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Sketchup-ur-space Magazine - June 14

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The leading geo modeler

The leading geo modeler who have modeled several of the city's most visible buildings and structures, including Luna Park, the Anzac Bridge, Pyrmont Bridge and the Sydney monorail

Hello Peter Olsen! Welcome to the community of Sketchup. Please make your introduction to our readers.

My name is Peter Olsen. I am a retired computer programmer living in Sydney. Geo-modelling with Sketchup has been my passion for the past 4 years. When I was at school I always intended to be an architect but changed to computing during my final year at school. I retained an interest in architecture however.

How did you discover sketchup first time in your profession?

I first started as a Google Earth user. It didn't take me long to discover the 3D Buildings layer and I immediately wanted to create buildings of my own. I went searching, found Sketchup and was immediately hooked.

Why sketchup tool is so special for creating a geo model?

The basics of Sketchup can be learned in a few hours. Its integration with Google Earth/Maps for geo-location of models is unique, intuitive and very simple to use.

You start your career as a computer programmer for the Commonwealth Bank of Australia and how do you involve in geo modeling?

As soon as I discovered Sketchup I became addicted to it. I wanted to do nothing else apart from create realistic models for Google Earth.

How Geo modeling can bring advantages to the general people?

The ability for anyone to create models of any building in the world is amazing. Some people use it to create models of famous buildings. Others use it to model their own home, or to plan renovations to their house or to design a new house that they want to build. Being able to view the end result in Google Earth makes the model come to life.

What is your first sketchup model, please share your experience

My first Sketchup model was the Svendborg Sound bridge in Svendborg, Denmark. I lived in Svendborg for two years as a child and always loved the graceful bridge that spanned the bay.

You are recognized as a Super Modeler and completed several big projects like Machu Picchu, Mount Rushmore. What is the secret of being such a successful geo modeler?

Anyone can become a good modeler. You simply need to start with smaller projects and then work up. Accuracy to detail is important. Luckily these days there are thousands of photos on the web of most famous buildings so it is easy to find most of the necessary information. Even with lots of photos large projects can still be very time-consuming. Machu Picchu took over 18 months to construct.

How are you inspired to perform geo modeling on Google Earth

The thrill of seeing a newly created model become live in Google Earth for everyone to see inspires me to go on and create the next model.

If you are given options to create 3D model of any particular city, what will be your most preferred city?

I have done many buildings in Sydney because it is where I live. Apart from that I do not have any particular preference. I usually look for difficult and challenging projects. Simply building square boxes like many city buildings is of little interest to me.

While being in geo modeling, which project was most challenging so far in your career?

Machu Picchu was the most challenging project, followed closely by Pompeii.

In your career which project gives you complete satisfaction and why it is different?

Machu Picchu gives me the most satisfaction. It is a very famous site and I was proud of the fact that I was able to model the entire city to an accuracy of around 10cm.

What suggestions do you want to provide for newbie geo modeler?

Start with a simple model to gain experience then work up to more complex projects.

Please provide some useful tips for the geo modeler communities

Spend a lot of time creating the textures for your buildings. Good textures mean the difference between an ordinary model and a great model. I use a free program called Gimp. It is better than Photoshop in my opinion. Paint out any people or other things that spoil the photos and try to adjust the colour so that all sides of the building are a similar colour and brightness.

What new innovations should have been included in sketchup for the near future

There is not much more that Sketchup requires because most things that are missing are catered for via external plugins. What I would like to see is more functionality provided in the KML language to allow better animations to be created.

Do you have any funny or memorable moments in your career?

I created a detailed model of the Costa Concordia cruise ship that sank earlier this year, along with an accurate animation of the final voyage. The salvage company emailed me and asked for permission to use my model in planning the de-fuelling of the ship. I was very pleased that someone was able to make real use of the model rather than just looking at it for interest.

What suggestions do you want to provide to the team of sketchup-ur-space?

Encourage as many people as possible to use Sketchup. It is a great tool.

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