Add Location

SketchUp's Add Location feature helps you geo-locate your model to a precise location. This feature imports map imagery and terrain data. SketchUp stores your geo-location data as latitude and longitude coordinates in your model. These coordinates are then used by SketchUp, or other applications, to enhance your model.

Add Location can only geo-locate your model on Earth. Sorry folks, Mars isn't an option.

The capabilities of Add Location vary depending on what version of SketchUp you are using.

  SketchUp Free SketchUp Go SketchUp Pro SketchUp Studio
Street map
Standard resolution satellite imagery   iPad only
High-res satellite imagery    
Aerial imagery    
Terrain   iPad only
Resolution control    

What You Can Do With Add Location

Show Your Model With Surrounding Context

With Add Location you can accurately visualize your model in its correct location and bring key views to life. Enhance your model with its surrounding context by adding it on top of 2D imagery or 3D terrain.

Add even more detail using satellite imagery as a reference, allowing you to model surrounding buildings, roads, and green spaces.

Understand Site Conditions

Add Location can help get your project started before receiving surveys or even visiting the site. Studying the imagery and terrain you see when geo-locating your model provides a better understanding of your site's details that may affect your design. Examples include:

  • Topography affecting placement of buildings
  • Site boundaries and associated setbacks
  • The impact of nearby buildings or trees on views
  • Vehicular and pedestrian site access

Shadow Studies

Using Add Location to geo-locate a model helps SketchUp more accurately represent how shadows appear within your model. Add Location helps:

  • Make sure shadow visualizations aren't misleading.
  • More accurately assess how shadows appear in relation to your designs.
  • Determine how surrounding objects or architecture create overshadowing within your model.

How SketchUp uses Add Location data

Imagery Tiles to SketchUp Materials

After importing from data with Add Location, SketchUp merges the 256 x 256 pixel map tiles into larger sized images, creating SketchUp .skm files. .skm files are similar to the Materials applied by the Paint Bucket tool.

In order to display the Add Location imagery at full resolution, it's often necessary to break a site up into images that can be handled by your graphics hardware. The maximum size image for SketchUp materials depends on your graphics card. This can range from about 1024 pixels square up to 3072 pixels square. If you need to edit the imagery file inside the skm files keep in mind that you might have to edit multiple images. For more information on editing SketchUp Materials files see Editing Materials in Adding Colors and Textures with Materials.

Importing Large Amounts of Data

Importing lots of tiles can quickly add several dozen all the way up to several hundreds of Mb worth of imagery data to your model. In order to keep SketchUp performing well, think about what resolutions you might need. For example you might want to import a small region at very high resolution and use lower resolution data for the outer regions of your site.

Note: As you add imagery and information to your model, the performance will suffer. Be sure to read more about Improving Performance in SketchUp to keep your model running as smooth as possible.

Want to see how it works? Choose your preferred SketchUp platform below to get started:

SketchUp for Desktop SketchUp for Web SketchUp for iPad

Need help? Visit Troubleshooting for some solutions.

Was this article helpful?