Google Earth/Maps markup to Sketchup

Hi there,
I’m an estimator from a civil engineering construction background. I’ve been dabbling in Sketchup for a few years now and starting to get to some form of decent output. I’m convinced there’s a lot more here for the construction game and the particular task in mind could help us a lot.

  1. So I’d like to create mark-ups in Google Earth or Google Maps
    a. These need to be fairly accurate, i.e. traffic management – which lanes are live at various stages of the job, mark up existing features that need demolishing, etc.
    b. Why Google Earth or Maps. Most on site know how to do this but that’s as far as their skills go. It’s also very quick and being able to trace along an aerial photo is what we need.

  2. Then take these mark-ups to Sketchup and produce quality documents to help run the job.

I spent a good few hrs last night trying to figure this out but got the ongoing error message when trying to import .kmz files
So any help and advice would be greatly appreciated.


A kmz file is actually a zipped archive containing several parts. Of these parts, SketchUp can only export and import an embedded Collada (.dae) file. I am pretty sure that the mark-ups you create in GE or GM are captured in a different part of the archive in the KML (Keyhole Markup Language) that SketchUp does not and never has been able to process.

thanks Steve
That’s what I was getting last night.
But being an optimist I can’t see why, in this modern happy world of ours, the 2 can’t somehow talk to each other! Sounds like my teenage kids!
if no way then I guess this could be my 1st attempt at creating an extension.

Any others out there found a way of doing this?
I know you’re out there as I found a good few ? on this last night.
Could be worth ganging up shouting from our little corner of the playground.

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You could use an intermediary program like QGIS that reads KMZ, then export to a format that is SU-friendly. QGIS is open source and free.

See below for process.
Step 1. Draw your Path in GE. Then ‘Save as’ KMZ.

Step 2. Open your KMZ in QGIS. Then export to DXF format. No need to do anything else in QGIS. If someone else knows a better way to convert KMZs please do tell.

Step 3. Import the DXF into a Geo-Located SU model. Unfortunately you lose the real-world positioning of the path when going changing to DXF. There’s always some trade offs. But just realign manually or using reference snapshot from original GE map.

Step 4. Use SU’s Sandbox tools to ‘Drape’ the boundary over terrain layer if so desired. That’s it. 10 mins of work. Not too bad once you’ve installed QGIS.

Or you can try this method from older post: How to import the attached kmz into SketchUp? - #2 by Geo. Haven’t tried it but seems a but labor intensive and may or may not give exact result you’re looking for.

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thanks Eric
I’ll give it a go
hang you’d think that this would be easier, seeing how useful it can be!

I believe that all data in KML is geographic, so import into a SketchUp file that isn’t geolocated would seem impossible since there is no other relationship between geographic and SketchUp coordinates. Beyond that it would be an issue of finding correspondences between KML elements and SketchUp entities. I haven’t studied KML for a while so I’m not certain how good or bad a match there is, but it seems like it ought to be at least theoretically possible - certainly for basic things such as lines and polygons.

thanks Steve
I guess kml would be very similar to kmz, i’ll do some reading up so no need to explain for me.
hopefully someone has stumbled upon an easier way than above
other wide I’ll let you know how I get on with above method

I’m curious why you don’t just geolocate the model and use the maps provided?


You mean export the map as 2D from google earth and drape over Geo-located terrain in SU? That would work. Only issue is whether there’s any need for the path to be live or be able to put on separate layer. I guess @Ed_68 didn’t specify what format he wanted to work with the path lines / mark-ups.

thanks for all your comments.
Where I’m heading is to create a layer in Google Earth or Google Maps, where others not versed in Sketchup or CAD, can add usefull stuff to easily.
Say for roadworks. Overlay the new road configuration onto Google Maps. then others can comment on this in a live forum.
We usually get this stuff from others scribbled on A3 hard copies then have to manually load this up onto something presentable. then other sit around a table and tell you how you’ve interpreted there scribbles incorrectly.
So if these others can make there scribbles direct onto Google Maps, with the new layout plan layer visible, would increase our collaboration 10 fold.
there you go, I think that should help you see where I’m heading.

Did some quick sleuthing, stumbled across this:

No idea if it will work or do what you need, and it’s just as messy of a process as the one above with QGIS, if not messier. But it is another option.

KML (keyhole markup language) is the name of the file format, KMZ the name of the zipped version (but contains the same files).

There exists an extension KML Importer probably for exactly what you need, that imports all geometry, lines, polygons, map overlays. But it is unmaintained.

So it sounds like instead of bringing KMZ/KML info into SU, you’d rather go the other way? And are you wanting to overlay a 3D model or just a 2D image over your map?

Seems like creating a custom Google Map is the way to go. Have you looked into anything like this: ?