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Google Earth’s KML format v2.1 adds support for textures, LOD and COLLADA format import

KML V2.1 is announced and supported by the new Google Earth 4 (beta) and by Google Maps. KML 2.1 supports textures (add photos, patterns, and 2D graphics onto the surface of polygons for 3D models) level of detailing for both placemarks and imagery (to improve performance), hi-resolution imagery (four fold increase), and support for COLLADA. In KML 2.1, you can import 3D models—such as buildings, bridges, monuments, and statues—in the Collada interchange file format. Models are defined independently of Google Earth in their own coordinate space, using applications such as SketchUp, 3D Studio Max, Softimage XSI, or Maya. When a 3D model is imported into Google Earth, it is translated, rotated, and scaled to fit into the Earth coordinate system. Models already loaded into Google Earth can be repositioned and resized using the <Update> element, another new feature in KML 2.1.

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