Adding Geographic Data to Your SketchUp Model - dummies

Adding Geographic Data to Your SketchUp Model

By Aidan Chopra, Rebecca Huehls

When you add geographic data to your SketchUp model (also called geo-locating your model), you give it a specific latitude, longitude, and cardinal orientation based on an address, cross streets, or other information. That doesn’t sound like much at first, but here are three things geo-location enables you to do:

  • Perform accurate shadow studies. For most designer-types, this is probably the biggest benefit of geo-locating a model. With a latitude, a longitude, and a cardinal orientation, SketchUp’s shadow engine can display crazy-accurate shadows for any time of day, any day of the year.
  • Build photo-textured context models. If you’re designing a building, it’s probably surrounded by other buildings, and those other buildings are probably major influences on the design of your building, no? Wouldn’t it be nice to have them in your model? You can combine high-res, color, aerial (taken by airplanes or satellites) imagery with street-level photography to build the quickest, most useful context models you’ve ever had. Heck — you might not even need to visit the site in person. Check here to find an in-depth YouTube tutorial on just this subject.
  • View your model in Google Earth. After your model understands where on the planet it belongs, you can easily export the model file and send it to your copy of Google Earth. Flying from the Eiffel Tower to the Taj Mahal and then to your proposed new tool shed gives your design a level of seriousness that proclaiming, “Look what I’ve spent the last 37 hours working on!” to your spouse simply can’t match. It’s also impressive to clients.