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. We're working towards an ambitious goal - to display 3D models of all the world's buildings in Google Earth - and we know that in order to accomplish this, keep the buildings up to date, and make them relevant, we need to make the modeling process as open and inclusive as possible.
Today, we're launching 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 tool.
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 our efforts to provide users with the tools to contribute to the world's most comprehensive 3D atlas. In addition to Building Maker, we've recently released Google SketchUp 7.1 with Street View photo textures and made some improvements to our 3D Warehouse pipeline. We're 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 we hope Building Maker will encourage even more people, especially novices, to help model the world in 3D.