Middle school students in Bluffton, South Carolina, build their town in 3D

Over the years we’ve seen a handful of schools integrate SketchUp to showcase their campus in 3D, such as Paragould and Hartford High Schools a few years ago.

The latest example comes from McCracken Middle School in Bluffton, South Caroline (hear Hilton Head Island), where they’ve modeled 14 historic locations around their town.


Six classes at H.E. McCracken Middle School in Bluffton used Google’s 3-D design program SketchUp to re-create 14 locations around Old Town this spring, drawing models of local landmarks like the Thomas Heyward House and the Bluffton Oyster Factory.

Students in the class, in its second year at H.E. McCracken, learn to use SketchUp and other Google programs, culminating in the historic-locations project. After the students learned how to draw in the program, they photographed and measured 14 of the 26 historic buildings in Bluffton during a field trip in February.

It’s awesome that they’re working on projects like this at the Middle School level, but it’s unfortunate that these models will never find their way into Google Earth. As of last October, you can no longer submit models for inclusion in Google Earth, as Google is pushing their 3D imagery instead. While I agree that 3D imagery is the future of Google Earth, I do wish they’d allow individual 3D model submissions as well.

Regardless, the students have done a great job with their project and I encourage you to read the full article on the Island Packet website.

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. It’s awesome that this kind of tech is a the fingertips of just about anyone who wants to learn.

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