Thursday, November 13, 2008

Ancient Rome in 3D for Google Earth

I found out about this yesterday and I was totally geeked. Then I found the competition for educators and thought I really need to give this a look. So I downloaded the latest version of Google Earth, and the new Ancient Rome layer wasn't there. It appeared sometime late yesterday.

This morning I downloaded it to give it a try and I am totally disappointed.

3D Ancient Rome suggests 2 GHz dual core processor with 3 GB RAM and a good video card with at least 512 ram. They don't list any minimum specs. My desktop computer couldn't hack it. It's running WinXP with a 2.8 GHz Pentium IV, 1 GB ram and an ok nVidia graphics card. As I started to load the data things started to crawl to the point of being totally useless.

So I decided to try my MacBook which has a 1.83 GHz dual core with 2 GB ram with Intel integrated graphics. It kind of worked, but not in any sort of satisfying way.

I was able to get the historic terrain with no real problems then I tried for the 250 Landmarks. This was slow and just barely doable. Then to prove to myself how inadequate my two year old computer is I decided to be silly and try for the 5000+ buildings. I watched for about five minutes as buildings were added at a rate of about maybe 5 a minute or so and decided I didn't have 1000+ minutes to wait for the rest of the buildings.

For me this is a bust. With just the landmark buildings in I could see that it could be really cool, but everything was a bit choppy and slow. I'm not sure I would be able to do an effective demo with this in class. And even if I could, with just the landmark buildings in place you don't get any sort of real sense for what ancient Rome looked like.

I have a feeling that the most important component needed to make this run is a good graphics card. The big prize for the educator competition is a new MacBook. The ironic part is that if the teacher can run the Ancient Rome layer they probably already have a pretty good, brand new laptop.

5 comments:

reneveen said...

I totally agree! I have a 2 months old macbook pro. I am not able to run the ancient Rome. Same problems!
It is a pity, cause I was excited about it! maybe it is just some startproblems and something can be done to make the programm running fast!
René

reneveen said...

I totally agree! I have a 2 months old macbook pro. I am not able to run the ancient Rome. Same problems!
It is a pity, cause I was excited about it! maybe it is just some startproblems and something can be done to make the programm running fast!
René

Anonymous said...

Unfortunately, I don't think anyone on any Mac will have a satisfactory result, because Google Earth is a Windows application which has been ported to the Mac, but in a way that it can not take full advantage of the hardware. Even on my maxed out, latest generation 24" iMac it is slow. I haven't recently tried Google Earth on Windows, but it used to be much faster for the regular views.

David

Jeffrey said...

So.... don't turn on the 5000 buildings! :-)

It's not google's fault that ancient rome was big. This is a big dataset. The quality is very high. So, it's heavy. You can't have your cake and eat it too...

haben said...

I recently came accross your blog and have been reading along. I thought I would leave my first comment. I dont know what to say except that I have enjoyed reading. Nice blog. I will keep visiting this blog very often.

Kate
http://educationonline-101.com