A Singapore-based company called Peekspy has used Google Earth technology in an innovative way. Instead of just showing the normal Earth map or an exterior 3D building, they are instead using Google Earth technology to provide a 3D architectural walkthrough of the inside of a building. Really, its like a 3D tour guide of the interior of a building. They chose to use the new Google Earth plugin to present their building tour which lets you present 3D content in a browser window and put your own interface around the Google Earth window.
The building shown is the National University of Singapore (NUS) library and the 3D model is quite detailed with all kinds of photo textures to add realism. Click here to view the NUS library 3D Tour This application might be a bit slow on older computers (or with slow video cards) because it is 3D intensive. They “blank out” the Earth view in Google Earth and all you see is a 3D model of one level/floor of the library. Give it a moment or two to load. The first view is level 4 of the library, if you click “Level 4” on the list on the right, you’ll get a list of places you can view on that floor. Click on one and it will fly you to that part of the floor. This is using Google Earth’s built-in touring capabilities to help conduct a “walkthrough”. You can also use the Google Earth navigational controls to move around, but it can be awkward with the current setup. I think if they scaled up the building size you could use the controls to “walk around” better.
Google Earth wasn’t designed to provide 3D tours of the insides of buildings. One reason it takes a moment to load the library model is that Google Earth is still loading the background 3D terrain and imagery (even though you can’t see it). But, Peekspy has shown GE can be used for this. And, I think it works pretty well. Tools like the 3D modeling software Google SketchUp were designed to provide 3D building tours. However, I would guess there are more people familiar with Google Earth than any other 3D mainstream application. I’m always amazed at the multitude of different applications of GE technology. A real 3D tour of the inside of a building is pretty slick!
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.
Nick Stamoulis says
that is amazing, i’m sure it is probably early in its development stages but what sort of safety concerns can this type of ability have?
Oliver Oxenham says
Yes you are right. Our development stage is still quite early, and we are currently working on some interesting ideas to improve our first version of the indoor 3D model. What do you mean by safety concerns though?
Nguyen Ky says
Your tour library NUS is impressive. I am also developing a project (for my study) to make 3D building in Google earth. I really interest in how to make interior 3D building. Can you share for me the ways how to do that?
Matthew at Decoratino-Ideas.com says
Interesting feature for visualizing the interiors of buildings for people who want to pay a visit! Unfortunately it’s not yet very popular though…
Maybe when Google Sketchup will catch the swing from companies?
Interior 3D Building Tour is very interesting thing!