Animate 3D Models in Google Earth

TourMaker helps you to create Google Earth tours that animate a 3D model. This means the model moves from location to location and the Google Earth viewer follows it by flying to your Placemarks.

This is distinct from animating models like the London Eye or the sails of a windmill that remain in one location. To create a tour using TourMaker you need:

  • A model to animate. You can create 3D models for display in Google Earth using Google's excellent SketchUp application. Another source is the Google 3D Warehouse, though you will need to get permission from the copyright holder to use their model in your application.
  • A TourMaker Input File. This is a KML file that holds a set of Placemarks and the details of your model. The structure of the TourMaker Input File is predefined and must be followed in order for the application to work.

The documentation and sample files available here give you enough to get you started making animations for display in Google Earth. Use the 'Make a Tour' screen to submit your TourMaker Input File.

The motivation to create TourMaker arose from a long-term project to present in Google Earth the complete first voyage round the world of James Cook on board H.M.Bark Endeavour. You can access the Google Earth tours created to date at: http://captainjamescook.wordpress.com.

To show you what TourMaker output looks (and sounds) like, select a tour by clicking on one of the buttons below. After the tour loads, use the buttons above the Google Earth browser to control the display. Click 'Enter Tour' first, then 'Play':

Follow the track of Joshua Slocum as he set off from Boston on his solo voyage round the world. (This tour is still Work In Progress) See Captain Cook's encounter with the Pacific island of Rurutu and hear how he reported it in his journal.
Watch a model of Arthur Ransome's ketch Racundra tacking in Cape Cod Bay in a stiff northerly breeze.