In March, we reported on a new Google tool called Cities in 3D. The application allows cities of any size to share architectural data with Google to create 3-D building models. Google then places these models within its Google Earth database and lets users view the models as they fly around the virtual globe.

Since Cities in 3D became available, numerous people have added 3-D building models to the world of Google Earth. Many of these models are richly detailed, from the Capitol building in Washington, D.C., to a Hardee's drive-through in McMinnville, Tenn. With these models firmly rooted in the virtual world, local governments can provide an interactive experience for residents and businesses by accentuating what cities have to offer.

"Having 3-D models of our city available via Google will provide a convenient, cutting-edge showcase for all our city has to offer, including our neighborhoods, business districts, and recreational, cultural and entertainment amenities," said Paul Ney, director of the Mayor's Office of Economic and Community Development in Nashville, Tenn., in a Google press release. "This is a tool that will undoubtedly contribute to our economic development success."

Chad Vander Veen  |  Associate Editor