The Google Earth folks have just released the newest “3D city” in their lineup – and it’s Venice. I love Google Earth and its hyper-realism, and the 3D thing does enhance the experience, but for me it works best from a higher elevation. Like, if you pretend you’re a helicopter or glider over the city. You get too close to the buildings and they look like the digital recreations they are – and all of a sudden you’re in Second Life Venice, which isn’t where I want to be at all.
This isn’t to take away from the technology and design work that went into creating 3D Venice, because it’s incredibly cool. I’ll confess that zooming along the Grand Canal with its 3D buildings and completely flat boats, however, did make me giggle a little.
Venice in 3D
I’m also not wild about the soundtrack to the Venice video there, but that’s a quibble.
There are other Italian cities that have already gotten the Google Earth 3D treatment, and those videos are below. There are some places where they’re a little off, but for the most part it’s a fun ride.