Beyond the Dog & Pony

Many of you who know me know that I always disparaged the Google Earth functionality in 2007 as nothing more than a one trick pony. It was cute, but useless. Google Earth couldn’t show cut, and until it does, it’s pretty limited as a tool for showing the end result of my project.

Since the guys in NH can’t do anything about how GE handles it’s output, they looked at the other end of the problem and delivered what I consider a killer solution. Read on….



In 2008, C3D has a new option under the File menu: Import from Google. Here’s how it works:

  1. Find your site in Google Earth. For instance, my home, well, the dirt that is now my home. Just get it centered up, don’t tilt the view.
  2. Fire up C3D 2008 and go to File->Import->Import Google Earth Image & Surface. Enter a coordinate and rotation at the command line.

Take a look at the second image over there. Notice the familiar yellow line from the surface border? The tooltip giving an elevation? How cool is that? Apply a style. Contours? Easy. Elevation analysis? Done. Cut a quick profile to see if your road will work? Cake. The point is, you have a planning  grade surface in under a minute. You wouldn’t want to build from it, and sure don’t want to estimate from it, but for the planning and layout guys, this is a great tool and it’s well executed.

Thanks to the guys in NH, and to da Govna for first showing this off at AU this year! Stick around, more posts to follow!


  1. scottsh says:

    Is the second image supposed to be a hyperlink to a larger version? The first image is.

    JW: Yes, it is. I’ll see if I can fix it tonight.

  2. Fred Mitchell says:

    Is that with the free version of Google Earth or is that information part of the subscription Google Earth?

  3. It’s the freebie stuff. Now, how using it in a corporate environment matches up with the GE license is for your legal counsel to advise.