[Sandbox Tools] Elevation turns out flat

I have a pdf file of the contour lines I’d like to import into Sketch Up and use the sandbox tools to create the 3D landscape. First I opened the pdf in Adobe Illustrator to strip it back to just the contour lines i.e. delete title block and text etc. The file is a vector and each contour line is a distinct polyline - so far so good I think.

In illustrator I export the pdf file into something that I think Sketch Up will prefer - a dwg or dxf file. NB I don’t have autoCAD. Illustrator is the only vector based software I have.

In Sketch Up I import this dwg file and the lines seem to be considered a component (or a group?). I scale the whole thing so it’s the right size. Using the sandbox tool on the component doesn’t work so I exploded it. Now each contour line is made up of dozens of little line segments. I select all anyway and try the sandbox tool “from contours” and it seems to work except for the fact that each contour line is exactly the same elevation so the result is perfectly flat.

SO - how do I give Sketch Up the elevation data for each contour line? I doubt this data already exists in the original pdf file so I’m happy to go through the individual contours to apply an elevation height if necessary but firstly I can’t seem to select an individual contour - it’s either in the component or broken into many line segments - too difficult to select each collection of lines to make up each contour. Secondly, I don’t know where to access the Z axis elevation data.

A contour map is a flat representation of terrain. Instead of showing the contour lines at their actual elevations, which would make it not-flat, the lines are labled with their elevations. You can use it to create actual contoured terrain in SU, but you’re the one who has to convert text labels on the contour lines to actual elevations. That is, you must raise each contour line to the elevation denoted by its label, then run From Contours,

Triple-click to select an entire contiguous series of line segments (a contour line), then use the Move tool to raise the contour to the appropriate elevation.


Thanks. The triple click was the missing puzzle piece for me. Raising each line with the move tool didn’t take too long so I’m stoked. The resulting terrain has turned out just the way I wanted it.