The competition was announced in December 2009 as a way for citizens to show pride in their hometowns by creating detailed 3D models of their communities. The contest also served as a cheap way to add more 3D content to Google Earth and as a nice platform for showcasing the capabilities of two Google 3D modeling tools: SketchUp (a 2006 acquisition) and Building Maker (a Google product launched in fall 2009).
Teams in Barranco, Lima, Peru; Braunschweig, Niedersachsen, Germany; Donostia-San Sebastián, Gipuzkoa, Spain; Dursley, Gloucestershire, United Kingdom; and West Palm Beach, Florida, United States have all made the cut. It’s interesting to note that the Spanish team is the only entrant with multiple contributing members; every other town modeled was a solo project.
Users will have until May 1, 2010, to cast their votes for the best-modeled town. To help you decide, each entry comes with a one-minute demo video, a KML file of models in Google Earth, a showcase of the models in Google’s 3D Warehouse and a gallery of real-world photographs from each team — presumably to allow non-residents to judge the accuracy of the 3D models. The winner will be announced on or around May 15.