Upcoming Change to Add Location



Trimble made the deal with Google and didn’t arrange for a suitable (at least as good) replacement for paying Pro users. Trimble bears the responsibility, not Google.


Yes, Trimble is paying attention. Unfortunately this isn’t a post about soliciting feedback about whether or not we should do it, this is instead an announcement for folks to make sure you have time to start planning for the change. As mentioned, there are plugins and workarounds for some data which is the best course of action moving forward.

Unfortunately because we’re losing access to the data, reverting to older versions won’t change the behavior so the Google Earth export workaround or plugins mentioned in this thread are the best way to move forward with geo-located models if you’re needing the imagery.


The DG image appears to be relatively ancient compared to the Google image.
In Google’s image, notice the tree growth and new homes built since the DG image was taken.


The big difference between Digital Globe and Google data is that Google is collecting most of their imagery with a plane rather than a satellite. If DG starts collecting aerial data with planes then we, ideally, will also start having access to that data.


DG claims to “offer the highest quality satellite imagery in the industry” down to a resolution of 25 cm… the question is, which resolution does Trimble have ordered?


The worst problem with the images I saw was that they were taken at a rather low angle which causes quite Irritating distortion. Maybe they are covering the globe in too few images taken.


We are displaying the highest resolution imagery available from DG. 25cm resolution means that a single pixel in the imagery, covers approximately a 25cm x 25cm area.

The distortion is unfortunately a side effect of images take from satellites because a single image covers such a wide area. The priority from a provider like DG is typically focused on getting cloud-free views at a time of day that minimizes the length of shadows. Its not easy to cover the entire globe with those restrictions.

The other thing I’d like to mention is the core use case for Add location is - to approximately locate a building on a site. Trimble is not intending for the imagery to be used for geo-modeling or survey purposes. Users who require a high level of accuracy from their imagery should be sourcing their imagery from a reliable provider. I will see if I can get some recommendations and add those to the help center article.

One last thing, It appears that the deepest zoom level is broken. We’ll get that fixed asap.

New Add Location Tool in PlaceMaker 1.1 Released

If you could somehow provide data sufficient for architectural design directly in SketchUp I’m sure people would be willing to pay for it. This could be a Pro feature that makes SketchUp more popular or it could be a separate store where you pay each time you use it. Isn’t this (among other things) what Trimble has been doing since before acquiring SketchUp?


Well that might change things! I thought maybe it just wasn’t available for my area and I found that pretty shocking. It’s pretty useless at the max minus 1 zoom level for my purposes.

As far as I know, that’s exactly what Google intended it to be when I purchased my Pro license. They encouraged the community to accurately model existing buildings. The whole reason for my purchasing the product was to accurately model existing roofs and measure building dimensions. This is a disappointment for sure if Trimble has a different view on this feature’s intent.


What happens to models we’ve already done? Will the terrain and imagery downloaded at the time stick with the model in a legacy state, so to speak, or is it actually taken away?


The terrain is a group in the model and the imagery is in the texture library so you shouldn’t see any change in older models.


Hey Christina - Our new infrastructure will allow us to work towards offering more kinds of data. There is definitley a long term upside to this change. No promises as to when we will expand the data offering or how the products will be bundled/sold.

Jason - Turns out this was a UI bug which would allow you to past the last level of available imagery. This should be fixed soon. Unfortunately there was no missing level of imagery. What you were seeing was the highest res imagery available.
I do apologize that this change impacts your workflows so negatively. As I mentioned above we would love to offer higher quality imagery products at some point in the future but I can’t give you an idea of when that might happen or what the sources might be. We provided as much transition time as we possibly could so that users who were reliant on Google imagery had the opportunity to grab the data while it was available. If you work in one particular area/city i would suggest caching that area in a file or files so that you can save them for future use.

Geolocation Imagery Quality

Checking if there is a way for you to get the date stamp.


Thank you Bryceosaurus. Appreciate you looking into this.


Caching a 5 county service area is totally implausible. This is really a disappointment. The transition time is fine, but I wouldn’t call it long. We just got access to the poor imagery replacement and have less than a month left to scramble and find a solution. I’ve tried a few workarounds, and it takes an unacceptably long amount of time and the accuracy suffers.

The image below are representative of results I get throughout the Southwest Florida area for new vs old imagery at max zoom. Night and day is an understatement.


Yes, PlaceMaker works but it’s behind current conditions of what exists. We recently reviewed a four block sized area (southern California) and found one parcel was actually demolished and another already had a new building on it - compared to Google Earth alone !


In an ideal situation, when “grabbing” an area to geolocate, one could see the property lines in map mode and toggle the satellite / aerial view from within SU Pro.

This move is neither beneficial nor negative, as Open Maps does not include property lines in their maps and the satellite imagery from DG is crazy pixelated even as it’s obvious that their terrain data is updated and better that GE.

TL;DR: It is what it is, I suppose. :neutral_face:


Generally, those features, and much more, are publicly available from city and county GIS services.

City of Janesville, Wisconsin GIS Geocortex Viewer


For general use, the images Google provided were nice.
But there certainly are far better sources of current and historical high-res imagery available.
Some are free, some not…










This change in location/imagery services is really poor in my opinion. I have been using the GeoLocate/Google Imagery service for years as an integral part of my professional workflow. The quality of imagery/data I have observed from Digital Globe to date is DISMAL, and is essentially unusable for professional applications. I’m very unhappy that a better source has not been provided to us. ( the Trimble Maps is completely worthless.) I understand if non-paying Make users are left in the dark, but professional users that pay the yearly upgrade fee on Pro should be treated much better.

It’s just basic marketing;. Do not take away something from your customers- and if changes occur, give them better options, (even if they have to pay for it).
I am not happy with the junk quality of the Digital Globe imagery I see today on Sketchup and, although it does not bring a smile to my face at all, I would pay for higher quality data (at LEAST as high as GoogleEarth data to date).

This change will have an immediate and negative impact on my professional work and I am extremely unhappy that Trimble has had FIVE YEARS to coordinate this and provide equivalent or superior alternatives to google Earth. What I see before me is clearly neither.

Extremely unhappy user