GoogleEarth to OBJ

OBJ from GoogleEarth

Just came across a method of using OGLE and GLIntercept to dump geometry from GoogleEarth to the OBJ file format.  I’ve summarized the steps here, but complete and detailed instructions can be found on the EyeBeam OGLE website.

DISCLAIMER:  The following is for illustration purposes only. The following text does not advocate for or condone the commercial use of copyrighted materials without the consent of the owner(s) or author(s).  Furthermore, since this process requires changing some system libraries (dll files), the author of this text is not responsible for damages to your computer or loss of data.  Follow these instructions at your own risk.



1.     Install GLIntercept…

2.     Copy the system .dll (C:\WINDOWS\system32\opengl32.dll) to your GoogleEarth directory (name it opengl32.orig.dll) as backup.

3.     Set GLSystemLib = "opengl32.orig.dll" in your gliConfig.ini file.

4.     Install the OGLE plug-in into the GLIntercept plugins folder.  Copy the whole OGLE distribution (i.e. the directory that contains the OGLE.dll file) into the Plugins directory for your GLIntercept installation (typically C:\Program Files\GLIntercept0_5\Plugins\), and rename the directory to OGLE (i.e. change the name from ogle_* to OGLE).

5.     Set the capture keystroke.  Navigate to and edit the gliConfig.ini (stored in the C:\Program Files\Google\Google Earth\).  Scroll down and set the keystroke to something you can remember, but is not already taken: something like Ctrl+’ …


Save and close the gliConfig.ini file.  You should be ready to capture.

6.     Open GoogleEarth.  Press the keystroke.  GoogleEarth may freeze up for a second, so be patient as it extracts the geometry.


7.     As soon as the application is active again, you should find an obj file in your GoogleEarth directory:


8.     Open Rhino, Blender, or 3DStudio (etc).  Open or import the ogle.obj …


9.     The geometry will be out-of-scale.  OGLE and GLIntercept also capture the screen components that make up the entire scene, such as terrain and application navigate toolbars.  You have to do some pruning to get the geometry you want, but it should be there (even if it’s extremely small).

10.     Now you can clean up your geometry as OBJ from GoogleEarthneeded.  In Rhino, use the selective delete tools to find and prune what you don’t need.  As you can see, the geometry comes in as a mesh.  To clean up meshes, use the MeshToNURBS, ShrinkTrimmedSurfaces, MergeAllFaces, and Join tools to simplify the scene.  (You may want to turn off isocurves if you use this method).  Best of luck!

2 thoughts

  1. should gliConfig.ini have shown up in the Google Earth main directory? it’s not there – any guidance would be sincerely appreciated. also, will the “ctrl,shift,f” capture that’s already there work?

    any reason you chose providence for the demo?

    thanks in advance,


  2. does it have to be google earth, or google earth pro?
    i’ve tried several time in different laptops, but still can’t get the obj file.
    anything i should notice

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