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Help build the world with Google Earth 4

This latest version of Google Earth lets users add textured 3D structures to Google Earth's topography.

Google Earth 4, released January 8, continues to improve the landscape of Google Earth's digital globe with 3D representations of famous buildings from the Eiffel Tower to Fenway Park. Along with the free application Google SketchUp 6, the latest model of Google Earth helps star modelers create the thriving, textured 3D metropolises you see with the 3D building layer turned on. If you've got a yen for accurate modeling, some of those contributions could come from you.

Contributors to Google's digital landscape start their modeling magic in Google SketchUp. An intuitive toolset and a new feature lets modelers quickly build scaled 3D structures from imported 2D photographs. You can import an image of terrain from Google Earth to visualize how it sits on the land.

If your model faithfully represents a real-world structure, you can submit it to Google Earth. If you've followed the guidelines and a model doesn't already exist, yours might be selected. If that's not your goal, you can upload any model to the 3D Warehouse, a repository for structures; components like tables, flowers and lamps; and 3D collections that any user can access and insert into a model.

Find out how to place 3D models into Google Earth 4. Also, be sure to check out how Google Sketchup's new Photo Match feature lets you make models more quickly.