This Google Earth extension has been around and been very popular for several years but was just updated for the current release of AutoCAD 2012. Now it covers AutoCAD 2007 to AutoCAD 2012. With this extension you can import Google Earth images into AutoCAD or even a mesh of an area with the image draped over it into your AutoCAD session. You can also export your 3D models to Google Earth in the KML format complete with location data so it appears in Google Earth in the right location.
Why: Using the simple wizard-driven interface, you can publish your 3D models from AutoCAD or AutoCAD-based products directly into Google Earth. Perhaps you want to create a proposal and show a building or structure in it’s intended location for your client or planning board. You could also use the Google Earth information as a base for your concept design and spatially how it fits in an area or reference some existing structures.
What you need:
- Google Earth (free) http://earth.google.com/
- The Google Earth Extension from Autodesk Labs (free) http://bit.ly/mMVG8d
- AutoCAD version 2007 to 2012 (not free) www.autodesk.com/autocad
The last time I showed a version of this extension (http://bit.ly/kIXuws ), I modeled the Autodesk Civic Center Offices in San Rafael California. This time I want to have a little more fun.
My new fun example of using the Google Extension:
So I open Google Earth to a location I want to capture into AutoCAD. In this case I want to capture Justin Herman Plaza within view of the Autodesk One Market offices in San Francisco. I thought about what could I place there that would be fun and very visible in Google Earth as a KML object, I thought immediately of Autodesk’s fun little green friend Andy the Android who is still loving on AutoCAD WS being released on the Android devices for free and it being in the top apps of the Android Marketplace.
So I launch Google Earth and navigate to the view of the Justin Herman Plaza. http://goo.gl/maps/FMNj
I use the new command added by the extension for the image or the mesh import into AutoCAD from Google Earth.
Brings current Google Earth view into AutoCAD as raster image. Use this command to georeference your DWG model data to correct position on earth’s surface.
Brings elevation data in current Google Earth view into AutoCAD as a mesh.
In the case of Justin Herman Plaza in downtown San Francisco, there is not much elevation variation to warrant using the mesh surface, but if your subject area was located on a hill this mesh would be very import to use to locate your conceptual design and consider the elevation contour changes..
Here is an example of the Image, and on the right the Mesh with the draped image. Note the image is in black and white as that is a limitation of the Google API.
I placed my Andy the Android 3D model I created onto the location of the imported Google Earth image. The view selected would be perfect for viewing out the windows of the Autodesk Design Gallery.
When I want to export my model out to Google Earth, I simply use the PUBLISHKML command and following the series of dialog of options such as text, link and location I can then view my 3D model of Andy in Google Earth shown in the plaza outside Autodesk’s office in San Francisco. I could also send the KML to a friend or coworker so they could view the model in Google Earth or I could even submit it to the Google Warehouse of models for other to view and use.
Go ahead give it a try and you will see why this has been the top extension in all of Autodesk Labs history.