June 15, 2007
  Publish Your Projects to Google Earth

Summary: Google Earth, through its 3D Warehouse Web site, has made it possible to publish 3D buildings to one of the most heavily used applications on the Internet. “The Internet is the great equalizer,” says Google Product Manager Bruce Polderman, of the Web’s potential for giving marketing power to smaller firms. “You can promote your design skills and showcase your work using the 3D Warehouse and Google Earth where more than 200 million people can experience it—virtually.”

Through an agreement with the AIA, Google recently introduced two new featured layers within Google Earth: “Blueprint for America,” and “America’s Favorite Architecture.”

While not everyone can have their own layer in Google Earth, anyone can publish a 3D model there for the world to see. To be clear, these aren’t traditional CAD models, but instead visual representations of the building created using a combination of Google SketchUp, Adobe’s Photoshop, and some digital photographs of the building.

There’s lots of information about how to do this on Google’s Web site, including short video tutorials.

Once the 3D model is created you’ll want to publish it to Google’s 3D Warehouse. Models published to the 3D Warehouse are then reviewed by Google staff and if they meet certain criteria are incorporated into Google Earth’s “3D Buildings” layer.

The 3D Warehouse contains lots of interesting 3D models. Collections include:

The 3D Warehouse is a free Web site that contains 3D model of all types—everything from individual building components to entire building models to entire city blocks. “AEC firms of any size can build a collection of their work and publish it to the 3D Warehouse in the Buildings by Architects collection,” Polderman says. “They simply need to publish their models to the 3D Warehouse, assemble them in a ‘collection,’ and click the ‘contact the owner’ link under Buildings by Architects.”


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The Google SketchUp site has an abundance of tutorials, including one that describes the 3D Warehouse concept.

Google Earth also carries blog entries where users describes the process of loading models onto Google Earth.

Caption: Henry Hobson Richardson’s Trinity Church, Boston, as modeled by Google.