Fun modelling tool added to Google Earth is hoped eventually to create 3D models of every building on Earth

Google has today launched a new tool aimed at creating a three-dimensional model of every built structure on Earth, through worldwide user collaboration.

The company describes its Google Building Maker, which works in conjunction with Google Earth, as “a cross between Google Maps and a gigantic bin of building blocks”.

The online tool allows users to select a building and then construct a model of it using aerial photos and simple 3D shapes, all provided by Google.

Google will then assess the model, and if it looks right and a better one has not already been created, it is added to the 3D buildings layer in Google Earth.

Users can pick buildings from about 50 cities so far, but cities are being gradually added.

Beta testers are said to have found Building Maker, which is described as “addictive”, to be “more like a game than a tool”.

Google SketchUp, a free, general-purpose 3D modelling tool, can be used to edit or otherwise modify anything made with Building Maker.

Building Maker is freely available in 14 languages from

Building would like to hear from any readers that have added a model to Google Earth through the new tool – please send us your models.

Google's video on Building Maker