Google Earth Miniatures
3D Print Your Local Area from Google Earth using Still Shots and Photogrammetry
Using photogrammetry and a 3D printer, you can create the perfect "new home" gift: A miniature model of your neighborhood or town with the help of Google Earth.
We’ve all used Google Earth to find our house and walk around the local area in virtual. But, a clever Redditer has taken this one step further and used a full-color 3D printer to create cityscapes directly from Google Earth.
If you’re not familiar with Google Earth, it’s a free computer program. It uses images from satellites to render accurate virtual representations of our planet in 3D. However, the images are inaccessible to download yourself.
Reddit contributor “amishrefugee” posted: “Coworkers and I figured out how to make full-color powder prints of chunks of Google Earth.”
By using photogrammetry, they were able to use Google Earth’s images as easily as if they were operating a drone. They put the images into a photogrammetry tool and converted them into a 3D model (more here).
From this, the coworkers were able to 3D print the model in full color. The resulting 3D print is pretty impressive, check it out for yourself:
A Few Tips for Getting the Perfect Google Earth 3D Print
If you’d like to try this method yourself, there are a few things to keep in mind to ensure you get the perfect 3D print. Firstly, when capturing in photogrammetry, zoom out of Google Earth until the image is clear.
When zoomed in too closely, the image can be imperfect and lines may appear which would ruin the print.
Keep in mind that you also don’t want to scan the Google Earth logo which is in the corner of the program as this could also ruin the result.
Finally, once you’ve captured your 3D model, send it off for printing if you have access to a full-color powder printer.
If you don’t fancy printing the results, check out Google Earth anyhow. It’s great fun to browse your own town or city in virtual and can keep you entertained for hours!