (in German). Thanks to GEB readers Frederic, Mathias, and Manuel for being the first (all within 30 minutes) of telling me about the new collection.

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.

PLEASE NOTE: Google Earth Blog is no longer writing regular posts. As a result, we are not accepting new comments or questions about Google Earth. If you have a question, use the official Google Earth and Maps Forums or the Google Earth Community Forums.


  1. Doesn’t work on a mac: file not found 8-(

  2. smokeonit says

    looks like the NASA “blue marble” problem…. why is it that for projects this important there’s no quality control using a mac??? i don’t get it… first i thought it’s the network that is overwhelmed… until i read your post that it’s AGAIN the .kmz file that is not cut out for osX, major bummer… i emailed the contact people for the berlin 3D project, let’s see what comes out of it…

  3. smokeonit says

    i just got an email back from the government section of the project. the person wrote that they now know about the problem with osX and he will email me when it’s fixed.

  4. Christian Meixner says

    You can view some Buildings even from the inside if you zoom close enough. For example the “Reichstags Building”. At the big train station near by (52.524836,13.369185) you can even see trains and people in it.
    Now I’m really sad, that I don’t have a Space Navigator to fly though. But the scenery is reale impressive.
    May be you can make one of your famouse videos of it?

  5. i think its a problem with the user-agent string on mac. the webserver seems to ignore user-agents that do not match “kh_lt/LTxxxx” (GE Win version)…figured out using wget -U. reported to the project leader…he will post it right here when its done.

  6. for mac users – i think its done. tested on mac osx 10.4.8, GE version 4.0.2736. amazing!

  7. smokeonit says

    thnx lame for the update;-)
    that was fast, as i said earlier, it took NASA over a month to fix their mac problem with the blue marble kmz file….

  8. Senate Department for Economics, Technology and Women´s Issues says

    Good Morning, the MAC problem should be fixed by now. Hope everything runs well!

  9. Good job. Awesome !!!
    But why all buildings are positioned at the air, not attached the ground.

  10. christian says

    you need to turn on your “terrain”, that will place the buildings on the ground. you prob also want to increase your cache…
    Note: i am using an I-mac, 256vram, 2gb ram, 2.16ghz, i had to increase my disk cache to 2000, and my ram cache to 1000 for berlin to load and run compleatly. it took like 30 min for it all to load.
    it feals like viewing a .mov file during the 32k days at times…

  11. Hello developers!
    We are Russian pupils who make an project about Germany, Berlin and we need video tour in this city but link in you text are broken (( Have you any another link to this video? )

  12. Berlin Partner GmbH says
  13. hey man, have you noticed that berlin3d no longer works?

  14. Virtual Flights Over Berlin Now Twice as Impressive
    From today, the virtual model of Berlin available online at will contain more than 1,200 particularly significant buildings complete with photos and their original façade – in other words, twice as many as before. The buildings newly rendered with their actual facades include the research establishments and institutes at Adlershof Science and Business Park (Fraunhofer FIRST, German Aerospace Center, etc.), large parts of the Kurfürstendamm, Gendarmenmarkt, Molkemarkt and the Nikolaiviertel.
    The three-dimensional model of the Berlin Congress Center on Alexanderplatz is the first based on an exterior not taken from the official model of the German capital city. As such the virtual model could now grow even further with support from private data providers.
    Berlin is the first city recreated as a realistic large-scale three-dimensional model that Internet users can explore with the aid of Google Earth. The model, online since March 8, depicts more than 44,000 buildings in the western and eastern parts of central Berlin as well as the WISTA science and business park in Adlershof, enabling virtual flights over Berlin from any computer. Five buildings can even be “visited” and viewed from the inside. The digital model has proved extremely popular: Nearly half a million online visitors were recorded in the first four weeks alone. The 3D city model pages are currently visited by about 4,000 users a day, more than half of them from abroad (source countries in order of relative frequency: USA, Switzerland, Austria, Brazil, Holland, France, Poland, Sweden, Italy, UK and Japan).
    In order to give a realistic impression of the cityscape of Berlin, some 800 facades across the city were photographed and the remaining building models textured – that is, given a façade – at random using these photos. The roofs were rendered from aerial photographs. As such, it may not be a perfect representation of the city of Berlin, but the resulting virtual image conveys an amazingly close and realistic impression of the city’s streets and even entire quarters.

  15. Can they remove that stupid holocaust memorial. Ugh.

PLEASE NOTE: Google Earth Blog is no longer writing regular posts. As a result, we are not accepting new comments or questions about Google Earth. If you have a question, use the official Google Earth and Maps Forums or the Google Earth Community Forums.