Tuesday, May 13, 2014

Google Earth Topo Export: Fixed!

By Tim Shotts

Typically, I’d use Google Sketchup’s geolocation tool to import topography into for my siteplan.  However, lately it’s been tempermental.  On a quest to find a workaround, I came upon Land Design.  Go to http://www.lands-design.com/features/terrain-modeling/ and download it.  It’s a plugin for Rhino and it works generally the same way as SU’s method.  You’re all using Rhino5, right?  If not, come see me and I’ll introduce you two;  You’ll become good friends. 
I’ll walk you through importing Google Earth topography into Rhino.

1.  Open Google Earth and zoom in on the area you want to capture.  It appears that you cannot change the resolution in the trial version, so be judicious with your capture.   Make sure you turn on the Scale Legend so you have a reference point.

2.  Open Land Design.  It probably asked you to put an icon on the Desktop…

3.  Import Google Earth Elevation Data

BAM!!!  Your topography, Sir or ma’am. 

Save that and do with it what you want.  I hope that helps everyone that’s been frustrated the past few weeks with the SU/Earth malfunctions.
Next, I started modeling the buildings on the site and also the bridges.  Notice the highway overpass.  Google Earth doesn’t do these well, so I went to streetview in GoogleEarth and modeled the bridges and added them to the 3D file.  This is what it looked like in Sketchup with the just the highway ending.

…and with the abutment

…and with the bridge.

I saved the site as one STL file, and the buildings and bridges as their own individual files.  I then uploaded all of them to https://netfabb.azurewebsites.net/ to close holes, fix face normal, and remove self-intersections.  It took 25seconds!  Do it!!!  After sending the fixed site model STL file to the CNC and the fixed building files to the 3D printer (after creating the X3G file in Makerware Desktop http://www.makerbot.com/desktop/), this is my final result.

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