It’s our sincere pleasure to unveil The SketchUp Showcase, a home for the most impressive, interesting, and inspiring project stories that have been shared with us.
Why a new showcase? Often, when you find an amazing model in the 3D Warehouse, it doesn’t tell the full story behind a project. You can download it and see how it was built. But you probably wouldn’t get a sense of why it was built. Where did the inspiration come from? What were the design challenges the modeler faced? What happened after the model was finished? The story just isn’t complete.
The Showcase is a space where the stories, images, renders, animations, and 3D models of passionate SketchUppers can shine a bit brighter.
What was the inspiration behind this 3D model? | Image courtesy of Roberto Bergamo
But that’s not all – the Showcase is also a first look at a new element of SketchUp technology: an online 3D model viewer. This 3D viewer lets you orbit, zoom, and pan 3D models right in your browser! To see it in action, find a project marked with a red flag or simply click here. Please note: you’ll need to use the latest version of Google Chrome to take advantage of the WebGL goodness that makes this viewer possible.
Go ahead and start exploring now; content is organized by category filters, so you can easily find projects based on your interests.
A project page featuring the new online 3D viewer | The Catalyst Playground in VietnamFinally, our team would like to dedicate the SketchUp Showcase to all the passionate SketchUppers who’ve supported us for over a decade. As we enter a new chapter with Trimble, we hope the Showcase and the online viewer are proof that SketchUp is only getting better. It’s clichéd to say we wouldn’t be much of anywhere without you, but that doesn’t make it any less true. Thank you for all of the love (sometimes tough) you’ve sent our way. Your passion for SketchUp is still what gets us out of bed in the morning.
Google had several new feature announcements for the Google Maps API in the last few months, including high resolution static maps, the new Street View Image API, and the use of high DPI map tiles in the JS Maps API on mobile devices. I’m here to give you some tips for using these new features to improve your existing mobile JS map app.
1. Upgrade Your App to Use the v3 API
If you’re still using the v2 Google Maps API it’s time to change that. Period. This is one of the best improvements you can make to your map app. The v3 Google Maps API was designed for the mobile web and it is significantly faster than its predecessor. Not only is the v3 Google Maps API designed to load fast on mobile browsers, but your app will be upgraded immediately because your map will automatically access high DPI map tiles, which have better on screen fidelity.
2. Use the Static Maps API to Improve User Experience
3. Use StreetView Images to Provide More Context
Chances are your map app gives users access to all kinds of information, whether it’s your own data and images or our very own Places API. Give your users some additional context by using the Street View Image API to provide a general idea of what a location looks like at street level. When you provide a location in your URL request, the API will snap to the panorama photographed closest to that particular location.
4. Use the JS Maps API Only When It Makes Sense
If all you need is a small map for context, you should be using the Static Maps API. This may seem obvious, but we’ve come across a few mobile apps that seem to use the JS Maps API to provide nothing more than a thumbnail. Use the Static Maps API to load a small image and, if needed, link that thumbnail to open up a larger map (whether your own page that uses the JS Maps API or maps.google.com).
And again, if you’re still using the deprecated v2 Google Maps API in any of your apps (mobile or otherwise), it’s time to migrate your app to the v3 Google Maps API, as Google are more than halfway through the three year deprecation period.
A few months ago we showed you Matt Fox’s excellent topographic maps of New Zealand, which were quite impressive. Over the years he’s had many requests to create similar maps with seamless USGS topographic data, and now he’s starting to roll them out on his site.
As you can see from the image above, the maps are remarkably sharp. The are distributed through a rather unique system; rather than just downloading a KMZ file, you download an installation program that adds the maps to your PC as Super Overlays. To try it for yourself, Matt is offering a free download of the San Francisco area, available here.
The new maps are significantly higher quality.
For more, be sure to visit Google Earth Library and read Matt’s full blog entry.