Berlin (Germany) - Hamburg, Germany, announced a few weeks ago that it planned to become the first 3D city for Google Earth, but Germany's capital has won the race in the end: The city today published a plug-in for Google Earth that includes more than 44,000 buildings in 3D.
The detail level of the buildings integrated with the plug-in varies from very simple, one-color layouts that are known from many US cities to stunning detail that allows users to even enter buildings and take a look around inside.
According to the City of Berlin, the software delivers about 500 buildings with detailed imagery, 40 in "high" detail and five buildings that have added interior detail. These include the Reichstag government building, Berlin's new main train station, the DZ Bank building, the Sony Center and the Olympic Stadium.
City officials said that pictures of 800 different facades were taken, which are randomly distributed across buildings that are shown with little detail. In a press release, the admits that this process will not show an exact image of all buildings, but it claims that it is enough to give an impression and actually comes "close" to reality.
The KMZ file offered free of charge by the city triggers a massive data download to Google Earth that can take several minutes. The high detail of the buildings, especially inside, also reveals the limitations of the current navigation tools in Earth. 3D cities as granular as Berlin may require much finer navigation capabilities than available today.
A slideshow of Berlin in 3D is posted on our TG Daily beta site.