Tutorial: Using Google Maps 3D Data in Enscape

  • This looks great. Unfortunately, on my current machine, sketchup doesn't like to play nice with the model unless I reduce the polygon count in transmutr to the point where I lose the shape of everything. Especially as the edges of the tiles get distorted rather than smoothed in to a single plane.

    Enscape handles it OK though, so if all I need is a straight proxy I'd be ok. But cutting out the site location, or working on the mesh itself at all and it chokes. :(

    Even just positioning and scaling is a pain.

    Its frustrating, as the mesh could really be simplified so much more. And Blender handles the model just fine, but my blender experience is limited.

  • Herbo, this workflow looks promising, but I guess I'm doing something wrong. When I press "Inject" in RenderDoc, and "OK" on Chrome PID box, then "Inject Into Process" tab disappear, and Chrome creates new PID box and number. It happens perpetually. Chrome never gets in debugger mode. Tried with RenderDoc v1.16 and v1.10 with same result..

  • Demian Gutberlet

    Changed the title of the thread from “Using google maps 3d data in Enscape” to “Using Google Maps 3D Data in Enscape”.
  • I, also, cannot get it to work at the same point as Hirvio. The injection breaks as soon as the chrome PID box is OK'd. I tried in the current version of renderdoc and old version 1.10 which arqcova recommended in this thread. The new version of renderdoc does allow injecting but you need to checkbox it in settings otherwise its hidden. Chrome is updated as well. I suspect that the new/current version of chrome is the culprit but cannot validate. I also dont see any stats above chrome although it does offer the pid number in the opening dialogue box.

    Chrome: Version 96.0.4664.45 (Official Build) (64-bit)

    This was my target line:

    "C:\Windows\System32\cmd.exe /c "SET RENDERDOC_HOOK_EGL=0 && START "" ^"C:\Program Files (x86)\Google\Chrome\Application\chrome.exe^" --disable-gpu-sandbox --gpu-startup-dialog""

    Can someone who has done this in the past and validate that its still a good (or broken) process?... or can anyone validate that they can do this today/currently?

  • Currently working for me. It doesn't always work on the first try, takes some fussing around.

    RenderDoc v1.13

    Version 96.0.4664.45 (Official Build) (64-bit)

    target line looks the same.

    C:\Windows\System32\cmd.exe /c "SET RENDERDOC_HOOK_EGL=0 && START "" ^"C:\Program Files (x86)\Google\Chrome\Application\chrome.exe^" --disable-gpu-sandbox --gpu-startup-dialog"

  • I guess it could have something with windows built, perhaps. On another PC, it just works as described, with newest RenderDoc, Chrome and Blender (Python version has to match between RenderDoc and Blender).

  • I went back at it and --got it to work-- with these versions:

    My problem (I believe) was I had normal chrome windows open separately so even though this opened a new instance and pid- it wouldnt work with those prior open chrome windows. I closed them and then ran the chrome shortcut alone and all was good.

    mapsmodelimporter v.0.4.1-rc2

    RenderDoc v1.13

    blender 2.93.6

    Chome Version 96.0.4664.45 (Official Build) (64-bit)

    I skipped the transmtr portion and simply exported the blender file via collada (.dae) which sketchup imports natively for this test. It worked as expected although the model was heavy and should lilkly be cleaned up via

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    I don't know blender yet so I purposelessly avoided that part for the time being. The export/import produced slight imperfections at overlapping geometry of the textures being wrong but it is minor but worth noting. My full process would involve cleaning it up as meantioned in the thread and the link I provided...

    Side-note, the blender file was about 70MB. The sketchup file saved after the importing was 150MBs.

    It's a beautiful thing! Thanks everybody!

  • Demian Gutberlet

    Changed the title of the thread from “Using Google Maps 3D Data in Enscape” to “Tutorial: Using Google Maps 3D Data in Enscape”.
  • I have tried this technique and wonder if anyone else gets double tiles of geometry? It can be cleaned in SketchUp later, but when using Lily texture packer in Blender, the packed texture contains two sets of every tile and is twice as big as needed. I am not familiar with Blender, but manually deleting the duplicate tiles one by one isn't an effective way to work.

    I also wonder whether is is legally OK to use the geometry from Google Earth? We have been trying to understand Googles terms, but am still not sure what we are allowed to use or not. Has anyone else had a lawyer tell them what is OK to use and how?

    We have gathered that we can not use Streetview images for professional use, but we see them in other companies documents all the same...

  • also wonder whether is is legally OK to use the geometry from Google Earth?

    Nope, it's not, the above technique is a clever but sneaky workaround to download the data. If enough people do it and Google pay attention they will shut off whatever processes are allowing it.

    I'm guessing here but the vast majority of the data probably isn't even Google's, they will have licensed it from aerial surveying businesses from around the world and the surveying business license would prevent Google from providing it for download.

  • I may be crazy, but I thought you could extract 3D building content from Google Earth Pro years ago when it was a stand alone desktop app. Did they shut that feature down when everything moved to the cloud?

    Perhaps I'm mis-remembering - It may have been that I uploaded a model into Google Earth Pro and recorded an animated "tour" for use in a presentation.

    I think Paul is correct above - The reason we can extract Topo so easily is that it is GIS info and in the public domain, but the more detailed side-scan / low altitude photogrammetry building data is third party provided. Too bad Google doesn't see our community as a market opportunity.

    Also, Has anyone used ESRI CityEngine? I seem to remember this one was free as well when they were still in development.


  • You are right a LONG time ago that was possible. But back then the 3d data was hand modelled by people across the world, and the fidelity was very poor. And, it only had building geometry, not vegetation, landscape data, and all the other stuff that makes it look real.

    Now, all the 3d data is generated from aereal photos, satellite data and other information, and it is therefore MUCH more accurate and complete. The main issue is, that the geometry is now all tied together, and it is not as streamlined as the previous hand modelled geometry.

    this is also why you cant technically cut out a single building, as the geometry does not differentiate between what is a building or a tree or a car... it is all one mesh.

    The next thing is, that because the geometry is generated from a bunch of copyrighted material (aereal photos and so on), it is not possible to openly share the date with everybody like before.

    ... And this is where this new method comes in :)

  • Almost certainly isn't... clearly it has occurred to Google that their 3D dataset would be useful outside of their application. If Google wanted to provide this capability they would have. Sketchup would have been a logical connection but they chose to only allow for 2D import. More recently Google Studio has provided great access for this type of use case (via a different methodolody) Google again chose not to allow for export of the 3D data.

    It is unlikely they will go after a user like Herbo. A software developer enabling this type of use to be scaled up might raise eyebrows.

    That's the confusing part for me, even if they charged a small monthly fee to access the data, they'd make millions. It's a no brainer for our industry :/