Google’s Building Maker: crowdsourcing the world’s architecture

Valencia, Spain as seen in Google EarthIs there anything that can’t be crowdsourced? Google sure don’t think so, as they’ve just announced another new project for Joe Public to muck in on. Google Building Maker will be used to populate Google Earth with 3D models of major buildings:

We like to think of Building Maker as a cross between Google Maps and a gigantic bin of building blocks. Basically, you pick a building and construct a model of it using aerial photos and simple 3D shapes – both of which we provide. When you’re done, we take a look at your model. If it looks right, and if a better model doesn’t already exist, we add it to the 3D Buildings layer in Google Earth. You can make a whole building in a few minutes.

It’s entirely browser-based, too, so no compatibility problems. Of course, you don’t get the freedom of Second Life, where you can build any damned building you feel like… but then learning how to build well in SL can take weeks of practice, whereas Google have aimed to make it as easy as possible. Which is a sensible move if you want people to do work for free, I guess… [image by Visentico/Sento]