As-Built Measurements to SketchUp model?

Hi - I’m an architect with 40 years of experience, making the jump into a retirement practice doing residential projects in my hometown.

I’m measuring homes the old fashioned way, with a tape and sketchbook, then drawing up the model on SketchUp with the measurements and lots of photos.

I’m looking into buying a laser measurement tool and would appreciate recommendations. Also, is there a software program that would let me input measurements and draw the plan as I’m on-site?

Thanks for your help - I look forward to sharing whatever insights I can - having fun with this!

Check out this thread…

You might find this video interesting. Kinda expensive and state of the art, but provides some insight into how technology is finding it’s way into worksites.

Here is another approach using LiDAR.

Tap the blue Get Files button that looks like a banner ad at the bottom of the screen to e-mail yourself a PDF and a JPEG of your plan. The attachments will be heavily watermarked. To lose the watermarks or receive a DXF file to import into your CAD software, you’ll need to pay $2.49 (volume plans and monthly subscriptions are also available).

I am still a fan of the tape measure (I use a cheap laser distance meter, though) method. Another important thing to do when on site is to photograph, literally, everything. I have never managed to be as thorough in this as I should. When preparing the design, any minor detail might prove important (what is that duct in the corner? If I put the cupboard there, must all electrical wiring be moved?) Some people like the small 360 degree cameras and record a walkthrough. I have worked a little with point clouds and I rather hate them. The points form, as the name says, a cloud and to decide which one is the real location of the wall surface is difficult at least for me.


The Canvas app says it is compatible with Revit and SketchUp. Would be interesting to hear from someone who has tried it.

This is a more definitive video of an actual user experience. I would imagine the cad service option that delivers a SketchUp file would be of interest for commercial situations (architects, designers, etc.)

Hello Timothy,

I recommend to use this free and open source program to to triangulate 2D floor plans. SolveSpace - Download
It has parametric dimensioning and it has an dxf import and export function, so it works in combination with Sketchup.
If you use it on the job, installed on your laptop you will never have to go back to take a forgotten measurement.
Be course it has parametric dimensioning you will see emediately if you put in a wrong dimension.
You can even take control measurements to minimise measurement errors.


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Thanks - I have an older phone, but this may be the kick in the pants I need to get a newer one!

Wow - that looks great! I’ll check it out and get back to this forum.

I’ve started a late-life / “no, I’m not retiring” architectural practice, doing residential projects in my hometown, so tools like this will be a Godsend!


Thanks - this is very helpful!!!

I use a hybrid of measure with a laser distancer and steel tape and draw from the measurements, plus photography and Match Photo. Match Photo is not particularly accurate, so measure and draw what truly needs to be accurate, and use Match Photo to pick up some difficult details and add context. Here’s an addition to an existing house with textures on and off to see how much is just photo textures. The over all box is measured accurately, but the existing windows, siding, trim and all don’t have to be measured unless there’s something critical about them.

One possible tip using a laser by yourself: For exterior corners, bring a piece of white foamcore and some duck tape to tape it to a corner hanging out to give you a target to hit from the other end.

Probably more interesting than useful: There was a presentation at 3D Basecamp 2018 in Palm Desert on high end laser scanners, point clouds, and modeling with them in SketchUp (pictures here). The presentation was by Stangl Associates from Amherst, MA. Probably a good resource for commercial work, but over the top for single family residential.


Great - thanks!!! I’ve used Match Photo to do some quick doodles and practice, but you’re right about MP - tough to make even a good approximation of accurate (I was off by a foot overall on one of my tries, but then off by 9 feet on my next try!).

Love the tip about exterior corners!!!

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Hi there, I do this as part of my job, I use a Leica Disto accurate to 1.5mm. It can connect to a laptop and draw for you, but it assumes the building is square!

Without putting money in other tech pockets, I do feel by hand and tape or laser tape is most favorable. The scanning systems are complete over kill for less than historic buildings.

Thanks, BikerChris! I was just thinking the same thing. I did offer to do electronic plans of my local library, but the existing documents are very incomplete so my drawings so far are very rudimentary. It’s about 5000 square feet (just under 500 square meters), and I noticed that Canvas offers to provide drawings off scans for $0.10/sf, so I’m going to discuss this option with them.

My house projects are little renovations thus far, so I do think I’ll invest in the Leica Disto and hump things out!

I use a Faro 3D laser scanner to produce point clouds and the Undet extension to import the point clouds into SketchUp. The scanner cost about £40,000 and the Undet extension is now £94 per month but the accuracy is amazing.

There are agencies here that will do scans for a fee so you don’t have to purchase the scanner.

You’re very welcome sir!

Only personally, but when it comes to vectorising existing paper drawings, I tend to scan them (up to A0 size), import them into cad, then adjust the brightness so it’s easier on the eye. Once that’s done, I can then trace over using perfectly straight lines, correct layer conventions and include blocks where needed. This way, if anyone asks for drawing information (areas, door schedules, etc.), I can do it with ease. It is a hugely boring chore, but makes a nice clean drawing with minimal file size.

I think the latest Disto is quite expensive, but I do intend to replace my Leica Disto D8 soon - it’s had 12 years use, roughly 1-2 survey per week. I survey residential properties between 4000-15,000 square feet, I’m then appointed to create extension and alteration design, arrange builders, etc.

Here’s mine, incredibly impressed and probably my best investment.


Considering using Canvas and their .skp service ($0.15 PER SQFT). For a 2000 sq. ft. residential remodel, $300 seems reasonable. If you use the 2D (.dwg, .pdf) $0.10 PER SQFT service, I would be very interested in your feedback. Thanks.