Google has made a major upgrade to their 3D Warehouse Network Link which lets you view 3D models from the 3D Warehouse in Google Earth. After clicking on the link above, you can save the link to your My Places inside Google Earth to keep it handy. It won’t take much space when turned off. The previous version of this network link forced you to wait a moment before seeing the available models. This new version uses KML regioning and the placemarks appear and disappear as you zoom in and out very smoothly. Each placemark can be clicked on to view a screenshot of the model, its popularity rating, links to download the model in GE, view more details at the 3D Warehouse, and a link to review the model yourself.
I really like the improvements to this new network link. One thing you’ll notice is that a few people have randomly placed models out in the oceans. So, there’s a bit of “graffiti” – but, some are kind of interesting or amusing. But, for the most part the 3D Warehouse file can be handy to either see different renderings of the same building, or buildings that haven’t been added to the GE 3D Buildings layer yet. An example location is the “Guggenheim Museum in Bilbao ” – a building designed by Frank Gehry (see recent post on Gehry). There are several nice models of the Bilbao Guggenheim in the 3D Warehouse, but none has been chosen for the GE 3D Buildings layer yet.
A little footnote: The 3D Warehouse network link shown here only shows models which have been “placed” in Google Earth. There are many more models in the 3D Warehouse than just buildings or bridges which can be seen in Google Earth. Components for engine parts, consumer products, planets, and practically anything you can imagine which could be 3D are in the Warehouse. Most of them don’t really belong in Google Earth. At least at the moment.