How to get GPS data from phone to SketchUp?

I would like to get GPS data into SketchUp. I can get a Google Earth map into SU. There are phone apps that record tracks (where you walked or drove) and waypoints (particular spots that you want to locate). Does anyone know a good phone app for collecting the GPS data? And how to get it transferred to SketchUp?

Maybe this post can help?
SketchUp as a hobby.

The post is very interesting. Looks lie he did exactly what I want. But he doesn’t tell how he did it. Any idea?

The hiker was able to generate a KML file which was imported into Google Earth. The actual terrain data was imported from the US Geological Survey. The Google Earth imagery was used to texture everything.

Can you create a KML file of your phone data? There are some websites that will do this for you.

I have been importing terrain data with File>GeoLocation>Add Location to get Google Earth terrain with aerial photo incorporated on it. If I can find an app that creates KML data, can I import it to SketchUp? If so, How?

How does one import USGS terrain into SketchUp?

I’ll see what I can come up with for you …

I use a plugin with values that I modify for each individual case. I haven’t made it generically user-friendly yet. If you have the latitudes and longitudes of any two diagonal corner points of the area you want, I can import it for you (the USGS only covers the United States).

You can also grab STL files from here: Terrain2STL and then import them into SketchUp.

Thank you.
Is there a benefit to using the USGS data rather than the Google Earth terrain? The Google Earth terrain is very easy to import and has the color aerial on it.

It mostly depends on how large an area you want to import and the resolution you want to work with. The built-in SketchUp import for Google Earth data is easy to use, but is limited to about two kilometers on a side. Anything larger needs to be tiled from multiple imports and this can be frustratingly difficult to align the tiles. In practice, a reasonable limit on the number of triangles used in a TIN is in the hundreds of thousands. This means that an imported area should be sized about 500 x 500 grid points or so … for a small area, USGS data has 1/9 arc-second resolution (about 3 meters) whereas you can use the 1 and 2 arc-second datasets for much larger areas. I usually grab data from here:,nedsrc&title=3DEP%20View

KML files are specially formatted XML files. When zipped together, they are called KMZ files. You can unzip KMZ files by simply renaming them to ZIP type.

I have two different samples from KML files… both of which have a list of coordinates for the entire track as one line in the KML file near the beginning. For example:

    <coordinates>-112.30875078588724,33.90607682056725,517.4000244140625 -112.3087649513036,33.90607665292919,517.4000244140625 ... -112.33907047659159,34.205961702391505,1727.5999755859375 -112.33908263035119,34.205959774553776,1727.5999755859375</coordinates>

The “<coordinates>” tags bracket a string that contains 291,429 characters separated by spaces and commas (I used the ellipsis […] to indicate the missing data above). In Ruby, you can split this string on the spaces and then split each result on the commas. This gives you an easy way to extract the 5,400 x, y, and z coordinates.

Another example:

McDowell Loop 18 W/Cary Generated by #gpsiesStyle 1 1 1 -111.85781,33.649179,526 -111.857796,33.649185,526 -111.857783,33.649191,526 ... -111.857929,33.649152,525 -111.857982,33.649209,525 -111.858012,33.649248,525

In this case, the string length is 99,475 and contains 3,559 waypoints.

An observation about resolution: The coordinates in decimal GPS form are often too close together to create a line (or edge) between them. For example:

-111.857929, 33.649152, 525
-111.857982, 33.649209, 525

Unless these numbers are scaled substantially, they will be treated as coincident points.