New 3D Imagery in Detroit, Salt Lake City, and likely other cities

While nothing has been announced by Google yet, it appears there was recently some fresh 3D Imagery released.  Salt Lake City, Utah and Detroit, Michigan are fresh, and it’s quite likely that there are more cities in this release that we’re unaware of for now.


In general, the 3D Imagery is looking a bit better with each update, and this is no exception.  Buildings are sharper and streets are smoother.

However, there are still same crazy artifacts that show up in the middle of streets that are difficult to justify.  More than three years ago Google started using Street View imagery to show amazing lifelike facades on 3D buildings, and I expect they’ll do something similar with the 3D imagery.  Having the Street View and navigation data at their disposal makes scenes like this unacceptable:


Of course, it’s easy to say “just combine 3D imagery and street view”, and it’s a whole other battle to be able to pull it off.  However, if they can get the two of them to come together nicely it could be an amazing combination.

So far we’ve only found Detroit and Salt Lake City in this update, but if you notice other new cities please leave a comment and let us know.

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. Canberra, Australia has 3D imagery now. I think this is pretty recent if not new in this release.

  2. Anton Rudolfsson says:

    Brasilia in Brazil has new 3D-imagery!

  3. About the artefacts, I suspect these are stereoscopy matching problems from shots at different angles. They only occur in shadowy regions. Have a look at the center of Berne, the captial city of Switzerland. It’s quite apparent there.

  4. A welcome consequence of additional 3D imagery is a marked improvement in resolution of the default vertical view (with 3D switched off in GE if necessary), well illustrated in Detroit. However, Maps still seems to have the edge in clarity, and definitely provides more stable Street View … but why?

  5. If and when they ever get around to doing East Lansing, Michigan in 3D, they may have fun with the Broad Art Museum. It looks like an artifact n real life.

  6. CARACAS??????????????

  7. Instead of starting this transition in some of the larger cities that already had good “legacy” 3-D images, I wish they’d started in the medium-sized ones that had spotty 3-D, and used them to get the bugs out before attempting the larger ones. Even with the “artifacts”, the smaller cities can benefit from the effort, and be the testing ground for later roll-outs.

  8. Have a look at the “Laupenstrasse”. This is close to where I work. In the shadowy regions (only) are much of artefacts. Some of them outgh to be trees, admitted, but not all of them.

    Here is the place in google maps:!q=Laupenstrasse+1%2C+Bern%2C+Switzerland
    (Don’t know how to easily share a KMZ for Google Earth)

  9. David Cook says:

    Lynchburg, VA

  10. Malmo, Sweden

  11. Lyon, France

  12. It looks like Cincinnati, Ohio has 3D imagery as well, and the covered a surprising amount of the surrounding suburbs.

  13. I discovered this new GoogleEarth 3D mode about 3 weeks ago, when is was looking for an itinerary at Angers, a medium-small city in France.
    After that, I noticed this 3D mode was already available in some big cities like Rome and New York, but not for Paris, for example, where the older 3D mode is still used (“SketchUp” style – so nicer and with more details, but much slower, less realistic and covering only the main buildings of the city)
    Even if some errors can be detected, the global result is very nice and the visualization speed is amazing.

  14. archangelmichael2 says:

    Has Google given up on street view as they hardly ever update anymore.

  15. + Perth (Australia), Sassari and Oristano (Italy)

  16. I’ve noticed that the Detroit 3D images even cover my street (and I live about 12 miles south of Campus Martius). I just noticed that a few weeks ago when I turned the 3D layer on during an unrelated preview (or was it?).

  17. Paris, France has new 3D photogrammetry imagery.

  18. Versailles, France has new 3d photogrammetry as well!

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