Creating a mountain trail map

I’m interested in being able to create a mountain scene complete with walking trails, obstacles, lakes, etc. This is a classroom application and it would continue to iterate. Would sketchup be a good solution?

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Could be that SketchUp would be a good choice. Do you have any examples of the style of map you’re interested in creating? Is your map going to be of a fictional area or someplace that really exists?

There are some things that might be easier in SketchUp Pro depending on what you need. There are educational licenses available if you need to go that route.

It is a fictional area that creates imagery for children to represent ‘higher levels’ in the curriculum they are studying. (As they work harder and climb higher, they get access to more cool things on the mountain.) I don’t have a good example to show and am wide open to start. Currently it is nothing more than a white-board idea complete with lakes, animals and trees. Can you point me to any samples that sketchup has of things that might be in this ballpark?

I’m not sure of anything specifically along those lines but it certainly wouldn’t be difficult to draw out a map and add materials to represent water, grass, trees, etc. If you don’t need 3D terrain, it’ll be easier but then, if you don’t need 3D, you might be better off using a 2D program like Paint or something.

This will be eventually printed out on a large poster so I’m not sure how it influences the 3D need. Sounds like experimenting w/ SketchUp and Paint (not familiar with this one) is a good move. Thanks for your help on this. Much appreciated.

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Great question! It’s definitely possible in SketchUp. You can make organic landscapes with the Sandbox toolset (View > Tool Palettes > Sandbox), the “Eneroth Fractal Terrain Eroder” extension, the Bitmap to Mesh extension, and/or the “Artisan Organic Toolset” Extension (15 day free trial / $39). Artisan is my personal favorite method for creating terrain, but it’s possible to make terrain with all of them. You can add vegetation or animals by looking up transparent images on Google Images, then making them into 2D face-me components. You can make lakes by grouping a plane, then placing it into a valley. The “Instant Road NUI” extension allows you to make high quality pathways. Also, SketchUp is great for modeling obstacles.

I modeled this skate park with SketchUp in one day… It took me about 10 hours though. It has some terrain, obstacles, and plants.

If you want to make something more realistic, the “Skatter” extension (€99) would help… It’s amazing what they can do in SketchUp.

DISCLAIMER: Most of these things are not possible in SketchUp for schools. Although, it is possible with SketchUp Make or SketchUp Pro.

Unfortunately @Forestr a lot of what you have suggested is not possible with Sketchup for Schools.

Assuming this is so because of lack of support for plugins?

Yes, it doesn’t support plugins yet and to the best of my knowledge doesn’t even have sandbox.

Oh, I thought he could use SketchUp Make… I guess he could make low poly terrain (with smoothed edges), then download components (2d trees, people, etc.) from the 3D warehouse to make his mountain scene.

Everything is possible but you should be more specific about things that are outside the realm of either the question asked or the Category in which it has been asked.
It may well be that the OP can use Make or Pro as @DaveR mentioned above but your post suggests to users of Sketchup for Schools that these things are available in that specific app.

It could also be that the category name is confusing the OP and he simply wants to know if Sketchup would be appropriate for his use in a school environment.

Just wanting to clarify things as there are a number of conflicting names and meanings around now.


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