5 Ways to Use Google Earth with CAD Applications

The need to create hyper-realistic dynamic models and architectural plans have led to the development of tools that allow us directly import images and other data from real-life locations into CAD work spaces. As an avid CAD user, I am sure you must have heard of bitmap tools/features such as; the GPS2CAD, Google Earth, CAD-Earth, ArcGIS etc. that helps you accomplish this.

But why is infusing real-time imagery into your CAD projects important? Here, we will explore how you can take your CAD projects to its next level using generate Earth images and stats.

Google Earth and CAD Enhancing Project Management

The tools of a project manager are generally geared towards planning, running and executing a particular project. And for construction as well as landscaping projects, Computer aided-design applications coupled with an understanding of the geography/topology of the construction site has an important role to play when planning such projects. At this juncture, it should already be a given that CAD will be used to create the needed drafts for executing the construction project but even the most sophisticated CAD apps have their limits.

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One of its limits includes previewing the entities you have drawn to get an exact representation of how they look in the real world. Integrating Google Earth into your CAD drafts is definitely the perfect solution to remedying this problem. With this feature, you can actually preview every entity you have drawn against its real-time location thereby allowing you to troubleshoot issues a location may throw up. These issues include; sloppy or difficult terrains and even the weather pattern and natural climate forces prevalent in that particular area.

Integrating Google Earth in Your CAD Presentations

The architectural, real estate and landscaping industries also rely heavily on the use of presentations to raise funds, sell services or products and disseminate information. And the best presentations make use of exact facts, figures and realism to accurately pass the chosen message across to an audience. Those who have either sold building plans/ideas to a board of investors or have been at the receiving end of a time-share presentation will understand how important it is to ensure a presentation showcases real-world implementation in order to avoid confusion.

This is where the integration of Google Earth also comes into play. To add that extra touch of realism and accuracy to presentations, you can integrate the images of specific locations as well as their specific coordinates into your CAD app, to transport your audience to the exact spot you intend to showcase. Thereby making it easy to highlight the advantages of the property or whatever location you intend to showcase.

Adding Perspective to Animations

Animators charged with providing extremely photo-realistic renderings of real-life locations can also take advantage of Google Earth to develop whatever project you are working on. This can be done by simply integrating Google Earth into your modelling—Maya, SolidWorks etc.—software application. And once it is done, you can capture images from a chosen location and import them to your workstation without having ever been there to execute a photo-shoot.

Tools such as the Google Earth 5 even gives you more options to experience the ambiance of that particular location. With Google Earth 5, you simply select a flight part of your location and the camera speed you require which prompts the application to record real-time occurrences in that area. You can then use these images and videos as the muse for your animation or simply import the video file to your CAD software application and work with them to re-calibrate the ideas or designs you have already created.

Google Earth, CAD and Architectural Projects

The bidding process architects go through when pursuing public works contracts across Europe is like no other. This is due to the fact that the request for proposal (RFP) ensures that you understand local issues and your bid takes them into consideration. Although the EU Council has made it possible for firms across Europe—regardless of country or location—to participate in the bidding process and understanding of the local geography and topography increases one’s ability to win design contracts. And this is where Google Earth has a role to play when drafting ideas for your RFP.

With the aid of the Entire Google Earth suite—which is free—uploaded on your CAD app, you could be in Germany while assessing real-time images of Spain and incorporating this information in your proposal. This is also applicable to any location or continent across the globe. Also when searching for some inspiration, Google Earth makes it possible to view iconic architectural structures from around the globe to drive your research and the final model or draft you produce.

Enhancing Best Practices, and Collaboration with Google Earth and BIM

The rise of Building Information Management applications as the ultimate collaboration tool has led to the simplification of diverse processes in the field of project management, construction, manufacturing and other industry verticals. This is due to the ability for stakeholders—government organizations, engineers, architects, procurement officers etc.—to access the details of any project regardless of the participating parties’ location.

Integrating Google Earth into BIM-powered projects enhances collaborative effort further because every party can view, share information and pinpoint problem areas using real-time images and videos. An example of how Google Earth and BIM can be applied in collaborative effort had been highlighted by Ford’s use of it to enhance its production lines across its major processing plants. In the automobile manufacturer’s case, they made use of Google Earth, CAD and IntoSite (BIM), to share ideas and foster its best practices guidelines across continents. This ensures that every Ford vehicle is designed and built while taking into consideration the locality where it will be used.


The world is slowly but surely becoming a global village and having the right tools in hand will definitely give you an edge over the competition. And integrating Google Earth with your CAD projects is definitely one way to stay ahead in today’s competitive society.





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