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Amsterdam in 3D

The next best thing to visiting Amsterdam in person may be to visit the city in virtual reality.

Users of Google Earth can now see all of Amsterdam’s 170.000 buildings in 3D – a unique approach for Europe at this scale. Soon, Google Earth users will also be able to visually decorate their own buildings as well. Google Earth is part of the free Google Pack.

Amsterdam’s Geo and Real Estate information department has freely shared their own 3D database with Google.

In addition, the City of Amsterdam has provided highly detailed renditions of a number of important buildings throughout the city.

In time, citizens of Amsterdam will be able to download their own building’s 3D model via Google Earth.

Using Google SketchUp they can then dress up the models with additional details and photos.

The result can be uploaded, so that other users of Google Earth can view the results.

How to see Amsterdam in 3D

In other to view Amsterdam in 3D, you must download and install Google Earth.

The program comes in two versions: Free, and Plus. Google Earth Plus, which costs just $20/year, includes GPS device support, faster performance, the ability to import spreadsheets, and higher resolution printing.

Run the program. Under the heading ‘Layers’ (bottom-left side of the screen) check “3D buildings.” This will display the detailed buildings such as those seen in the above screenshot. To see the other 3D buildings (which are still grey and featureless) click the + sign in front of “3D buildings” and check “Other Buildings” as well.

By default, an icon for information about some of the 3D buildings is displayed. If you do not want to see this icon, click the + sign in front of “3D Warehouse” and uncheck “About the buildings.”

A flyover demonstration of Amsterdam in 3D.

Google and Amsterdam

Google opened offices in Amsterdam 4 years ago. Since then it has developed ties with a number of Amsterdam parties and networks, with the thee-dimensional version of Amsterdam as one result.

The Netherlands has long been a primary center of attention when it comes to creativity, and Amsterdam is a creative hotbed.

Later this year 3D versions of a number of new building projects throughout Amsterdam will also be made available in Google Earth.

The city is actively looking for additional ways in which to make Amsterdam more accessible via the program.

Sidey Mock, Marketing Manager for Google Benelux, hopes that many other cities will follow Amsterdam’s example.

Google Earth is part of the free Google Pack:

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This post was last updated: Sep. 25, 2011