Geographical location for Shadows


How do I set my ‘shadows’ so that the elevation of the sun is correct for my geographical location?



Brilliant and thanks. I have to confess that when I went into model info, I found that I had already set it to my little village, so I have obviously asked this question before and forgotten.

Sorry to sound dumb, but how do know where North is?




By default green axis is north, but you can change it with extension “Solar North”


Thanks, I sort of figured that would be the case, but have some tricky problems to solve on a project I am working on and need to get the solar absolutely correct.

Thanks again,



Solar north slightly changes the north<>south direction of your modeling space to get shadows correct. No need to then change it again with a plugin.
You (should) know how your model/project is aligned in real world. Use this info to rotate your model accordingly towards SketchUp’s system north, the green axis.


Thanks – I appreciate the info. I now have it sorted and working perfectly.



Hi again Robert,

Just one other question.

If I set my ‘site’ to North, then my model goes off from the ‘x & y’ co-ordinates, which means that everything I draw becomes more difficult because lines don’t automatically snap to them. Can I re-set ‘x & y’ so that lines do snap to them?




If you have this situation, and this box is your house (etc), walls are not parallel to axis.

Make a group and inside this group set different location/orientation of axis. This will be solve your snapping problem inside this group.


Thanks Robert,

That sorts out my problem.

Best regards,



Save scene(s) with the redrawn/changed axes to save you the time to redo this each time you need them.


There are four parameters you must set to display shadows that accurately portray the real world:

• Geographic Orientation — Relationship of True North to the model.
• Geographic Location — Latitude and Longitude
• Time — Year, Month, Day, Hour and Minute
• UTC Offset — The difference between local time and the Coordinated Universal Time standard.

By default, the solid green Y Axis is true north in SketchUp.
The same is true if you geo-locate the model via Model Info > Geo-location > Set Manual Location

However, the Y Axis is no longer true north if you geo-locate the model via SketchUp’s Add Location.

The simplest and most direct approach to shadow analysis is to build the model along the Default Axes.
Then, geo-locate the model via Model Info > Geo-location > Set Manual Location
Install the Solar North plugin (SketchUp Pro only) and use it to set true north in relation to the model.

You can verify your model with data from the United States Naval Observatory:

Complete Sun and Moon Data for One Day: Locations Worldwide

Sun or Moon Altitude/Azimuth Table: Locations Worldwide


Thanks for the help, got it working.


If we help you please like our answers :wink:


Hi Robert,

I’m not finding a ‘Like’ icon anywhere on the emails. If you can guide me on that I’ll hit it with pleasure.



There are some rules in FAQ

“Rather than posting “+1” or “Agreed”, use the Like button. Rather than taking an existing topic in a radically different direction, use Reply as a New Topic.”


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