Copying Google Earth cities in entirety (Satellite, cartography, 3D models) for other 3D programs



I need to copy-paste an entire city in other 3D modelling programs (I need Blender, no other program at the moment) for multi-field purposes.
I know it sounds pretty crazy, but it could be possible with some means of extraction. And Sketchup’s solutions are not useful at all (The geolocation only copies 2d data, and a very limited area).
I am at hope of awaiting an answer that covers most, or all of the issues stated above.


Why don’t you contact Google? Posting here is unlikely to get you an answer from the Google Earth People.


… and better asked in the Bender forums.


Here is an explanation of one way…… This is probably the most efficient model you are going to get. It is essentially downloading 1 building at a time from the sketchup warehouse through google earth.

I haven’t seen where google is trying to sell there new building data set, However Cesium looks like they might sell a data set similar to the google earth buildings…

Open source is catching on more and more…

Google Earth Enterprise has been open sourced…, but it doesn’t look like it comes with any data…

This looks interesting too…

But I think your best bet is the method shown in the video…

Good luck


The 3D buildings you see in Google Earth have been automatically generated and are not in the SketchUp 3D Warehouse. Google stopped using SketchUp in its 3D layer years ago, even long before it sold SketchUp away to Trimble. What you find in the 3D warehouse are the vestiges of the original project.



If you watch the video, it shows how to shut off the new automatically generated buildings in google earth and how to view the old ones. The links to the sketchup warehouse in google earth appear to be broken now, but it looks like there are still many of the old buildings in the new Sketchup warehouse ., but not easily referenced from google earth… Progress(not)… This is too bad, but it looks like there is an open source solution simmering up…


There is one fundamental issue in the first poster’s request:
He asks how to extract somehow all the data, and not asking whether it is possible or available. You would have to deal with the question of who owns the data and whether you can re-use it under some license (to avoid stealing).

In case of Google Earth, there are two types of data to distinguish (as already mentioned):

  • deprecated individual building models from 3D Warehouse. These models can only be enabled in the advanced configuration options of the old now non-Google Earth ( The future of Google’s Earth is the consumer-oriented browser map. I wouldn’t base a business workflow on a bet that the old Google Earth will be updated for a few years. The models however are publicly shared in 3D Warehouse, and available for individual download (despite the unclear licensing situation, and for data scraping see ToS). Also take a look at “Find nearby models” in SketchUp’s component browser.
  • 3D mesh data from oblique aerial scans. These do not distinguish buildings as individual objects and priorize photorealism over accuracy. Google bought its oblique aerial imagery from commercial data providers and later obtained it from their own flights. The data is not available (and if so, it would cost licensing fees).

The mentioned open source solution (OpenStreetMap) has following type of data:

  • 2D outlines (nodes, ways, relations, tags) that may be augmented with tags that define the building height or classify the roof, building type etc. This is parametric data, not geometric data what people know from 3D Warehouse, but it should suffice for architectural purposes and city planning. Various attempts to incorporate 3D models have not yet advanced either on technical issues (hosting, wiki-editing), building a community and low coverage of the world (like Google’s first attempt). This needs you!
    However it is often forgotten that also this data is not free as beer, but costs “give back”.

PlaceMaker turns this huge amount of data into a (nice) business model (two years ago I had made a prototype of a building outline importer and know the significant necessary cleanup and estimation of missing data; I finally couldn’t figure out how to upload new building footprints back to OSM). It remains to be seen whether this inflames the “get data for free” mentality or makes more people (esp. in the non-Eurasian world) aware of OpenStreetMap and some of them contribute back.


This topic was automatically closed after 91 days. New replies are no longer allowed.