Assignment 10

Assignment 10

a) Please explore the following websites:

  1. SketchUp:
  2. 3D Warehouse
  3. visit Google Earth with 3D Buildings flag turned on (e.g.: you can visit CU which has quite a few 3D models) — you have to download a recent version of Google Earth

write one paragraph about one of the systems (your choice) what impressed or did not impress you about it!

b) articulate one question for our guest lecturer!


Lee Becker - Do you envision Google/Sketchup branching into creation of immersive, online worlds? Are these products a stepping stone toward something like the Metaverse described in Neal Stephenson's Snow Crash?

Jane Meyers - I have played with a variety of 3D modeling and graphics applications and have found Sketch-up to include some of the most useful tools, my favorite being push/pull. I only have two small complaints thus far: the difficulty to create spheres and use layers. In playing with Sketch-up and 3D warehouse, I was struck by the diversity of items people decided to model: from famous buildings to a surprisingly wide variety of toilets. What do you think motivates people to create models in Sketch-up, art or education? What are ways to modify Sketch-up to attract a more diverse community of users? And beyond creating immersive environments in Google Earth, what is the future for Sketch-up?

Saroch Panichsakul - Google Earth is by far my favourite map system, though Google Map is most of the time more helpful. I really like the feel when it moves to the next location when I search for a new one. Google Earth was first launched for around, I guess, 2-3 years but I still see some of the major cities in the world haven't got real 3D-building look. I still hope it works with many big cities in my country, Thailand, soon, too. Question: What would be the main features of Google Earth's next major phase?

David Gnabasik - SketchUp is impressive in that it quickly allows one to generate and manipulate "physical" objects. Having just learned Ruby in another class, I spent some time experimenting with what can be done with Ruby as a SketchUp scripting language, which happens to be a lot. My biggest complaint is that I would have to use Ruby to generate a cost-of-materials function for what I would build in SketchUp. Is that possible in SketchUp; say, for instance, determining the cost of materials needed to build a greenhouse? A strength of Google software is that they always have a neat way for people to collaborate, so SketchUp objects can be placed into the GoogleEarth shared space. My question

Jinho Choi - Google Sketchup makes it easy to build 3D models without having expertise in graphics such as vectorization or normalization. Because of that, practically anybody can be a potential participant for this project as it is shown in 3D Warehouse. By enabling users to export their designs to Google Earth, Google can build up more database at the same time offer some kind of satisfaction to the users. However, it doesn't provide portability to other graphical tools or API such as OpenGL, Java3D, etc. I wish they could add an option to export the design as other formats so graphical communicate can take advantages of it.

Question: How does Google Earth team deal with privacy issues? I know Google Earth sometimes includes some photos of people or restricted areas. Do you need to get permissions from those people/organizations?

Mohammad Al-Mutawa - How does Google come up with such great ideas, provide the users/people with the required tools and make Google Earth a “wiki” in which any one can contribute with their models?

Jeffrey LaMarche - Google Sketchup is a great tool; I was able to create a geometrically complex building quickly and with little training beforehand. I do feel like I am fighting with the interface at times, but it could be from lack of familiarity with the program. Some things seem overly difficult to accomplish, such as creating a sphere (being able to hold down a key while using the Push/Pull tool would be great). Overall, I look forward to experimenting with Sketchup to see what I can create.

Question: How often is the geography data in Google Earth updated? I have been looking at locations around Boulder and there is at least one area that has not been updated for over half a year. Also, has anyone given any thought to enabling an easy to use method for exploring the 3D landscape? It would be great to hit a button, go into first-person view, and then be able to move around with the WASD key configuration.

Yuli Liang - The SketchUp is really an interesting tool. It's easy to learn and combining function with Google Earth would of course attract the general public. I think the most intensive user would still be the professionals who need to display the works to their clients daily, such as architects or civil engineers. Is Sketchup compatible with other popular software, such as Solidwork, Auto CAD, or Rhino? However, If it is, the professionals can just convert their models through SketchUp instead of "really" using it. What's your expectation for the SketchUp in the first place? Are you expect it only for the general public, or have some place among the existing graphical professional tools?

Yifei Jiang - The Google SketchUp is impressed with its easy-to-learn feature. I can build and modify my own 3D models quickly and easily in SketchUp. The most important feature is that Google SketchUp provides interface that allows you to place your models using real-world coordinates and share them with the world using the Google 3D Warehouse. And there are lots of SketchUp 3D models we can find on Google website including most buildings in our university. Question: Is there any practical applications of GoogleEarth and its 3d models?

KyuHan Koh -
I have participated in the usability test of Google Sketchup several weeks ago. Sketchup was quite easy to use and learn. With the tutorial video, most of the participant could finish the given tasks in given time even though it was the first time to use Sketchup for most of us. I have no doubt to say Sketchup is the best 3D graphics tool for novice users among other 3D graphics tools I have used. Sketchup is more intuitive than other 3D modeling applications, and it makes Sketchup easy to use. However, some experienced users might want to edit the code for 3D models with editor like other 3D modeling applications (i.e. 3D game studio). Would Sketchup adopt this code editing strategy like other applications? Also, there have been many confidential issues since Google Earth showed up such as national security issues. Don’t you think these kinds of issues might be accelerated by Sketchup and 3Dwarehouse?

Dan Knights - Sketch is a very powerful program. I wish I had had it years ago when I was developing a 3D Rubik's Cube game! I wonder, though, if the ease of creating 3D models, and the ease of adding them to the Google 3D Warehouse, have led or will lead to Geo-referenced "3D spam". What's to prevent someone from loading the Google 3D Warehouse with a billboard advertising their website Geo-referenced on every acre of the planet? Of course, the user can choose what models to add to her view of the world, but then it becomes a search problem analgous to that addressed by the standard Google search for the relevant documents on the web. How can you automatically identify spam or inappropriate and/or irrelevant material in the world of 3D objects? Does Google address this?

Guy Cobb - I have used SketchUp quite a bit for quick layout drawings and plans to be shared with other people who might not have CAD software installed on their computer. I used to be a drafter so I have used several packages over the years. I found SketchUp to be very easy to use, but I was wondering if in your experience you have found whether having previous drafting experience helps or hinders learning how to use SketchUp.

Rhonda Hoenigman - I have never used Sketchup, mostly due to a complete lack of artistic ability and a fear of anything that could expose this weakness. My question is: In developing a product like Sketchup, is their effort put into attracting non-artistic types and, if so, what is the thought process for this?

Paul Marshall - I particularly enjoy using Google Earth - although I use maps (and satellite view) a lot more. One thing that I would like to see with both Google Earth and maps is the satellite images updated more often. And now, my question:

One of the main concerns with Google is privacy. Google holds a lot of personal information (searches, email, social networking, documents, calendars, photos, etc) and is often able to tie all of these things together to individual users. Even if Google doesn't choose to abuse this power, what if the servers are cracked? What if the government forces more information out of Google (and doesn't allow Google to brush them off)? Obviously Google needs to conform to laws (holding certain types of information for a certain amount of time), but the other reason Google proposes for keeping information as long as they do is to improve the quality of their services – why can't this be left in the hands of the users? Even an opt-out would likely be a huge step forward in terms of privacy. Google could track all of the information that it wants for as long as it wants, but allow a user to specify that any of that information relating to him or her be anonimized as soon as legally possible. Not 30 years down the road, not 2 years (unless required by law). What would be wrong with putting a user's privacy in the hands of the user (within the legal bounds), thus allowing the user to choose the balance between quality of service and privacy?

Joel Pfeiffer - Google Earth is one of the cooler application I have used. Perhaps I simply haven't delved enough into the program, but I fail to see any huge practical application. What advantage does it have compared to the basic functionality of something like Google Maps, which gives a user the directions it needs. Also, do you feel that Google might be overextending into non-practical applications such as music trends?

Soumya Ghosh - The most striking feature about the google SketchUp for me (as also other people here) was its easy to learn feature. It was pretty easy even for a complete novice like me, with no previous 3d modeling back ground, to quickly create 3d models. My question pertains to Google Earth more directly. I was wondering if there are efforts under way to interface Google Earth with GIS software such as ARCGIS?

John Michalakes

a) The three systems, Google SketchUp, 3D Warehouse, and Google Earth are most impressive, I think, for their relatedness, interoperability, and the collaborative potential. SketchUp is essentially a CAD program. Pluses are that it's free (there is a Pro version for sale) and it's straightforward to get going in 5 minutes (the tutorials are helpful and – like many Google apps – written with the network dilettante in mind). The 3D Warehouse is an intersecting application that organizes and provides access to other designers' 3D CAD models. Finally, Google Earth intersects with the other two as a target repository for geo-specific 3D models of buildings and other structures and a way of putting these models to use in a broader and globally accessible framework. I can't think of any serious negatives.

b) With respect to Google Earth, are you aware of groups using this for scientific visualization of weather and climate data?

Keith Maull

I thought the 3D warehouse was a very interesting application and repository of models. I particularly like the fact that models were grouped and were ultimately searchable, which adds to the overall usefulness of the application. One of the things that struck me, though, is that this tool and its models might very well be useful in a learning context for kids. Are there any examples of schools using these models in the classroom to provide the ability for children to enhance their learning via 3D model "walkthroughs" or "investigations"? I immediately thought how interesting it would be for children to learn more about the world around them via a combination of satellite and 3D toolkits to discover and learn about unfamiliar (or even familiar) places.

With Google spending a lot of cash buying up companies doing some of these interesting things, SketchUp, etc. are there any publicly shareable plans to reveal a cohesive strategy to string these things together into a unified platform? Or is it just up to everyone else to utilize the APIs and toolkits to do interesting things with? Will the use and modification of these things remain free? What's open source and what's not? What's the ultimate objective of these acquisitions?

Holger Dick - a.)Although I don't use it too often – because I don't know what for – I really like SketchUp. What impressed me most about it, is the (to me) completely new idea about how to create 3d models. For years, it seemed as if the existing way, let's call it the CAD-way, was the natural, maybe only possible way to create them. But after using SketchUp for only some minutes, it already seemed "intuitive" to think of 3d models as surfaces that are pulled, pushed, moved. Sometimes I have problems aligning already existing lines, surfaces, or edges, but despite that, it is one of my all-time favorite interfaces.

b.) What do you think is the biggest achievement of SketchUp? And was it the original plan to create a 3d modeller for everyone or where architects the anticipated clientele?

Ashok Basawapatna- One of my favorite memories from when I worked at USC in LA is the day that Sketchup was released. At the time, part of what I was doing was programming plugins for Maya to support our artists. Furthermore, I had used 3D studio max on my thesis project the year before. When I played around with Sketchup, what struck me was how accessible it was; especially being used these industrial strength 3D modelers- Sketchup seemed like it was such that one could pick it up with very minimal experience in any kind of modeling software- it basically took this problem of 3D modeling and distilled it into this simple elegant solution thus inviting the general public to jump in and create models (which is essential for what 3D warehouse is trying to accomplish). My question is other than having such an accessible program, what other strategies has google employed (in any area such as marketing etc.) to get a greater amount of user participation in 3D warehouse? Which have been effective and which have not?

Michael Otte - I downloaded Sketchup and played with it for a couple of hours. I like the concept, (i.e. a simple 3d modeling tool that ordinary people can use to quickly generate a rough 3d model of an idea). I think that it is useful for quickly viewing an idea, and being able to change it without a lot of work. I think that it seems to be well suited to block based models, but is more difficult to use to create complex curved shapes. I also thought that it was hard to get different components of shapes such as cones and cylinders to line up (i.e. for creating a rocket with a nose cone), and to make two separate things that had to conform to the same dimensions or line up in a particularly complex way. I suspect that a lot of these difficulties were caused by me trying to overuse the program (i.e. use it for a task that was better suited for a traditional drafting tool, instead of a rough sketch). What was the key idea or philosophy behind the program?

Nwanua Elumeze - There is quite a lot of talk about Google morphing into the acquisition machine from Redmond, in that core and important technologies are no longer developed in house, rather they are being acquired. Is the pool of good ideas generated within Google drying up? Is this the fate of all large corporations?

Shumin Wu - Ok, so I can pretend that I can design the layout of a city/town with one of these tools. To what end does that help? Are we trying to cheapen architects and city planners by making unrealistic plans that violate subtle constraints? Or is it that with one of these tools, we can be pretend to be as good as real artists?

Caleb Phillips - I haven't used sketchup previously myself, but it recently came up as a tool for documenting and planning a neighborhood-wide community wireless network in Portland Oregon. A three-dimensional mock-up like this can be much more useful for planning rooftop antenna deployments than (our previous) two-dimensional models. Q: Is it true that the google campus in Boulder is adding an indoor rock-wall? (Sorry, a bit of a soft-ball, I couldn't come up with anything better).

Dola Saha - I heard of sketchup before. But, when I tried to download the linux version, I couldn't find one. When do you think google can come up with a linux version of sketchup?