Building Maker: A new way to create 3D models for Google Earth

From large cities like New York and Tokyo, to small towns like Madison, NJ
and Dursley, England, a growing number of places around the world have become
explorable in 3D with Google Earth. Google is working towards an ambitious goal to display 3D models of all the world’s buildings in Google Earth and they know
that in order to accomplish this, keep the buildings up to date, and make them
relevant, they need to make the modeling process as open and inclusive as

They recently launched Google Building Maker, a new way to create geo-located
3D models of buildings for Google Earth. Building Maker is a tool designed to
make it possible for anyone with a web-browser to make high quality,
photo-textured 3D models. In many ways, Building Maker is like a very large,
and very smart, collection of building blocks – if you can assemble the blocks
to match the shape of your favorite building, you’ll be able to use the

Here’s how it works.  First, open your browser and go to Building Maker; make sure you’ve
installed the latest version of Google
Earth on your computer and that your browser supports the Google Earth
plug-in.  Next, choose a building from one of the fifty
cities and towns where modeling is currently possible.  Even if you choose a
building that has already been modeled, you can use Building Maker to produce a
higher quality model that could replace the current one in Google Earth. 
Building Maker provides you with images taken from a variety of different aerial
angles; you just select the ‘smart blocks’ that are the best fit and match the
blocks to the images.  Once you’ve matched the blocks to the objects in the
imagery, Building Maker will generate a photo-textured 3D model of your building
for Google Earth.  If you’re happy with your model, you can save your work
online in the Google 3D
Warehouse and have it reviewed for use in Google Earth, where, if approved,
it would appear in the 3D Buildings layer with a credit given to you.

Building Maker is the latest example of Google’s efforts to provide users with the
tools to contribute to the world’s most comprehensive 3D atlas.  In addition to
Building Maker, they have recently released Google
SketchUp 7.1 with Street View photo textures and made some improvements
to their 3D Warehouse pipeline. They are excited to see that many of the 3D
buildings in Google Earth have been modeled by enthusiastic
users who have worked to put their favorite places on the map and they hope
Building Maker will encourage even more people, especially novices, to help
model the world in 3D.


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