Google Building Maker lets users create three-dimensional models of buildings in Google Earth in minutes. Building Maker, which runs in Google Chrome, Mozilla Firefox, Apple Safari and Microsoft Internet Explorer Web browsers, is free and available in 14 languages. Building Maker is the latest effort for Google to enable its users to crowdsource, or contribute to, the expansion of its mapping applications.
Google Oct. 13 released Google Building Maker
, a new tool that lets users create three-dimensional
models of buildings in Google Earth in minutes.
3-D buildings are already a key component of Google Earth
, an application
that includes geographic layers for satellite imagery, maps, terrain, space and
ocean topographies. With Building Maker, Google is crowdsourcing building
Calling the tool "a cross between Google Maps and a
gigantic bin of building blocks," Google said
the Building Maker will let
users pick a building and construct a model of it using aerial photos and 3D
shapes from Google Earth.
Prospective builders start with six images and overlay
blocks on top of existing building photos for proper sizing. A viewer button
lets users preview their 3D model in Google Earth. Builders can then add a
title and description of their model and save it to the Google 3D warehouse. Users
can also use the Google SketchUp 3D modeling tool to modify buildings
constructed with Building Maker.
When the builder is done with his or her building, Google
reviews the model and adds it to the 3D buildings layer in Google Earth
(provided it's good enough and a better model doesn't already exist).
Currently, users can use the tool to build buildings in some
50 cities, but that list will grow, the company claims. Moreover,
Google is encouraging users to make models in cities other than their
hometowns because "modeling in a place you've never been is a fantastic
way to discover more about it."
Who, beyond architects and students of building models,
might find Building Maker useful? Google claims Building Maker is a great way
to help school teachers get students interested in geography.
Building Maker is the latest effort for Google to enable
its users to
, or contribute to, the expansion of its mapping applications.
Just last week, Google began allowing
U.S. users to point out gaps in the search engine giant's Google Maps
coverage. A "report a problem" link on the bottom right of the map
let users provide Google feedback for improving map search results. In August,
Google rolled out
live reporting of traffic conditions on back roads for some cities.
The crowdsourcing approach makes great sense for Google,
whose goals of organizing the world's information online are particularly lofty
when it comes to mapping out all of the places on the planet.
If Google can
enlist users to contribute to this organization, the company may more quickly
achieve its mapping goals, and foster good will among users by enabling them to
not only search for maps and earth objects, but help product the content.
Building Maker, which runs in Google
Chrome, Mozilla Firefox, Apple Safari and Microsoft Internet Explorer Web browsers, is free
and available in 14 languages. Users must have the latest version of Earth
installed on their PCs and must be signed into their Google Account to use the
Those interested can view this
of Building Maker, which shows how to build 3D models in four