Import geotiff file - sanborn map

Hi – I have a georeferenced Sanborn map (from QGIS) that I want to import to Sketchup (geotif file). The file imports but I have to manually place it, even though the model is geolocated. How can I get Sketchup to recognize the coordinates of the image and place it correctly? Thanks.

Sorry but native SketchUp does not read the location information of geotiffs. It imports the image like a regular raster file.


Sketchup should develop this capability

I’m sorry to hear that. The specific project I’m working on is recreating 3D models of historic buildings using Sanborn maps. The Sanborn digital scans from the Library of Congress are brought into QGIS where they are georeferenced. Then in Sketchup the historic building model is created. Right now these “ghost neighborhoods” are being created using ArcCityEngine but I’m trying to migrate the project to Sketchup. It’s a cool project, and it would be so helpful to not have to manually locate each Sanborn map. Seems a shame, too, since the geographic information is in there. If you have any ideas please do let me know! And thanks.

Emily Talen
University of Chicago


One possible solution or a means to speed up the transfer of GIS data over into SketchUp might be through the use of the Speckle service. They have connectors for both QGIS and SKetchUp.

The proposed workflow for your GIS data could be…
QGIS > Speckle … > Speckle > SketchUp

Through the transfers, you even have the ability to convert your 2D footprints into 3D components in SketchUp.