The AppEngine is the platform that handles and controls the data within this 3D app. The library staff are given a secured administrative user interface to allow them to create their own placemarks (or landmarks) within the 3D library. Through the Google Earth API, we've made the landmarks' content editable. Displayed in a balloon linked to the landmark, the content can contain both formatted text, pictures or YouTube videos. Additionally, customized orientation tours of the library can be created on the fly.
Google SketchUp 3D software tool was used as the drawing platform to create the model from scratch. Combined with the power of Google Earth with satellite imagery, maps and terrain, we were able to place our model using real-world coordinates.
The Google Earth Plugin then displays the model of the NUS library on an globe that is covered with a black layer. This is to make the interior model stand out more and avoid distracting the user with unnecessary features. The navigation on the right is automatically generated based on the landmarks created by the user. Last but not least, a great feature of this application is the 3D book search capability. The Google AppEngine database stores a catalogue of book call numbers as well as their shelf reference. When the viewer enters a call number in the search box, the latitude, longitude and camera viewing anlge of the appropriate shelf is retrieved and located in 3D.