Huge Update to Berlin’s 3D Building Collection for Google Earth

Back in March of 2007, the City of Berlin released a huge collection of 44,000 3D building models for their city (see a video demonstration of the city then). Now, two years later, they’ve released the other 90% apparently. According to their web site (German – the English page hasn’t been updated with the new information), they now have 500,000 building models (look for the link in the top center for the KMZ file to load the models). Not only that, they also have more accurate photo textures on the sides of buildings taken from aerial photos. Details on this were brought to my attention by GEB reader Stefan Höffken who posted about the new models on his blog (in German).
Here is a screenshot comparison Stefan sent to me showing the same seen from the previous release and the new one now available:

Berlin in 3D comparison 2007 to 2009 in Google Earth

My laptop is on a flaky Internet connection at the moment, so I’m not able to verify how well the 3D models load. I imagine this many models could use up quite a bit of memory and bandwidth though. I’ll provide an update on how fast it is when I get a better connection. Also, since they’ve just released the new update, I imagine their servers will be running hard for the next few days as people go to have a look.

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. smokeonit says:

    i love that berlin did release the 3D data, but it was always slow, i never got a really snappy connection which loaded ALL the buildings in my line of sight…
    my macbook pro, 2GB RAM and 512MB GFX card should be totally ok for this…

  2. Two years ago, Berlin was the first city in Germany to make available a photorealistic, three dimensional model on the internet via Google Earth. Gradually, the model was linked to databases reflecting the city as a business metropolis. As a result, the locations of the music industry can now be viewed, for example. Or, because of the real estate database kept by the Business Location Center having been integrated, Google Earth users will now find exposés for those commercial properties that are available for sale or rent in the city.
    Presenting geodata in 3-D is a megatrend on the web that this re-launch of the 3-D virtual city model has picked up. And here as well, Berlin is a trailblazer since it is the first city that can be searched and explored on Google Earth in practically all of its aspects. In order to create the model, aerial photographs were taken of approximately 500,000 buildings located on the 890 km2 of the city’s area while their roofs were scanned and measured using laser technology. In addition, around 80 tourist attractions were modeled in detail. Five Berlin landmarks (the Olympic Stadium, Sony Center, the Reichstag Building, DZ-Bank and the Hauptbahnhof train station) can even be explored from the inside.
    This model is neither a commercial model nor based on commercially available three-dimensional models. Rather 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.
    The english side was updated:
    A small video about the modell:

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