Thursday, May 27, 2010

Representin’ Tulsa

Chris Sardinas (photo by Zoungy)
Meet Chris Sardinas. Chris is one of the "super modelers" who recently attended the Google Mapper-Modeler Summit in Zurich, and a finalist in the Google Model Your Town competition.

In this article Chris describes what motivates him to be a prolific 3D modeler for Google Earth, using the town of Tulsa, Oklahoma as an example.

Why does he do it? Read on!

After spending years working in SketchUp and learning all of its quirks and kinks, I wanted to put those skills to good use by building entire cities that haven’t had much or any representation in Google Earth. Cities such as West Palm Beach, Louisville, Wichita, Cincinnati, Mobile, and now Tulsa are all fully mapped out in 3D in Google Earth.
My latest completed city is Tulsa, Oklahoma, where I’ve replaced existing poorly built models with new and improved ones. The following is a “before” shot of downtown Tulsa before I took it over:
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Tulsa before: the Google Earth model was missing many important buildings
After spending countless hours trying to fix what was there, plus fill in all the empty blocks, Tulsa was completed. You may ask yourself why I would spend hours and hours staring into a computer screen creating 3D models for a city I don’t even live in and have never visited?
I want to give cities that aren’t very well represented a chance to show off their stuff. Take Tulsa for example: Most people don’t know what Tulsa looks like, or what the city has to offer. My models show off the architectural beauty of the old skyscrapers and smaller local landmarks.
This is how Tulsa looks in Google Earth today (see image below). There is a noticeable change in terms of consistency and quality, which really makes Tulsa come to life in Google Earth.
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Tulsa after: Chris's models filled empty spaces and improved the overall appearance
I’m in the process of contacting government officials in Tulsa, as well as the media, to see if this is something that would interest them for a story, or even for governmental purposes. The uses for these models are endless. They can serve for emergency situations, as well as general mapping and directional uses on an everyday basis. So far in the 3DWH community, people have been loving how Tulsa looks, and I hope the local government there feels the same way.