Sketchup Add location not working | End of Support Policy (Solved)

 Alright, you have your Trimble Sketchup version 2020 or whatever earlier version you are using, and you wanted to add location and bingo you realize your Geo-location option is not loading, just a blank page and it's not working at all, then you discover that your Sketchup version is unsupported and that the greedy Trimble wants you to pay more and upgrade to a recent version because they ended support for a 3 years old software Bla Bla Bla...

Sketchup Add Location not working

No problem, I show you how to add location in any Sketchup version for free and without signing in, in this 4 easy steps quick tutorial:

Step 1:

Download and install a Free Sketchup 7 or a Free Pro Version (if you don't mind), yes you heard it well Version Seven, from any source you want, there are still copies circulating everywhere on the web or may be nowhere, you can download from here a V7 Pro copy for both Mac and Windows (they will revert to free after 8 hours of trial use), open Sketchup and move to step 2.

Download and Install Sketchup 7

Step 2:

Download and Install Google Earth it will be used to import and insert Google earth terrain data into Sketchup.

Step 3:

Open Google Earth and type the desired location; town place or street address in the search bar, (you can also search by pasting coordinates of the location that you copied from Google Maps) and hit enter, navigate and zoom to the desired area you want to capture and make sure you are on top view and the north is oriented up (hit R shortcut button to align and center the view) make sure you have all layers turned off so they wont end up in the terrain texture, tick the terrain layer only.

Navigate Zoom to the desired location and center the view

Step 4:

Back in Sketchup, while Google earth window is still open, click the import terrain button(the native Sketchup geolocation plugin tool, can be also accessed from the tools menu > Google Earth > Get Current View) and Sketchup will immediately start importing the 3D terrain topography, in case Sketchup asks you to zoom a little bit, this means that the camera altitude is too high and thus the area you want to capture is too large, try to zoom in a bit in Google earth and hit the import button again.

In Sketchup click Get current View to import the terrain

Zoom in Google earth if the altitude is too high

Step 5:

Done! You can save your file and open it in any newer Sketchup version you want, PC, MAC or Ipad, and use it for whatever purpose you want, wait I said 4 steps?

Key Takeaways:

  • Google Earth is still providing new updated high resolution satellite images and terrain data.
  • Google Sketchup 7 both is still worth it, at least to add location and import topography.
  • Why buy the cow when you can get milk for free?

Now your Sketchup model is Geo-located, you can check this in the in bottom left corner icon that says it's geo-located or from th window menu > model info > Geo-location it will show a message saying "This model is accurately geo-located" with latitude and longitude coordinates.

Your Sketchup model is accurately geo-located

Your Sketchup model will include two layers / tags; one named Google Earth Terrain that contains the 3D terrain topography mesh, and the other named Google Earth Snapshot layer contains a flat surface snapshot, the snapshot can be used as a working plane and reference to place your 3D models, retrace roads, walkways and draw whatever you want then Drape or Drop them on your 3D terrain (Using the Sandbox tool or the Drop plugin), both layers contents are locked so you will need to unlock first before editing.

Manually Add or Reset Sketchup Geo-location:

From the same Geographic Location menu shown above, Geo-location can be added offline by clicking the Set manual location and entering the latitude and longitude coordinate (what some people call them GPS coordinates) this will give you accurate shadows based on that location, but no terrain topography.

Move Geo-location to the Moon

To reset or clear your Geo-location just click the clear location button you can then move the Geo-location to a different place or a different planet, yes why not Import something from Mars or from the Moon.

Sketchup Import Terrain From the Moon

Export Sketchup with geo location:

You can export your Geo-located Sketchup model as KMZ file format and share it with anyone, when you open the KMZ file it will be placed in it's exact location on Google Earth,  you can also use Sketchup 7 to  temporarily preview your Geo-located work in Google Earth without exporting to KMZ by Clicking the "Place Model" button  from there you can create and record walk-though animation, change sun and shadows export views with annotations and legends etc..

Google Building Maker Models / Nearby Buildings: 

To be able to view the old buildings in Google earth, you will need to go the preference settings and turn off Use 3D imagery from the preference window > 3D view Tab > Terrain hit OK to save the settings,  you may need to restart and don't forget to turn on the 3D Buildings in the layer section.

Turn off "Use 3D Imagery to see"

 You can clearly see the difference between  the Legacy 3D Buildings (Left) and the 3D Imagery (Right) in the examples below.


 Legacy 3D Buildings are the models that were modeled using the Google Building Maker, when you hover over any model it will highlight and show details, although links to the 3Dwarehouse are dead and everything changed, all models are still available in the the 3D warehouse, they can be accessed downloaded and added in-place from the components window >  Nearby Models category.

Nearby Models ad in-place a model

These buildings are fully textured and realistic models that can be used to create surroundings, add more detail and realism to your work, most of them are originally uploaded as lower versions so there will be no problem to download them from the Sketchup built-in warehouse window.

Nearby models

In case you downloading from the 3Dwarehouse website, manual work is needed, you can either download them as DAE or as lower SKP version (V2019 and V2020 for the moment).

Replace the imported texture with a high resolution one: 

If you are unhappy with snapshot/terrain texture that Sketchup imported, you can export a high resolution one from Google earth up to 8K, turn off everything in view menu to have clean shot, export your texture and reapply it to both Terrain mesh and Earth snapshot.

Replace texture with a high resolution one

You will need to keep the camera view fixed for both terrain import and high resolution export otherwise they won't overlap, import your texture in Sketchup and align it, set it as projected and apply it on both the snapshot plan and the 3D topography, make sure maximum texture size option in activated in the preference > OpenGL Tab.

Benefits :

  • Up to date high resolution satellite imagery, and terrain data for free, something magic happened a while ago and Sketchup 7 now imports colored images, the snapshot and terrain textures are no longer in black and white!  maybe it's the main reason why people forgot about it. 
  • Useful to make your 3D maps in Sketchup for whatever purpose; 3D rendering, 3D printing, export to illustrator, create walk-though animations, 4D building sequences etc..
  • You can go back to old images in Google Earth. 

Alternate way to get topography in Sketchup and add location :

People may suggest SU Placemaker, yes it's a very nice and powerful plugin that costs pfff I don't know how much for a subscription or to buy credits, as I said earlier in this post, you can use Cadmapper instead, it allows you to download 1 square kilometer, yes it's 1 damn free square kilometer and the results are very acceptable compared to what the new version of Sketchup Place maker is offering.


Placemaker apparently it's a powerful toy


This trick works literally for any Trimble or Google Sketchup version, Pro, Make, Free, Paid or Free Paid version,  previous current or future version you name it; 7, 8, 2013, 2014, 2015, 2016, 2017, 2018, 2019, 2020, 2021, to 2022, 2023 and 2024 versions in-case you are suffering from any bug, import errors or technical issues.

If you are happy and you like it clap your.. No don't clap anything, please share and post your comments, if you are facing problems to download or install Sketchup 7 (as it's a 32 bit software), you are using Sketchup on an iPad to add Geo-location, or your wife wants to add location, send me the coordinates you want to add and I'll try to help. Stay free!

Sketchup Add location not working | End of Support Policy (Solved) Sketchup Add location not working | End of Support Policy (Solved) Reviewed by Moh.G on June 14, 2024 Rating: 5

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