Where's North?

Fresh Newbie here, using the the Web Version.

I can set my location alright, I can set the date, and time of day.
But I can’t find how to point to north…
and though I don’t know for sure where north is in me sketch, I do know it’s wrong, cuz the shadows fall in the wrong direction… :slightly_frowning_face:

again, web version here, slightly different than what i see in online tutorials.
Thanks for your time and effort.

The default north is away from the origin along the solid green axis. In the Pro version of SketchUp you can change the direction of north but not in the free versions.

This is something I’ve been stumped on for a while. If the green axis is north then intuitively if you change the axis it would change the north… but it doesn’t. How do I go about changing the direction of north with the axis without just rotating everything on my model?

By default the green axis is aligned with North. North isn’t determined by the green axis. The location of the ground plane is fixed as are the standard views which are also not dependent on the axis orientation. In SketchUp Pro you can change the Solar North direction using the Solar North plugin available from the Extension Warehouse.

As Dave said North is initially aligned with the green (Y) axis.

Also you are making an incorrect assumption about the drawing axes (ie what you see on the screen.)
These axes are not the model axes. They are a UCS. (A user coordinate system.) You can change them to help you draw, but the actual model’s origin and it’s X axis, Y axis and Z axis remain fixed.
When you open a new model in SketchUp from any supplied template, the drawing axes will be aligned with the model axes. (Before you ask, yes, SketchUp lacks a feature to display the fixed model axes on demand. There may be a plugin that will do this.)

When you set the north angle and geolocate the model, this data is saved into an “GeoLocation” attribute dictionary attached to the model dB that Google Earth desktop can use to properly display the model. But the web editions of SketchUp have no way to view or edit these attributes.
So you’d have to backsave the model and open in a free desktop version and use an attribute editor plugin to change the north angle.

A workaround leaving the north angle at 0 is …, let us say you are starting a new model of your Auntie’s house, and you know it is rotated 5 degrees clockwise from North. Before you begin you could rotate the drawing axes about the Z axis.
You point at the axes, right-click, choose Move, and enter -5 in the right-hand (rotate) Z axis editbox.

Of course, as you know, you can always just rotate everything afterward, or have someone you know with a Pro desktop edition change the north angle for you.

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Thank you for the info guys!

And to make it even more complicated, there are several norths (my spell checker doesn’t seem to like this plural form). There’s magnetic north that was important for navigation, back when people used magnetic compasses, there is geographical or true north, which is defined by earths rotational axis, and there is grid north.

Lines pointing towards geographic north converge at the poles and are thus not parallel, with the exception of where they intersect the equator. Since humans like right-angled and parallel things, grid north has been invented. Within a single cell of this grid a single direction is considered north.

If I’m not mistaken SketchUp’s geoloctaion feature uses green axis as grid north, causing true north to be off axis by up to a few degrees. True north is what is used for shadow calculations. I think the imageryis also aligned with true north, causing it to be slightly off axis in the model, but parallel to the solar north direction.

Wow Thank you all for sharing the knowledge !

So, if I understand this right, being the novice free web user that I am, if I rotate my model by as many degrees as I need, I will get the green axis pointing north, red axis due east, and Im all set - instead of bringing Muhammed to the mountain, I will bring the mountain to Muhammed… right?

@eneroth3 that would depend on how far north (or south) latitude you live, no?.. as you said, closer to the equator it wouldnt matter much.
very interesting - thanks for that !

I just realize that the sketchup team made an extension called “Solar North” that makes this super easy! Check it out in the extension warehouse.

Over two weeks ago:


Yea, we were replying to the OP that was using the Web version.
(This thread should have been moved to the proper category.)

Yeah sorry, not sure how I missed that!

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