Sketchup Blog - News and Notes from the Sketchup folks

Bridge builders have been revealed

You may remember that we held a Student Bridge Modeling Competition for students to model interesting spans anywhere in the world. We're blown away by the quality of the bridge models, and had the hard task of selecting just three top bridge modelers. Well, the winners' stories about modeling for Google Earth are interesting too.

Jason Wong, an architectural student at Washington State University, who was the first place winner has been modeling since early 2007. Jason had an interesting introduction to the process, "I basically started playing with SketchUp and Google Earth (I did my house and then a fantasy project of a hotel). Contrary to what most people do, I actually didn't start by working on my hometown. Instead, being the big Denver Broncos fan I am, the first real life building I took a stab at was Invesco Field at Mile High. The geometric complexity of the stadium really intrigued me. I never finished it, but it worked well to - call me crazy - pass the time while recovering from having my wisdom teeth removed!" In addition to his gorgeous bridges, his buildings are top notch. Check out Jason's Spokane's Historic Looff Carrousel (please note that some recent Google imagery updates have resulted in building alignment issues - we're working on it).

Jason is hooked on the idea of an immersive virtual world that is truly global and driven by users. "The thing that gives me the most satisfaction about getting a model into Google Earth is knowing that I have produced something that can be enjoyed by hundreds, even thousands, of Google Earth viewers. Having the opportunity to explore a city in the third dimension adds an entire level of enjoyment and comprehension for the viewer. Being able to show off Spokane to people who may never be able to visit it is really cool. It's even cool to think about people who live here making use of the models to better understand the built environment in which they live."

Tobias Merk, a student in Germany, grabbed second place in the contest. Tobias has been modeling since late 2007 and got inspired to model by the scope of Google Earth. "It's very cool to know that everyone in the world can look at the work you put up. I started modeling with the idea that I'd complete my entire town, although I have had to put some of the work on hold while I take care of my school studies." That being said, Tobias still has a lot of great buildings completed in Nördlingen, Germany, including this incredible model of St. Georgs Church.

Nicholas Falbo is a real newcomer to modeling for Google Earth. It's amazing that he pulled in a 3rd Place finish considering he has only been modeling for Google Earth for about 6 months. In fact, his winning entry is the only model he has uploaded to date! He's an Urban Studies student at Portland State University in Oregon, US. He really like the freedom of digital design, not just for buildings in Google Earth. "I liked the ability to create new things, with essentially unlimited resources. By modeling digitally, I can create cars, buildings, and other objects, without needing physical tools, land or other raw materials. It's satisfying to see my models with other models around it. It's one more piece of the puzzle as the virtual earth becomes 3D."

Congratulations again to the competition winners: Jason, Tobias and Nick. Please be sure to check out all the work they have done by visiting the Google 3D Warehouse.

James Therrien, Google SketchUp Team

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gerrrg said...

Congrats to Nicholas Falbo. His model of the St. John's Bridge is extremely good in comparison to the real deal.

gerd said...

The competition yielded in much great work, but was also a failure for Google, who lost 2 of their most popular modelers. Next time, the jury should at least follow their self-established judgement principles. Me and some other professional geo-modelers miss our two collegues and would like to hear an explanation.

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