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I would like to try to show a proposed building in a web-browser such that the user can interact with it in a way similar to google maps streetview. Is it possible to do this, in any platform?

I can produce the building format in any geospatial format known to humanity, but as far as I can tell, Google Streetview only allows points to be inserted using their API. I don't want to force users to download a plugin to view this (which is why I would prefer not to use the Google Earth plugin)[updating this point in response to comments].

One thought I had was to try to make a panorama using static images of the building in some other tool that would be scrollable to give the appearance that it was embedded in a map. I presume this would be against the terms of service of Google, but I'm mainly curious how this can be done.

I'm also open to using any paid service for this functionality, or considering any new technology such as Kartograph, WebGL or perhaps a 3D javascript library such as http://threejs.org/

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Have you consider VRML (Virtual Reality Modeling Language)? Although browser plugin is required. –  user17639 May 5 '13 at 12:26
    
Welcome to GIS-SE :) Your response is not an answer to the question, so please consider posting such advices as comments in the future. –  Curlew May 5 '13 at 12:47
    
This does not provide an answer to the question. To critique or request clarification from an author, leave a comment below their post - you can always comment on your own posts, and once you have sufficient reputation you will be able to comment on any post. –  Curlew May 5 '13 at 12:47
    
May be useful for you gis.stackexchange.com/questions/58133/… –  Sunil May 7 '13 at 12:19
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5 Answers

A lot depends on the sort of interactivity you want.

If you can convert your model to a georeferenced KML or KMZ file (perhaps using Sketchup or Blender) then you can open it in the same way as any other KML and see your 3D model in Google Earth (I've done this with wind turbines and it can be reasonably effective, Google's coarse terrain resolution notwithstanding).

If you want to show a lot of detail in high quality, you may want to consider some 'heavy-duty' applications. For instance you could try Unity, Panda3D or Blender (Blender's web-plugin is called 'Burster') - all of which have 3D viewer plugins for the web

Somebody mentioned VRML. VRML is a little old-hat now and was superseded by X3D, though this also requires the user to install a plugin.

Flash 3D (Stage3D) is another option and most people already have an up to date Flash plugin installed so this would be the minimum m of fuss for your end-users.

If you want something more light-weight then OSM3D may be worth a punt, which uses XNavigator. The latter can be provided as an integrated component so your end-user would not need to install anything (though they do need to wait for the viewer to load).

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I'm using PostGIS, so exporting in KML is fine (I'm interested in general massing, rather than details at the moment). I would prefer that users do not need to download a plugin which is why I have shied away from google earth. I'll take a look at OSM3D, thanks. –  djq May 7 '13 at 12:29
    
osm3d.de/map.htm depends on the java plugin, which is blocked by most browsers for security reasons. Prerenderd tiles like those from maps.osm2world.org avoid that, but allow only pre-rendered view directions. –  Andre Joost Feb 19 at 7:00
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Have you looked at OpenWebGlobe (which uses WebGL in background) Here is the demo with some buildings loaded:

http://swiss3d.openwebglobe.org/

And accoring to forums you can convert Collada/KMZ models to be loaded into this:

http://forums.openwebglobe.org/viewtopic.php?f=5&t=247

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Well your kinda talking about two different things. Street view isn't really a 3D building, its more like a panorama. If you are looking at showing a 3D building in a web browser, you might want to have the Google Earth web plugin installed, and then save your 3D building model as a .KMZ, or even load it to the 3D Warehouse (old Google Warehouse).

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I did think about this method - but I would like an approach that does not require a plugin. I do understand that that streetview is not a 3D building, but I wondered if there was any approach that could enable the panorama of images to be edited such that a building could be inserted. –  djq May 4 '13 at 16:33
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What about building a polygon plane where the upper X and Y coord are over the lower X and Y cords. Then you could apply the photos to that plane, this would be similar to a streetview. –  Ryan Garnett May 4 '13 at 18:13
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One example of this approach can be seen here: www.arcgis.com/apps/CEWebViewer/ This is from ArcGIS using CityEngine 3D where you can zoom around a set of buildings.

I've been searching around for more examples and found an interesting one which focuses on city visualizations, called http://vizicities.com/ There is an explanation of how they made their visualization here: http://rawkes.com/articles/vizicities-dev-diary-1

Two other examples of interesting 3D interactive objects can be seen here:

Another promising WebGL approach could be to use Cesium: http://cesium.agi.com/demos.html which can handle KML output.

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There is a plugin for Sketchup called the Sketcup Web Exporter that will export your building as a series of jpegs of each angle as well as a small piece of JS code that brings them all together. It's not a true 3D solution but allows users to rotate around the model at a fixed elevation and doesn't require any plugin. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=j0Tmlko5YTU I'd be tending towards a Google Earth Plugin solution if you wanted proper 3D and geo-context.

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