3D Updates in Google Earth

A few weeks ago we created a KML of all the known areas covered by the automatically generated 3D mesh that Google is rolling out in Google Earth, and followed that up with some fun with the stats of the areas covered. Since then, we have been receiving regular finds from GEB readers. Last weekend was a particularly large batch with around 40 new areas. Our readers reported that at least two of the areas, La Rochelle and Clermont–Ferrand both in France, were available previously but had been temporarily removed.

So, given all this new eye candy, lets have a look at one of the locations and see what can be seen. We picked Bergen, Norway. The new 3D imagery generation depends on taking pictures from different angles and using that to automatically generate the 3D structure. This means that moving objects cannot be captured. It seems to do particularly badly with water, as the water is constantly moving and has a changing texture. However, cruise ships docked in harbor seem to be stable enough for fairly good imagery. We were able to quickly identify two of them because their names are actually just legible – something we were never able to see on ordinary overhead imagery. There is a third cruise ship in harbor that we were not able to identify so easily.

Richard With
The cruise ship Richard With.

The cruise ship AIDAcara.

Prior to the 3D mesh update, there was a 3D model of another ship the Costa Medterranea made by LadZ who has made quite a number of ship models that you can see in the SketchUp 3D Warehouse.

Costa Medterranea
The cruise ship Costa Medterranea.

Back in 2005, we pointed you to a network linked KML showing the current locations of all Costa Cruise ships and amazingly, it still works! However, we found that if you leave it running for a while it can crash Google Earth. You can use it to find the location of the Costa Medterranea above. We also showed you in 2009, an excellent site Marine Traffic that shows the current positions of nearly 70,000 ships, including locations of Richard With and AIDAcara.

And for cruise ship enthusiasts out there, at least two more are visible from Street View.

Recently found locations with 3D imagery are:

Belgium: Antwerp
Denmark: Esbjerg
France: Ajaccio, Auxerre, Montpellier, Montauban, Carcassonne, Strasbourg, Bordeaux, Clermont-Ferrand, Albi, Roanne, Tarbes, Vannes, Laval, Gujan-Mestras, La Rochelle, Quimper, La Roche-sur-Yon, Cholet
Germany: Stuttgart, Schweinfurt
Greece: Argostolion
Ireland: Dublin
Italy: Milan, Piacenza, Pavia, Syracuse, Parma.
New Zealand: Auckland
Norway: Stavanger, Bergen, Brevik / Eikstrand / Porsgrunn / Skien, Lillehammer
Spain: Cuenca, Jerez
Sweden: Norrköping, Växjö, Karlstad
USA: Oklahoma City(OK), Memphis (TN), Expansion to New York, Alexandria (LA)

And a big thank you to all contributors so far:
GEB readers ΜaNos ΠαΝ. ΠαπαΝικοΛάου, David Timpe, ehog, bubollofo, Jonah, Anxo, Uri, alfski, Rogério Coelho, jebster, Anton Rudolfsson, CB, Sebastien, Chris, ChrisAjayi, Frank, Ryan, Wikipedia editors.

About Timothy Whitehead

Timothy has been using Google Earth since 2004 when it was still called Keyhole before it was renamed Google Earth in 2005 and has been a huge fan ever since. He is a programmer working for Red Wing Aerobatx and lives in Cape Town, South Africa.

PLEASE NOTE: Google Earth Blog is no longer writing regular posts. As a result, we are not accepting new comments or questions about Google Earth. If you have a question, use the official Google Earth and Maps Forums or the Google Earth Community Forums.


  1. This new feature of Google Earth is simply amazing!!!
    I saw it in late 2013 because my hometown was one of the first “3D city” in GE.
    However, why don’t you give the possibility to turn off this option? In older computers it is almost impossible to use GE when you surf over a 3D city.

    • Timothy Whitehead says

      You can either turn off all 3D buildings by deselecting the 3D buildings layer (bottom left under ‘layers’), or you can go to ‘Tools->Options’ and deselect ‘Use 3D imagery (disable to use legacy 3D buildings)’ which turns off the new type of 3D but not the older type. Also switching to ‘Historical Imagery’ turns off the new 3D and activates the legacy 3D.

  2. Imagery UPDATE in Buenos Aires, Argentina (Ciudadela, Tres de Febrero, Buenos Aires Province) my place just in my birthday!! Thank u Google

  3. Wow

    i like this shit bro

  4. Thanks for this further helpful guide to 3D imagery – the intricate and very ‘three dimensional’ landscape of Bergen shows such imagery at its best.

    Google Earth has always been a great source for ‘snap shot’ information about ports of all sizes and the shipping in them, even barge traffic on inland waterways. Whilst the 3D images add to the picture, you still need the snap shot vertical imagery to see shipping on the move or cargo being handled, and of course all the workaday ports that are never going to get 3D imagery.

    The MS Richard Wild in the first screen grab is one of the robust Hurtigruten line ships which provide a daily service from Bergen northward to dozens of remote coastal communities stretching to the North Cape of Norway and beyond, more a long distance ferry than a cruise ship -10 days for the whole route – but many passengers make voyages as cruises. More of these ships can be found on GE, with info on the Richard With here

    • Correction – MS Richard Wild should of course be MS Richard With.

      The midsummer voyage of a sister ship MS Nordnorge was the subject of a remarkable 10 day real time TV programme – Hurtigruten Minutt for Minutt (in Norwegain) – in 2011 – one for lovers of ships and fantastic coastal scenery – viewable in a 37 minute time lapse version on YouTube
      and the original entire programme can still be streamed from here
      but unfortunately the Google map index to the sections of the voyage is no longer supported by the Maps API, although you can relocate by shifting the programme time slider in full screen view.

  5. Quimper, France and Schweinfurt, Germany have been added (per Wikipedia). Do you want new additions listed here or under the old post?

    • Timothy Whitehead says

      They are in the list in the post above, I found them on Saturday.
      I read all comments on any post, but it will be easier to keep track if new additions are put on the original post, thanks.

  6. Hi Timothy!, I’ve found that a big area around Rome has been added. Includes Castel Gandolfo, Albano Laziale, Monterotondo, Tivoli, Frascati, etc…


  7. What Denmark concerns: Esbjerg is only added by some buildings. The same for Sonderborg, Kolding, Odense, Roskilde, Helsingor (Elsinore), Ringsted, Aarhus, Randers, Aalborg, Faaborg and Viborg.

  8. Berlin, Germany too

  9. Sofia (Bulgaria)
    Nuuk (Greenland)
    Edinburgh, Glasgow (Scotland)
    Liverpool, Manchester, Portsmouth, Southampton (England)
    Cologne, Dusseldorf, Duisburg, Wuppertal, Dortmund, Hamburg, Dresden, Chemnitz, Ingolstadt, Nuremberg (Germany)
    Vienna (austria)
    Bratislava (Slovakia)
    Prague, Brno, Olomouc (Czech Republic)
    Warsaw, Wroclaw, Kattowice, Lodz, Gdansk, Lublin, Birkenau and Majdanek Extermination Camps (Poland)
    Several towns in Russia, Belarus, Estonia, Latvia, Lithuania, Ukraine

    • I can’t see any of them in 3D-mesh, please notice, this thread is about the new automatically generated 3D-mesh, not about the single 3D buildings. Anyway, hope to see Berlin in 3D-mesh soon! Cheers.

PLEASE NOTE: Google Earth Blog is no longer writing regular posts. As a result, we are not accepting new comments or questions about Google Earth. If you have a question, use the official Google Earth and Maps Forums or the Google Earth Community Forums.