Upcoming Change to Add Location



@Barry, calm down. I suggest you read my comment again and reconsider your


Just found this all out, after upgrading my 2015 licenses to maintenance for my 6 licenses…so $2400 to stumble upon this as I was doing a quick site plan for a client. I hadn’t been working on any preliminary site plans for the past few months and was unaware of the change or wasn’t aware how much it would impact my product to the client until I actually worked with it and found that not only “add location” gives you lower unworkable resolution…but also found that when I was going to map some imagery to contextual content - when I started extruding buildings and wanted to “Add Photo Texture…” that was where I was informed of the 5 year contract with Google that had expired and after I made do with just faceless blocks I came here to see what the F was up!

I’ve read about 75% of this thread…so I have seen the back and forth. As long as the SketchUp team is actively looking for a solution that will bring us a better solution and that this will get better, then I am okay to flounder for a little while - while they figure this out. If it persists…then I will become disgruntled.

The timing just happened to be horrible for us - spent $2400 the week prior to finding out and then having to use the feature when I didn’t have time to research alternatives.

I am looking for a viable alternative for both features I have lost and will be following this and any other thread that pops up on the subject. I am looking at a few links from this thread to tide me over until it gets “fixed”…so I thank those for offering work around and suggestions for the time being.

SketchUp Team - thanks for interacting with us and hope you guys can provide a solution that approaches or exceeds what we are used to having all these years.


I pay for maintenance therefore i will not wait and hope that enough people
find out about the bug before it is fixed. I am in Australia where we have
consumer protection laws,if a product as sold is not fit for purpose as
promoted than it is money back or discount. I am now bored with the excuses
coming from this forum. and being treated like some user of free software
when I am a professional user of the product. don’t bother to reply I have
heard enough


Sorry Barry, but loosing a major feature causes uprest.

I’m still happy with sketchup and can certainly move on, but many people here will definetelly not find where’s the humour on your post, I find it a bit dark, even if what you say is true.

What would help people make up their minds about what to do with sketchup in this case would be:

1 - Knowing if things will be as they currently are and nothing better will come along;
2 - Knowing if the 3dmesh will be available on all latitudes;
3 - Knowing if better imagery is going to come or not.

For what I read, I only believe #2 is to be fixed… I hope so as with that feature fixed and with Placemaker plugin, I can have the old functionality and better.


We all are beholden to google in some way for their “first one is for free” business model. It would seem that you (Trimble) have failed to recognized the end game. We (pro users) have anteed up for services you can no longer deliver. I do not assume to understand your relationship to google, but I’m guessing there was a chance to make this work that required a similar anti/leap of faith. It has been a great run. I hope you are able to sort this out.


Yikes, this is bad, really bad. A huge loss for Sketchup. I seriously hope this change turns out to only be temporary, because right now it’s a giant step backwards, and makes the add imagery feature unusable for site modeling (unless you’re dealing with huge areas where you never get down to building scale).

I did a little comparison to see just how terrible the new imagery is compared to what we had access to previously with Google, and there’s orders of magnitude difference - not just in the quality of the imagery, but also the terrain data, which appears to have gotten even worse than the imagery did.

Old Google Imagery:


… and the new version:

Trimble, I hope you figure something out soon - call Google, whatever it takes - because the current solution is unacceptable.


I came across this recreation of a friend’s outing using the ESRI database:


Interesting. I came across this method yesterday which seems promising: https://www.buzzfeed.com/benkreimer/google-earth-3d-for-vr?utm_term=.lbwKalOG1#.teN710Bdk

It’s a clever way of capturing 3d content out of Google Earth using photogrammetry tools available today, such as Autodesk Recap (which has a free version). You snap a bunch of different view angles from inside Google Earth, and it constructs a 3d model from the images. It’s ironic, because Google Earth itself is created this way from real photos out of airplanes, so you’re essentially repeating the process.

Unfortunately, the one example I tried didn’t seem to work- but it also was in an area that doesn’t contain photogrammetry data (so no blobby trees, houses, etc. to reference, just smoothed out terrain). I gather that is necessary in order for it to work, so most areas would still be unavailable outside of large cities. There’s also still a need to import that data into Sketchup - Recap creates obj. files, so you need an importing plugin to be able to bring in the materials (looks like there are obj. importers for Sketchup, not sure how well they work though).


It’s worth linking to another forum thread about a way to replace the Get Location ‘image’ with a high-quality, Google Earth Pro replacement ‘image’ - and using an extension to help automate the process…


A post was split to a new topic: LIDAR/GIS/etc in SketchUp


Nice, that’s helpful. It still doesn’t solve the problem of missing terrain data, but better than nothing.


I have developped a plugin (Oob terrain) to get elevations and create terrains.
It was originaly based on SRTM data and had the 60deg latitude limitation.
I have added another elevation source yesterday and it is now possible to create 3D terrains in Norway, Finland and any 60+ countries.
Maybe it can fit your needs.




Very cool. So I see the new elevation source is from Google Maps - perhaps that promises the same quality we had previously? I’m in the US (Oregon specifically), but only saw the SRTM data as an option - I gather the US isn’t one of the 60 countries? I would definitely buy your plugin if it offered higher resolution terrain - the SRTM data does appear to be slightly better than what Sketchup offers currently, but it’s still not detailed enough to be useful for most building sites.


The loss of Google imagery is definitely a blow and what is available now through Trimble is no longer acceptable. Are there design tools out there that are still able to use the Google Earth data? Sketch Up has been useful but if we have to pay for a new tool in order to use Google Earth data then I’d like to know my options. Anyone know what tool we can now use in order to have the functionality that we used to have with Sketch Up?


PlaceMaker seems to do the trick.


At $200 / $250. Some features don’t work very well in certain areas as it is dependent on OSM user data submissions.


Thanks for the suggestion but Placemaker does not work for my purposes. The satellite imagery is from Digital Globe, not Google Earth and thus does not have the image clarity that Sketch Up used to have.


I have just added the textures from Google map satellite imagery. It works quite well on the projects I have tested, I dont’ know much about the “old” data used in SketchUp and cannot compare the results.
Do not hesitate to try it for free: http://oob.duckdns.org/terrain/
PS: You need to re-install the plugin to see the “Google Elevation terrain” button.


would the available ‘Google Maps Elevation API’ not be an alternative solution?

The Google Maps Elevation API provides a simple interface to query locations on the earth for elevation data. Additionally, you may request sampled elevation data along paths, allowing you to calculate elevation changes along routes.