Saturday, September 3, 2016

Google Earth And us

So, it's a weekend and I don't know, when was the last weekend I went out and had fun with friends. It seems, like ages ago. 

Anyway, let's discuss Google Earth and us, the Bhutanese. Google Earth is a virtual globe, map and geographical information program that was originally called EarthViewer 3D created by Keyhole, Inc, a Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) funded company acquired by Google in 2004 (see In-Q-Tel). It maps the Earth by the superimposition of images obtained from satellite imagery, aerial photography and geographic information system (GIS) onto a 3D globe. ~ Shamelessly copied from Wikipedia. 

Okay then, there's another platform, a 3D software which Google has, known as Google Sketchup. This software is so easy that, even kids can use it. Most of the architects in Bhutan use this software to make 3D models of upcoming buildings. 

Never the less, there is this site called 3Dwarehouse, whereby designers from all over the world upload their models. It could be simple model as a toilet paper to buildings as huge as Eiffel tower. here's another thing, when was the last time you used Google Earth? What was the first thing you did? Let me guess, you went to see your house? 

Google Earth has now caught up. Because when I was in college and missed home, I would log in to Google earth, and watch Thimphu. I recall Google Earth updating our Thimphu's aerial images by 2010, for the roads of Babesa, the overrated expressway (by technical specification it is not!), weren't paved on Google Earth. However the road was paved long time back, and still in 2010, it wasn't updated, that is what I recall, I might be wrong. 

So, next time you use Google Earth, do a little trick. Use your mouse's scroll button and see whether you can see 3D models.

Here's the thing, there are only three models for Bhutan. 
1. Taj which was uploaded by Carlos Tirado. 
2. Trashichhoe Dzong by Jai
3.Buddha's Statue by Disura.
And when you search 3Dwarehouse with 'Bhutan', you will get only 35 models. Nima D, a person from Bhutan has uploaded few of Bhutanese Traditional architecture cornices there. Apart from him, there are no other Bhutanese people involved. 

So, what do you need to do? I will not go there to explain it to you on how and why one should do it, or how it should be made so that you would upload your own model. But, late in 2011, I wanted to place a model as well. But mine had some 21,000 polygons in my model, Google Earth actually doesn't entertain much of those many polygons in a model. Apparently it is easier for your model to get accepted. Take photographs from all the angles of a building, paint them on the faces of the buildings, and then upload. However, they will let you know if your model gets rejected. 

If you have google earth, you would be seeing the following models as below:-  

This is accepted model. 

This one as well is accepted one. 

Doesn't look like Taj, but this one as well got accepted. 

This is how New York looks like. 

Still nobody has done for Paro Takshang. 

No models placed for Phuentsholing so far. Despite the fact we have our CST there, nobody so far has made an effort. 

Someone's model for my college got accepted. 

Click on this link. Download that KMZ file, and run it. If you have google earth, that is. 
You will be able to see something like this. 
Henceforth, CST students can take up this one as their project or just for fun they can work on sketchup models. I understand time is limited, but vacation of a month, or while you are free, you can learn this software. It is easy, and actually one doesn't need an engineering degree to learn this one. Powerful computers aren't required, and even if they do, if their models are too many, the alumni of CST can help them get few for them or the students themselves can come up with some Technical festival or some festival and raise money to buy better computers. Or, they can put up a project with local Thromde or TCB. I am sure, many tourists would like to see things before they come here, and how much better can you tell about a place with 3D models? The house owners might as well be happy to see their buildings on google earth, once on internet, it stays on internet, forever.

The thing is, people use Google Earth for many reasons, I heard some Dzongkha Engineers use it for estimation. I however would be slightly skeptical over this matter, especially if one is to prepare an estimate for Farm Roads. This is because, we usually have + or - 40 feet error on data as this one.

I only wish to see Major Cities in our country engraved with 3D models. This in return, can always be something for students who want to pursue in the field of designing later. Extra knowledge always earns you respect. I just hope, my 100 mb data didn't go to waste, and most above, my 30 mins to write this blog. 

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