Using SketchUp to model interiors

3D models in Google Earth have been getting better and better every week, but one key area always remains unfinished — the inside. Modeler ‘PeterG’ has finished modeling the inside of the Leku Chillida Museum and it looks amazing!


The building has just been updated in the main “3D Buildings” layer, and you can fly to it using this KML file.
Here is a quick video tour that he created to show it all off:

This is only possible because of an often-overlooked feature in Google Earth 5.2 — improved camera clipping. Prior to 5.2, you couldn’t zoom in very close to an object or it would disappear from view, so trying to browse around an interior like this would have been virtually impossible. Now with the improved clipping, it works great!
It’s even better when you browse around outside. Nearby buildings are accurately rendered, along with trees, bushes, benches and all kinds of items. It gives the whole area an amazingly realistic feel.

His blog (written in Spanish) can be found at
Great work!
UPDATE: For those of you having trouble navigating inside the building, Peter has built this KMZ tour
, which should be helpful for you.

About Mickey Mellen

Mickey has been using Google Earth since it was released in 2005, and has created a variety of geo-related sites including Google Earth Hacks. He runs a web design firm in Marietta, GA, where he lives with his wife and two kids.


  1. Ernst M. Kofler says:

    The reason why the interior of most buildings is missing is that Google removed the interior of buildings which show up on Earth due to 3D performance issues of graphics cards. Each polygon has to be rendered for every single frame change, quite independent of whether it is visible or not. That’s why the Google data reduction of Sketchup objects in the 3D Warehouse is crucial, and furthermore, it works excellent. Without that technology, cities would simply block your machine.
    I’m not sure but I think Frank sometime wrote about this topic.

  2. Will (from the UK) says:

    The area surrounding this model has exceptionally detailed terrain. Check out the road, quarry and coast line in the immediate area. It’s way above anything I have seen in GE before.
    [Not for publication]—Please don’t publish my surname – publicity shy!—[/Not for publication]

  3. excellent models.
    There are other buildings which have interiors, look for 3dwarehouse collections called ‘interiors’.
    Two of my favourites in GE are the Ellicot Square Building, Buffalo, NY and the bath house Stadtische Beteiligungs, Zittau, Germany which even has virtual bathers!
    There has been hi-res (30cm?) terrain around Donostia (San Sebastian) and some other places for a year or so now.

  4. Google Sketch is really quick to create a 3d model must say.

  5. I had no idea you could do this.

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