Benson Centre Now Open To The World Through Google Earth

October 04, 2011

Benson Centre

People from around the world can now virtually tour the Benson Centre in 3D using Google Earth.

Google Earth is a free software program that goes an extra dimension beyond the popular Google Maps and Streetview applications. Using mapping, hi-resolution photography and satellite imagery, Google Earth offers 3D views of terrain and buildings around the world.

“By adding the Benson Centre to Google Earth, we’re helping to showcase this wonderful new facility to the world,” said Denis Lalonde, GIS Specialist with the City's Municipal Works Department. “Tourism and economic development opportunities are enhanced with every Cornwall building rendered in 3D in Google Earth. The software can also serve as a great planning and development tool as you can visualize proposed developments in 3D. The world is in 3D after all.”

The "virtual Benson Centre" was created by City of Cornwall GIS Assistant summer student, Justin Langlois using SketchUp, a free 3D authoring tool provided by Google. The creation of the model involved taking digital photographs of each surface of the building. The photographs were then applied to a 3D model of the building based upon the actual architectural drawings of the Benson Centre. All told, it took a few work days to complete the model.

The completed model was submitted to Google for review, where, to be accepted, it had to adhere to their strict acceptance criteria. Most of the criteria, including being of correct scale and being of reasonable complexity were easily met, however the model was initially denied acceptance because Google could not prove its existence as it did not show up on their latest aerial imagery. However, City staff provided links to the City website and its comprehensive library of photos detailing the construction of the Benson Centre. Once those website links were reviewed by Google in the appeal process, the building was accepted.

"Our goal is to add more City-owned buildings to Google Earth in the future," said Mr. Lalonde. "The more buildings we add, the larger the profile Cornwall will have on Google Earth. With millions of people using the program every day, the potential is amazing."

Mr. Lalonde is hopeful that other property owners in Cornwall will see the benefit of adding 3D building models to Google Earth.

"Any building can be submitted for inclusion," said Mr. Lalonde. "It doesn't have to be a landmark building like a hospital or library, although those would be nice to have as well."

In addition to the Benson Centre, the École secondaire publique L'Héritage on Montreal Road has also been rendered in 3D and added to Google Earth.

About Google Earth
Google Earth allows people to travel the world through a virtual software interface and view satellite imagery, maps, terrain, 3D buildings, and much more. With Google Earth's rich, geographical content, viewers are able to experience a more realistic view of the world. Users can fly to any city on the world, search for businesses and even navigate through directions. Users can also explore the sky and learn about the solar system, dive beneath the surface of the ocean and even walk on the moon.

To download a free copy of Google Earth, click here.

The 3D model of the Benson Centre can also be viewed and downloaded through the Google 3D Warehouse.

About the City's GIS System
The City has a small design team of engineers and technicians who offer digital mapping services. One of the key elements is a comprehensive geographical information system (GIS) which includes several different layers of data superimposed on a detailed map of the City of Cornwall. Layers include satellite photographs, water and sewer networks, property boundaries and Cornwall transit routes.

A public version of the GIS system is available by clicking here.

Further information:

 

 

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