New 3D Cities Roundup for Google Earth – December 2008

EarthSwoop of 3D Cities in Google Earth

Earlier this month, I was so excited when I discovered that Google had released the huge update to show New York City in 3D – that I never reported on some other significant new additions to the 3D cities in Google Earth. There were some other notable additions made on or around December 17th to the Google Earth 3D Buildings layer. Some of the biggest additions were non-textured “gray” buildings. You can view the locations of the new 3D cities in this EarthSwoop collection, but you’ll need to follow the “View in Google Earth” links for those cities with “gray” buildings because that layer is only visible inside Google Earth.

  • New York City – nearly complete rendition of photo-realistic buildings. Thousands of buildings.

  • Portland, Oregon – One of the first cities with “gray” non-textured buildings in GE. Now with photo-realistic textured buildings.

  • Paris, France – Added by CyberCity 3D, gray non-textured buildings for Paris. These are detailed architectural models even if they don’t have textures. Hopefully photo textures will be coming soon.

  • LA Area Updates – CyberCity 3D also submitted “gray” buildings for a number of new beach cities in the Los Angeles area. Included are El Segundo and Long Beach.

  • Sacremento, California – New detailed non-textured “gray” buildings fill in some gaps where there already many detailed photo-textured buildings. Again by Cyber City 3D

  • Honolulu, Hawaii – Cyber City 3D added many “gray” non-textured buildings for Honolulu.

  • Santa Monica, Ca – Mixture of new photo-realistic and non-textured buildings.

Here’s the current list of other cities with substantial 3D buildings in Google Earth: The current list I have for other cities where Google has a substantial portion of the city modeled in photo-realistic 3D buildings: US: Atlanta, Austin, Baltimore, Boston, Charlotte, Chicago, Clearwater, Dallas, Indianapolis, Jacksonville, Kansas City, Los Angeles, Memphis, Miami, Miami Beach, Minneapolis, Nashville, Oakland, Orlando, Philadelphia, Phoenix, Pittsburgh, Raleigh, Sacremento, San Diego, San Francisco, Seattle, St. Louis, St. Petersburg and Tampa. Also, Zurich, Munich and Hamburg in Europe, Toronto and Vancouver in Canada, and Warsaw, Prague and Oslo

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. I have noticed that most of the Canary Islands, Spain have now got 3D “grey” buildings. For example the island of Lanzarote has all the the islands buildings, with reasonable accuracy.
    Pity it is not possible to download these buildings into Google SketchUp. Do you know if it is planned to allow this in the future, as it would be a very useful feature for architects and builders for example.

  2. In response to JDH’s question, CyberCity 3D is currently offering all of its “gray” building content to architects, planners, etc. in Google Sketchup format. Check out for more information or send your e-mail inquiries to

  3. Paris modeling is a great job. But terrain relief datas in Paris are very poor, so when terrain turning on buildings looks buried up to the 4th floor.
    Like that :


  5. rotterdam in the netherlands in also added in gray buildings. Over 200K buildings

  6. How about DT Houston in 3D. We are the 4th largest city in the US. Austin and Dallas should have been after my fair city. What is with that?

  7. phillip youngman says

    It is spelled: Sacramento!
    Cheers, Phillip

  8. i want see this city:Conselheiro Pena,MG-Brazil.i just can see a blurred green there any new fhotos from sattelite?thanks a lot.

  9. John K Barkley says

    What has happened to the “East Coast” of poor old Ireland, nearly all low quality photos ~~ No updates have happened in the last 4 years. I live on the coast in Co. Wicklow and even the road details shown in the area have many mistakes with roads left out which have been there for over 12 years.

  10. Peter Bergstrom says

    How come in the latest Google Earth Newsletter they say there is new imagery, in specific ‘Johannesburg, South Africa’ but I’ve just checked and there is no indication of the new ‘Gautrain Rapidrail’ project under construction. I live in Johannesburg and worked on the documentation for the project. Surely, seeings that the 2010 Soccer World Cup is in South Africa, more up to date imagery should be provided of that specific region to better inform the rest of the world who wish to come to the World Cup.
    Who is in charge of updating the imagery, and who should I speak to?

  11. In 2008 Amsterdam was already available in 3D grey buildings and quite a lot in photorealistic models. But the grey buildings were still very simple, most were very square with flat roofs, a shed next to a 16m high building was also 16m high… Currently there has been a lot of improvement, for example the house I live in has a saddle roof with a chimney, most buildings south of river Y have similar accurate detail. Too bad it’s still not possible to download grey buildings to paste pictures on the surface…

  12. Why was Houston not listed among the cities chosen to be pictured in 3d….What was your reasoning?

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.