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Jul 04 2009

My First Model in Google’s 3D Warehouse

Today I finally got around to posting a model to Google’s 3D Warehouse. This is where Google gets the models that are used in Google Earth for 3D buildings. I have another that I’m working on, but it’s much more complicated. In order to get one up more quickly, I chose a little nondescript building nearby.

202 S Neil St, Champaign, IL, US, 3D Warehouse Screenshot

The model of 202 S. Neil St., Champaign, IL, US is marked for review by Google so that they can determine if it’s suitable for inclusion in the 3D Buildings layer in Google Earth. I think it meets all of their criteria (more so than some other buildings which are included anyway), so it should make it in there one of these days soon. I don’t know how long their review process takes, but I think it’s on the order of several weeks.

I created the model using Google Sketchup. My biggest complaint about this software is that a Linux version is not available. It will work using Wine, but has some quirks that I haven’t managed to solve yet. As it stands, I use the version through Wine to do most of the work, but rely on a version in a virtual machine running Windows in order to first import data from Google Earth, then upload the model when it’s completed.

The model’s faces are textured with actual photographs of the building. This is one of Google’s criteria for models to be included in Google Earth. I have seen several models which don’t actually use photographs for texturing, and it definitely shows. Yesterday afternoon I took ten photographs of the building from a variety of angles. Using GIMP, I selected the portions of the building that matched the faces of the model, sometimes requiring a bit of creative editing to remove a telephone pole, sign post, and a parking meter from the images. GIMP’s ‘transform’ tools were very helpful in getting the image to match the proportions of the faces, and to remove distortion introduced by the angle of the face of the building to the camera.

This is my first model to be uploaded, but another is in progress. If it turns out well, I’m certainly going to try my hand at creating some more. Google Earth will be more fun for those of us that enjoy the 3D Buildings feature.

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