Thursday, March 24, 2011

Google Earth to offer look inside Allen Fieldhouse



Google Inc.

This is an image from a virtual 3D model of Allen Fieldhouse, set to be available this afternoon through Google Earth. By the end of next week, users of the program will be able to step inside and look around at the playing area's — from any and every angle, even from standing on the catwalks above the scoreboard. "I've always wanted to (go up there), but never had the chance," said Brian McClendon, a KU graduate and fan who is vice president and co-founder of Google Earth.

A Kansas University graduate plans to introduce the planet to the haunting and hallowed interior of the world’s great basketball arena, just in time for the nation’s biggest weekend for college hoops.

Next week, Google Earth will open the doors on its virtual Allen Fieldhouse, a 3D digital model detailing everything from the paint on James Naismith Court to the catwalks above and every seating section, scoreboard and championship banner in between.

All as Brian McClendon looks forward to watching his Kansas Jayhawks take the Reliant Stadium court in real life.

“We’ll have that on there if and when they make it to the Final Four,” said McClendon, co-founder of Google Earth and now vice president for Google Earth, Google Maps, engineering and product, who grew up in Lawrence.


“It’s when,” he corrected.

McClendon and his team of software engineers and other technical professionals have been busy updating and upgrading Google Earth and its varied applications. Beginning this afternoon, in fact, users of Google Earth and Google Maps will be able see updated and improved imagery for Lawrence and other communities, including Manhattan in Kansas and Tokyo, Sydney and others worldwide.

Such upgrades haven’t yet covered the entire planet, but they’re working on it.

“Columbia (Missouri) is not updated, as far as I know,” McClendon said with a bit of a laugh. “It still looks rather old.”

Also being added to Google Earth are a growing number of digital models, to give 3D perspective to structures that otherwise would appear like a “scraped” or “pancake Earth,” McClendon said.

The 3D fieldhouse model goes live today. Just enter Google Earth, turn on the 3D layer and then “fly down and search for Allen Fieldhouse,” he said.

That McClendon dispatched a photographer and a “very experienced 3D modeler” to handle the fieldhouse job should come as no surprise. As a student at West Junior High School, he and friend Steve Dinneen each had “10 games for $10” ticket packages to attend KU home games. The streak continued through Lawrence High, where he graduated in 1982, and the pace picked up while earning his electrical engineering degree at KU.

He’s looking forward to updating the as-yet-unfinished fieldhouse interior soon after April 4, when the NCAA champion is determined in Houston.

“We like to model reality,” said McClendon, whose Google Earth team is using nearly 200 photos taken of the fieldhouse interior by Dinneen. “Our goal is to match the real world as closely as possible. …

“If they win, we’ll certainly put a 2011 banner inside the fieldhouse.”


justinryman 11 years, 4 months ago

And as the gates open, he fell to his knees and he knew he had arrived.

I believe these programers should have the hallowed and at times haunting chant of "Rooooooocccckkkkk Chhhhhhaaaalllkkkkkk JaaaaaaaayyyyyyHaaaaaaawwwwk K U!" being played as the doors open to the field house and don't stop until one leaves it and the doors close behind them.

When he knew he was there he looked up from his knees and saw a a sign through the bright light that read, "Pay heed, to all that enter; Be aware of The Phog!" and a tear ran from his eye.

murph 11 years, 4 months ago

You got the words wrong! It says "BEWARE of the Phog", not "be aware". Goodness! In other words, "Be afraid of the Phog" not, "Notice the Phog".

justinryman 11 years, 4 months ago

Sorry about that, just a typo, but I think you still got the point. If we were all perfect then what fun would message boards be?

REHawk 11 years, 4 months ago

Little wonder that the Jayhawk Nation overflows with followers. Just imagine, all those Lawrence kids who once garnered the golden offering of entering The Phog 10 times per season at a buck per session! Backdrop for an exciting documentary.

Ben Kane 11 years, 4 months ago

well this explains why google earth centers on Lawrence as the default when you open it. if you open it up and just zoom in you get to Lawrence. :)

SaulGood 11 years, 4 months ago

True! Even further, McClendon lived at Meadowbrook Apartments - ergo, not only Lawrence, but Meadowbrook is the center of the known universe. My wife worked there when photographers from Google came in and asked "Can we climb around on some of the rooftops and take pictures?" A hefty Rock Chalk to McClendon & Co. on including the absolute best hardwood haven in college basketball in more detailed form.

100 11 years, 4 months ago


You very well could have come up with the solution that fits all variables.

Build a small high security "structure" that is epic, inside the fieldhouse (I'm thinking a very small version of the Parthenon).

Now there's two smithsonian buildings a prospective thief has to deal with along with tons of security cameras & security officers, some of which are already employed there anyway.

Perhaps only 10 can fit to see the document at a time.

But since the Fieldhouse was originally supposed to be named after Naismith, & Lawrence was his first choice for a Basketball Hall of Fame, you have the perfect solution:

A smithsonian-type, highly secure but very small building inside Naismith/Allen Fieldhouse.

Hopefully there will be a public forum on this topic at some point.

Rock Chalk, Slayer

rcjhparker 11 years, 4 months ago

Will google earth take us into the locker rooms?

kcglowboy 11 years, 4 months ago

As a totally silly aside -- He paid too much for his tickets. As recently as the late 70s, students in K-12 could purchase a six-game KUBB (KU Basketball Booster) ticket for $1. Non-sellout games that weren't part of the KUBB six pack, we youngsters could buy single game GA tickets for $1. Many years, K-State was the only sellout, and that was several times by the K-State pep band and cheerleaders taking up seats in OUR arena. Seriously.

In other words, current and future students, enjoy this and don't ever take AFH for granted.

dtownhawkfan 11 years, 4 months ago

I'm glad they haven't updated Columbia, nothing worth seeing there anyway.

jaybate 11 years, 4 months ago

Soon, even our colons will be on Google Earth.

Jared Grillot 11 years, 4 months ago

There will have to be some serious discussions going on when the guys in that Google van drop by for those pics.

Steve Gantz 11 years, 4 months ago

OK, I zoomed down on it, had the 3d button checked but couldn't get inside the building. What gives?

Jaybate we've already seen inside your brain on

murph 11 years, 4 months ago

READ the article! It says, very clearly, "Next week Google Earth WILL open the doors on its virtual Allen Fieldhouse....." NEXT WEEK. Not today.

Steve Gantz 11 years, 4 months ago

Thanks, but I was confused because the buildings next door you can get inside. I have a reputation for not reading completely!

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