Google Announces Two New 3D Cities

Yesterday Google announced some new 3D city content on their LatLong blog. While there are a few nice buildings and other structures in each of these two new cities, they are not complete cities like the ones Google has been doing for some cities in the US. These were actually 3D projects done by representatives of the cities themselves and include just a few notable structures and attractions. What Google is pointing out, is that by contributing 3D content you can help raise the profile of your city from flat aerial/satellite imagery to 3D realism. Google’s post also includes details on how to submit your own 3D content. The two new cities announced are Lucerne, Switzerland and Santa Rosa, California.

Lucerne, Switzerland in 3D in Google Earth

Now that Google Earth 5 has been released, I think announcements like this should also include a fly-by demonstration to show off the new 3D content using the new “Record Tour” feature. Something with music and narration would be really nice, but even just a quick perusal of some of the new content would be helpful.

Here is a short 3D tour I’ve put together with GE 5 showing some of the 3D content in the two new cities of Lucerne and Santa Rosa. After the file loads, double-click “Play Tour” to start the tour. I used a SpaceNavigator to do the flying – which the Record Tour mode captures very nicely. I’m thinking a lot of people have difficulty flying around to look at the details in 3D buildings. Maybe tours like this will help people see why these 3D cities can be so interesting. Learning to use the 3D navigation in GE can really help as well.

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. Grenouille says:

    Since 3 month, Paris is a burried city.
    All the new 3d buildings (non textured but beautifuly modelised though) are buried to the 4th floor when the terrain layer is on, and floating 50 meters from the ground when off.

  2. Is it just me or are there very few models in Lucerne, and many of them have incomplete texturing? Also a lot of the textures in Santa Rosa are solid colors, and not actual photo textures. There are more towns around GE that have been made by volunteers and not Google that are much more complete. Warsaw, Paris and Antwerp to name a few.

  3. @Grenouille: Check your GE Options for “Elevation Exaggeration”. It should be set to 1.0

  4. rikhia, Jharkhand, India has not been updated in terms of the satellite image from google, since last 2-3 years
    The image of rikhia shows it being 1 year old, but its actually 3 years old
    IS there any way of contacting google & asking them to update the image

  5. The first thing I noticed was that some of the roads float well above the city in Lucerne. And yes, I have terrain switched on, and vertical exaggeration set to 1!

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