Add Location on SketchUp Desktop

The Add Location feature in SketchUp helps make adding and managing geo-location imagery and data easy. Here, we'll cover how to import imagery, view terrain, locate your model, and delete imagery in SketchUp for Desktop.

Importing Map Imagery

To get started, select File > Geo-Location > Add Location... from the Menu bar.

You'll see the Add Location window. Once there, use these steps to import imagery and add geo-location data into your model:.

  1. Narrow down your location. Enter an address or location name in the search bar and click Search. Add Location zooms in on that location . You can adjust the zoom level using Zoom Level controls on the right side of the window.
  2. Choose a map type. Use the toggle or click on the thumbnail in the Map Type section to choose between a basic street map and a satellite/aerial view.
  3. Select a region. Clicking Select Region opens the Region panel and creates a selector box overlaying the map. Adjust the selector box to set your site boundaries.
  4. PRO & STUDIO Choose a resolution. Higher resolutions increase the level of detail you'll see when zoomed in. Using the slider in the Region panel, select a desired resolution.Your choice of resolution determines the map provider options available to you. Resolution does not impact the level of detail shown in the map previews.
    Tip: To optimize performance in Sketchup, import the immediate surroundings for your site at a high resolution and the outer regions at a lower resolution.
    Resolution Best for
    Very low Visualizing large areas of context scenery without affecting performance.
    Medium Visualizing proximate context scenery.
    High Adding detailed scale site imagery for presentation or tracing.
  5. PRO & STUDIO Choose a provider. SketchUp offers a choice of geo-location data providers based on your chosen resolution. Click a provider name in the Region panel to choose your preferred provider.

    Image quality varies by provider and depends on the method of capture, resolution, and the time of year when captured. We recommend exploring each available option to help choose which provider is best for your site.

      Digital Globe Bing
    Image type Satellite Satellite
    Resolution Low High
    Platform availability Desktop & iPad Desktop

    Selecting Digital Globe or Bing generates images using those respective providers.

  6. Import. After selecting a map type, region, resolution, and provider you're ready to go! Click Import or Purchase in the Region panel. Add Location imports a 2D plan of your map into SketchUp.

    If your selected region and resolution requires more than 1250 tiles your import will be blocked. If you receive this error, try decreasing the resolution or region size and importing again.

Tiles & import size limits

The tiles used to construct map imagery imports are 256 x 256 pixels. Switching on Tile Boundaries creates an overlay representing the location of each 256 x 256 pixel tile at the selected resolution. As you adjust the resolution you will notice more or less square tiles in the overlay. You can use this feature to get a better sense of how many map tiles you will be importing into your SketchUp file and ensure you stay below the 1250 tile maximum.

Viewing Terrain

Map imagery imported into SketchUp comes with terrain data. Using this terrain data allows you to upgrade your map imagery from 2D to 3D.

Once you've imported your map imagery, select File > Geo-Location > Show Terrain from the Menu bar.

For more information on how you can use 3D data to create other terrain representations, see Sculpting and Fine-Tuning Terrain or Placing Models and Objects on Your Terrain.

Adding More Imagery

After importing map imagery, you can always add more without changing the location you've already established for your SketchUp model. Select File > Geo-Location > Add More Imagery... to select a new region  and import new imagery.

Clear Location

Clear out all geo-location data using File > Geo-Location > Clear Location. This won't remove the imagery you've imported, but will remove the location data from the Model Info panel.

Deleting Imagery

To delete imported map imagery, use the Select tool and select the imagery. Unlock the imagery using Edit > Unlock > Selected or select Unlock from the context menu. Once the imagery is unlocked, you can delete the imagery just like you would any other geometry within your model.

Using Your Own Image

SketchUp allows you to replace the topography and images generated by Add Location with your own image. After using Add Location, Import the image you would like to add to your model.

Use vertical lines drawn from identifiable landmarks to match the scale and position of your image with the one generated by Add Location. Unlock the base image.

Use the Sample Material mode of Paint Bucket tool (Alt on PC, Command on Mac) on your imported image. You can then use the Drape mode of the Sandbox tool to further modify your image.

Once you've set up your imported image, you can switch on terrain and repeat the process, allowing you to turn terrain off and on.

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