Job site Measuring import into Sketchup

Ah, the 360 camera! Good idea - hadn’t thought of that one. I have one of those, so will test it out on the next job. Hopefully it will pick up that obscure molding profile that I was sure I got, but didn’t.

As @RTCool said, the price of a fancy scanner is hard to justify for occasional use.
I think documenting field measurements directly into SU is the way to go.
A laptop (with numeric keypad) and a video camera for photos and audio notation.

With all its expertise in the field, Trimble should/could have a scan service?
I used the Leica disto as well as some of its lasers.
Leica has a scanner for ~$17000
Trimble start with a triple of that

SaaS - Scan as a Service

I am wondering if there is an app or devise that I can use to go into a space and photo or scan that will have the measurements embedded into it. and then i can upload it into Sketchup to build the model.

I am trying to get away from manually measuring every wall, window, door, molding…

I suspect that if you are unable to read beyond the first part of the first reply then you’ll be needing one of those expensive solutions where for many thousands of dollars you get a device that does the work of one man with a tape and pencil, albeit less accurately.

Ok…well if you find anything like that please share…until then…I guess just grin and bear it.


Those fancy measuring devices are one of the things that Trimble do …

Like several others here, I use a Leica Disto laser measure (along with a tape, pad and pencil). Leica has two different Disto apps — Plan and Transfer — that directly utilize the captured measurements.

The ‘Sketch Plan’ and ‘Smart Room’ functions in the Plan app generate measured plans on-device, but I find it mostly unusable — due to my combination of old eyes and small device screen — though I think it could work well with an iPad. Until I acquire a tablet though, I currently sketch out room plans on paper and attach the relevant dimensions.

I use Plan primarily for it’s ‘Sketch on Photo’ function: where the measurements are overlaid on the site photos. I take a whack of detail photos with every conceivable unique measure, then refer back to them when I building my model.

The ‘Transfer’ app allows direct interactive drawing into AutoCad or BricsCad (or capture into an Excel spreadsheet). But it only works on PC, so I haven’t used it and can’t vouch for how it works.

More here:

I imagine an app that uses a Disto in combination with a laptop. Or even a scanner. But instead of just scanning points, a device set up in the middle of the room would identify wall surfaces, ceiling heights, doors and windows and (with some help from the user) record them in a rectilinear plan, even a simple model.

I have experimented with iPad apps but there’s usually something that makes them undependable and I just feel silly walking about with a tablet up in front of my face.

There’s some value in having the knowledge staff gains by going over every part of a building in order to measure and photograph it.


Depending on the job $$$ of course, there ARE incredible scan technologies, and they’ll be cheaper over time. SketchUp would die with just a tiny piece of the resulting model. I like where they send drones in that just keep searching the building until it’s all recorded.

I like your idea: that the scanner would operate to identify surface planes and build a simplified but accurate model from that — perhaps with the option to ‘idealize’ the model: i.e. making it plumb, level and square.

In fact it would be nice to have both versions modelled: the actual (imperfect) model could be compared with the idealized one and any issues identified that fall outside of a user-defined tolerance range.

I can see many advantages from the current 3D scanners, which essentially generate a massive point cloud — which then has to go through a series of transformations to become usable in a SketchUp context.

Checkout Undet:

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I posted pictures from the 3D Basecamp session on laser scanning here given by Stangl Associates using Undet. Essentially their method looked like tracing over the scan while building the model in SketchUp. It still takes a person with knowledge and experience making decisions while modeling.

That’s a good description of their demonstration.


That looks great!

Yeah, you lost a key, I lost my Stick of Knowledge at their preso.

This seems Sketchy: (3D scan for everyone)

You can hire a photographer…

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More recently, I’ve been using a combination of the Leica Disto X4 and Leica DST 360.

The Leica DST 360 mounts on a tripod and the X4 is attached to it. It does Point to Point measurements, and can measure an entire room from one spot.

It connects via Bluetooth to the Leica App, which I use in my iPhone. It does also work on the iPad, but the iPhone is more convenient.

The App can export DWGs too, which can then be imported into Sketchup. Full blown PDFs can also be exported, which give areas, volumes etc.

So far, I have found this to be really accurate for measuring the room.

For any detail areas, I take the X4 of the adapter and use it, along with a tape measure, to get the details I need.

Like everyone else, I take loads of photos.

Even with all this, I always seem to miss something though :face_with_symbols_over_mouth:



There is little possibility that any current technology will be capable of providing the accuracy required by most design professionals simply because of the distortions inherent in a lens, and an inability to see around corners from a fixed point. Software can correct a lot of course, but needs to use assumptions to do so.

What accuracy do you need?
And how much data & detal do you want to collect?
Does it need to be used for legal purpose (land parcel boundary definition or setout of critical structural elements?)

If you want best accuracy and lots of data (point cloud), and you need it to be referenced to a realworld (legal) co-ordinate system for setting out boundaries and building footings etc, then get a Trimble SX10 scanning total station. It flows through to Sketchup via Trimble Business Centre, which is quite intuitive and efficient.

If you just want topographical measurements then get a GPS/GNSS (RTK-based) system (Trimble R10).

If you want accurate and quick measurements of buildings then get a laser disto (and do lots of manual measurements) or basic tripod-mounted scanner (TrimbleTX6/TX7).

These will take photos as you go,and the SX10 (not sure about TX) will colour the points so you get a ‘virtual 3d photo’ as your output. This means your measurements are done by navigating around a fairly life-like 3d environment and ‘‘joining the dots’’ - this is great for doing complicated environments with lots of details. You build a 3d model of the site (down to millimetre accuracy) by taking several scans from different parts of the site/building (so nothing is obscured). You wont miss anything and won’t ever worry about accuracy.
In my experience, the use of a laser Disto fo a complicated environment requires a lot of measurement and plent of assumptuoins (eg if you measure between two walls, how many times to you have to meausre 'til you’re sure that the walls are parallel and straight? A 3d scanner will reveal if the wall is true or a tiny bit skewed.

I’m sure leica and topcon have similar products, but I havent used them, and they wont work with TBC which works with SU natively.


Take a look at Magic Plan for the iPad. Each new room is measured and drawn as a separate layout and then dragged to join with the layout completed at that point. Any doors and openings at the adjoining walls are automatically set.

The benefit for complex plans is that while you are developing the plan, any chases, voids etc. are revealed as you drag new rooms into the plan. This also is a double check of incorrect measurements.

Additionally, there is a point a measure feature allows you to measure the entire room standing at one spot in seconds with doors and windows included and is surprisingly accurate. A laser is BlueTooth linked so no notes required for the spot-on measurements. Door swings, fixtures etc. are draw and drop.

Really is revolutionary for the as-builts.

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I ended up going with CanvasIO 3d scanner. the measurements are not EXACT but ■■■■ close certainly close enough to bid/ bill of materials and make drawings for permits. Thanks for the help and responses.