2012 Model Your Town Competition

Over the past several months, hundreds of teams from all over the world have submitted stunning geo-models for our Google Model Your Town Competition. These examples of pure 3D civic pride are breathtaking to behold. Difficult as it was, the SketchUp team managed to pick six finalists, after which we asked the general public to vote for their favorite collection of models. Tens of thousands of you weighed in, and the talented team from the north of Spain were victorious. Zorionak! (That’s “Congratulations!” in Basque.)

The winning team is a dynamic duo: Josetxo Perez Fernandez, 36, is a professional who works in computer administration; and Pedro Domecq Aguirre, 45, is a programmer, 3D data specialist and network administrator. Those are their day jobs, anyway. It turns out that they’re actually world-class, polygon-wrangling, texture-mapping, megabyte-optimizing, geo-modeling superheroes. And now they’re bona fide local heroes, too. Thanks to them, millions of people across the globe can now get familiar with the beautiful little town of Getaria.



The beautiful coastline of Getaria

Not only that, but we’ll also be awarding US$25,000 to a local school and hosting a celebration with the town of Geteria in honor of Pedro’s and Josetxo’s accomplishment.



Getaria Lighthouse on Mount San Antón

Zorionak to the winning town, to the other five finalists, and to all the other entrants who collectively modeled almost 25,000 local landmarks that are now available for all to enjoy in Google Earth’s 3D Buildings layer. The virtual world is a richer place thanks to your efforts, and the real one is a lot better off, too.

Google Maps Returns My Maps As My Places

New google My Places

Plamen Barzev, Nyagoslav Zhekov and Nikola Tsvetkov (you gotta love Local, bringing users from all over the world together) all alerted me during the early hours of the morning that Google Maps has replaced the My Maps with the apparently very useful My Places. My Places is a personalized view of every review AND map that a Google user has created.

The ability to search My Maps had disappeared earlier in the year and it seemed to me at least, along with the removal of user generated Maps from Places, that Google was minimizing the apparent value of user created geo-content.

This new upgrade puts user generated geo content back into a very visible spot and seems to offer a well organized historical view of all of a given users most important Places over time whether reviewed or pinned on a map. The interface is spiffy and the organization clean and neat.

Google isn’t just adding the feature on the QT. They are making it very clear that a new feature exists and are alerting visitors to Maps about its existence. Very cool.