Show terrain


I’m Using sketch up pro trial 2018 and a have successfully added a location to sketch up but the show terrain option isn’t working at all, my location is in Svalbard near the global seed vault, so I really need help.


Did you check your layers and hidden geometry?


yes nothing is hidden


Whenever I add location, the layer “ location terrain “ has visibility turned off.


There are quite a few parts of the globe they haven’t managed to get terrain data for, if I remember correctly it gets spotty from about 60deg up your way, I think you are up in the 70s so I suspect you may be out of luck.


ok but do you know another way to get it ?


Sorry, not really, perhaps local government has something. I know here on the opposite end of the world I can get terrain info from my regional planning website.
Maybe if I poke @thomthom he might have some idea as he’s from your Norway.


I got this from that area, but I noticed that some “area map grabs” produced terrain and some didn’t? Cannot determine why some do and some don’t ?

Other wise if you can get the contour data from a physical 2D map you could build the terrain manually:


oh yes I just tried to move the area and it worked, I think maybe the area I chose at the first place was high up a mountain so no terrain info for it, Thank you.


Saw this too, but not sure if it’s relevant?

Also, I believe terrain data that used to come from Google is now sourced from another entity as Sketchup?Trimble severed their ties with Google. Unfortunately Google data may of been better.


That’s not accurate. Google changed their terms of use regarding terrain data and imagery which required Trimble to find another source of that information. The data and imagery now comes from Digital Globe but it doesn’t come for free as it did from Google. Digital Globe offers different quality levels depending upon what you’re willing to pay for. Placemaker 2 is an available option for those who need higher quality location imagery.


What’s not accurate? Maybe I have misunderstood the deal… according to Jody @ Sketchup "We have a pretty big announcement coming down the pike that we feel you’ll appreciate knowing about sooner than later so you can plan accordingly. Specifically, we’re moving away from the Google provided geographic data.

This seems to imply that Sketchup is “moving away from Google”, or severing their ties as I put it. While Google may of changed their terms, Sketchup/Trimble chose not to continue the relationship, maybe because of cost? and switched providers. I don’t think Google could “require” Trimble to do anything?


Google took their toys and went home forcing SketchUp to change its source for terrain and location imagery. The Google data had been supplied to SketchUp at no charge. This was originally part of the reason Google bought SketchUp to begin with. When they sold off SketchUp to Trimble, part of the deal included allowing SketchUp to continue using the Google-supplied data for 5 years. After that, access to the data would be removed. That gave Trimble some time to sort out a new supplier for the data.

It has nothing to do with cost. The data just flat isn’t available from Google at all due to their terms of use.


I would guess that there are complicated legal reasons behind all this. Probably part of the Google data is open source or third party so they cannot easily redistribute or sell it so they keep things simple and allow viewing only. I wonder, though, how the media are doing it as I see regularly maps and aerial images credited to Google printed in newspapers.


It’s a good job that there was an alternative solution available at least! Obviously it made sense when Google owned Sketchup that that would be incorporated, ultimately for their own benefit. However, it’s strange that Google maps, Google earth etc. is freely available for public use in other capacities, but they chose to restrict it in this instance. They allowed five years of use to Trimble after the sale, but hard to get to the bottom of why that couldn’t/wouldn’t be continued?

Similarly, if the US government decided to switch off GPS we’d be in a similar bind as it relates to our dependence on this function these days… No doubt the “Musks” of the world would step in with an alternative, launch their own satellites?..but I’m sure we’d have to pay for it then.


You should read their terms of use. It’s very clear on specifying how their data can be used. Why they changed it is something I’ve never seen explained by anyone from Google. I expect Anssi is on to it. Probably not worth agonizing over, though. It is what it is.


I am the author of the “Sketchup importer dll for Norwegian… …cloud terrain maps” referred to above.
In Norway “kartverket” offers LIDAR scan raster maps for Norwegian territory - available for free via These LIDAR scans are continuously ongoing and the available database is growing in size.
The resolution they offer varies, 0.25 meter in central areas, 1.0 meter in less central areas.
The importer was intended for modelling the terrain near your house or property, to
accurate show your new house - or whatever - in its environment as exact as possible.
However, you can also download maps for mountaneous terrains and model it, for example Norway highest mountain shown here. Be aware though that the Sketchup files could get very large, if you use high resolution for an extensive terrain.
In the Norwegian database - at least until now - I have found nothing for Svalbard.
I hope this clears up what the “Sketchup importer dll for Norwegian…” really is. It also
has a documentation file. Happy Sketching.


Each city/municipal usually have some maps from their website or if you contact them.
There is also the national mapping service:

Awesome! :smiley:


I wonder if the LAZ format of our Finnish Lidar data, offered free by Maanmittauslaitos, is in the same format as the Norvegian.


Unfortunately, I do not think this is the same format as the ones I have dealt with so far.
Actually, in Norway the LAS files (LAZ are compressed LAS) are also available for raw data.
But, as I have consentrated on raster formats (with regularly spaced points in both X and Y
direction) I have not really needed to look into the contents of LAS-files as such. Maybe I
should take some few hours to have a quick look into a couple of LAS’es to see how data is organized?
Are you sure that “Maanmittauslaitos” (pardon my Finnish) does not offer an additional
raster format for treated data??