How to geolocate a model & preserve scenes

I have a model of a building. It was not geolocated. After finishing the building I wanted to geolocate it. I opened another drawing and went to File>Geolocation>Add Location and grabbed the location for the building. I then loaded the building as a component and rotated and placed it on the location. Now I had the building as a component in a new drawing properly geolocated. However, in the original drawing I had a large number of scenes carefully organized (with different styles, layers on/off, etc) including a series for an animation. These were all lost in the new drawing.

Is there any way to geolocate my original model without losing the scenes?
Is there any way to copy/transfer scenes from one drawing to another?

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Geolocating is unrelated to scenes. You should be able to geolocate any model. If you don’t want to pull in Google Earth terrain or image, click the “Set Manual Location…” button in Window->Model Info->Geo-location and enter coordinates there.

Regarding your second question, no, I don’t believe it is possible to transfer scenes from one model to another.

one way…
File >> Save As will transfer all the scenes and layers into a new model…


“You should be able to geolocate any model. If you don’t want to pull in Google Earth terrain or image, click the “Set Manual Location…” button in Window->Model Info->Geo-location and enter coordinates there.”

I tried that. Here is the problem.
If I use File>Geolocation>Add Location and grab the location, the Google Earth imagery is far from my building. So the building is not really geo-located. I can locate it by moving the building so that it is properly placed over the imagery. When I do that the scenes no longer work. I believe that is because the camera location for the scene is unchanged so that when the building is moved the camera is looking at empty space.

Also, if you rotate the building to get North correct, the scenes don’t make sense because the camera location wasn’t rotated and now you are looking at the building from a different direction.

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It sounds like you have model coordinates issues. When you geolocate a model, the origin point of the model is placed at the given geo-coordinates. If that puts your model off center with respect to the earth imagery, it sounds like the model contents are offset from the origin. Also, the cameras used by scenes are anchored to the model coordinates, not to the model contents. They will not follow if you move or rotate the model.

Followup: This begs the question “why did you locate your model contents away from the origin?”.

Locating a building at the origin of the model doesn’t resolve the problem. What part of the building or project (in my case there are multiple buildings) is placed at the origin is arbitrary. It could be at any of a number of spots.

When you get a geolocation with File>Geolocation>Add Location and grab the location you are getting an area (which you select and can vary in size and content). How do you know what part of that area is the origin?

Also, accurately locating the one point in the building (a point at the origin of the model) still doesn’t give an accurate position because the building may need to be rotated. You would need geolocation of at least 3 points.

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I would be very interested to know how the origin of the area grabbed with Add Location is set?

The area you grab is, I understand, centered at your model origin.


Is there a way to move or rotate the camera for a scene along with the contents?

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You seem to have some basic misunderstandings about what model coordinates and geo-location mean.

When you geolocate a model, you are telling SketchUp that the origin point of the model corresponds to the real world coordinates of the location you selected. When you select a region using the UI, that location is the center point of the image you grabbed from Google Earth. Also the image is oriented in your model so that solar north (that is, the direction of shadows at local noon) is along the positive green axis. You can subsequently rotate the north direction with the Solar North tool (optional extension), though that affects only shadows.

So, the positioning and orientation of objects in your model is not at all arbitrary if you intend to geolocate it. They must be placed in the model at the same relative locations with the respect to the model origin as they would be with respect to the geolocation coordinates and everything must be modeled at real size.

Edit: It occurred to me after writing the above that the image and terrain imported from Google Earth are just groups within the model. Instead of moving or reorienting the other model contents, you can move or reorient the image and terrain until your buildings lie where you want (provided you grabbed an area that covers your intended actual location so you don’t fall off the edge). If you rotate the image and terrain, shadows won’t go in the right direction unless you also rotate solar north.

I’m not aware of any such tool or technique, and I suspect it would make it impossible (or at best, confusing) to use the move and rotate tools.

I guess I’m not explaining myself well. I started drawing the buildings without intending to geo-locate them. I have a number of buildings and a lot of drawing done. Since when I started I didn’t intend to geo-locate, the position of the origin is arbitrary. That is where I am at now and I am now trying to geo-locate the project. I was able to do that by grabbing an area, then loading my model as a component and placing it on the terrain at the required point. This entailed both placing a point in the model on the appropriate point on the terrain and then rotating it so that it is properly oriented. I wouldn’t have any problem except that I lost a whole lot of scenes, way more than I am happy to reconstruct. So I was hoping to find another way to do this.

Did you see my last minute edit to the post above? You may be able to geolocate the original model file and then shift the image and terrain over to (reverse) align it with your model. Move the mountain instead of the guru, so to speak.

did you try ‘Align View’ ?


That moves the model’s “working axes”, but doesn’t affect geolocation, which is still tied to the real model axes.

Thanks for these ideas. The main lesson for me is: always geo-locate your model. It will save problems later. In many cases I just want to get going on a few elements of the building and do the geo-location later. But that is clearly a mistake.

I successfully geo-located the buildings without too much trouble. The problem I face In this case is losing the scenes which are fairly complex. About 40 of them. Each has its own combination of layers turned on or off (out of about 100 layers), camera location, and style. I hate the thought of trying to reconstruct each of them in the new geo-located model.

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