Publication Date

Fall 2012

Degree Type

Master's Project

Degree Name

Master of Science (MS)


Computer Science


Google Earth is a powerful tool that allows users to navigate through 3D representations of many cities and places all over the world. Google Earth has a huge collection of 3D models and it only continues to grow as users all over the world continue to contribute new models. As new buildings are built new models are also created. But what happens when a new building replaces another? The same thing that happens in reality also happens in Google Earth. Old models are replaced with new models. While Google Earth shows the most current data, many users would also benefit from being able to view historical data. Google Earth has acknowledged this with the ability to view historical images with the manipulation of a time slider. However, this feature does not apply to 3D models of buildings, which remain in the environment even when viewing a time before their existence. I would like to build upon this concept by proposing a system that stores 3D models of historical buildings that have been demolished and replaced by new developments. People may want to view the old cities that they grew up in which have undergone huge developments over the years. Old neighborhoods may be completely transformed with new road and buildings. In addition to being able to view historical buildings, users may want to view statistics of a given area. Users can view such data in their raw format but using 3D visualizations of statistical data allows for a greater understanding and appreciation of historical changes. I propose to enhance the visualization of the 3D world by allowing users to graphically view statistical data such as population, ethnic groups, education, crime, and income. With this feature users will not only be able to see physical changes in the environment, but also statistical changes over time.