Paper No. 10
Presentation Time: 11:15 AM


KARABINOS, Paul, Dept. Geosciences, Williams College, Williamstown, MA 01267,

Trimble SketchUp is a useful program for creating interactive 3D models that illustrate fundamental geologic concepts. It is relatively easy to learn and a free version exists. SketchUp Pro adds the ability to create dynamic components, which are available to users of the free version. Dynamic components add greater interactivity to a 3D model because users can modify some elements of the model using a simple dialog box. The free version of SketchUp can be used to import USGS DEM and DDF format files to portray topographic surfaces that can be draped with geological maps and coupled with accurately located cross-sections. Cross-sections and topographic models can be geolocated and exported to Google Earth as Collada digital asset exchange (.dae) files to give the 3-D models greater geographic context. This poster will highlight several different kinds of interactive 3D SketchUp models and explain how they are made. Examples will include block diagrams of geologic maps and cross-sections, digital terrane models that show how structure contours are used to solve many geologic problems, and models with dynamic components that illustrate how the stereographic projection works. SketchUp models also help show how cross-sections are created from geologic maps. SketchUp offers instructors a valuable teaching resource for engaging students in the challenge of 3D visualization in such a way that success is almost certain.

Interactive 3D models are more valuable to instructors and students unfamiliar with SketchUp if they are easily accessible and intuitive to use. There are three promising strategies for packaging interactive 3D models in a familiar format so that more time can be devoted to learning. SketchUp models can be exported as COLLADA files, and incorporated into an iBook as interactive 3D models using iBooks Author for IOS devices. The COLLADA files can also be uploaded to Sketchfab, a web hosting service designed to publish and display 3D models. Once uploaded to Sketchfab, the models may be embedded in a webpage where anyone with a Web Graphics Library enabled browser can view them. A third approach is to export SketchUp models as 3D PDFs and incorporate them seamlessly in digital instructional materials.