Who uses Trimble Connect, and how?

So there has been a lot of promoting of Trimble Connect. I had a little look, and for me, it doesn’t really offer much more than what I get from Dropbox. I am a sole trader, however, often working with other architects and engineers, so it may be just that it isn’t aimed at people like me, but for larger organisations.

I am a bit skeptical, but what are other people’s experiences with it?


For me it’s a handy cloud based storage area. I generally work alone but I’ve done some experimentation with another SU user and found that the collaboration things is good. Not only can both of us work on a Sketchup or LayOut file but there’s documentation that shows when one of us opened it or saved it. It 's also nice to have the ToDo list and other stuff like that. With unlimited storage in TC, I don’t have to worry about filling it up like I do with Drop Box unless I want to buy more Drop Box space.

Trimble Connect is a project management/collaboration service and application platform that spans all of Trimble Buildings’ divisions. Those in the SketchUp community may not find all of its features and products valuable but we hope that some of the features may be of use.

Here is a short list of features that I think the SU community might like to try out.

Version Control
Like dropbox, TC can be used as a storage platform… but a part of the project features is its form of VERSION-CONTROL for your skp work. So, if you set up your sync correctly or if you manually upload your skp file every so often, you will have a version history that you can access.

Sync Tool
TC offers a sync tool that you can set for periodic syncing of project files. This can be set up to be bidirectional or unidirectional. Other than the obvious backup and project data syncing, one unique use case for SketchUp teams is to use it to share component libraries. Master libraries can be saved in TC. As these libraries receive new or updated content, these can be automatically pushed to team members’ local drive. The component libraries will always be up to date.

Sharing SU 3D model view … without access to model
There is a function within TC that allows you to share your 3D model with someone via a simple link so project members or anyone can look at your model in view only mode.
This link can even be set to timeout. Here is an example

Note - the TC 3D model viewer is not the same viewer technology as SketchUp client or web. It presents the SU model in its own way… ie it doesn’t look like SU so it may not be perfect for aesthetic presentations but when wanting feedback on the geometric form are for planning, it works great. Oh… that said, I would expect the viewing experience to get better as TC brings on even more technology.

Multi-file Viewer and MashUp
One useful feature that many storage services do not have is the ability to visualize all the different files types you might be using in a project. PDF, DWG, DXF, IFC, and of course SKP are but a few.

Not only can you view them individually, but you can also perform a mashup to view them together and even do a clash analysis.



One function of Trimble Connect (TC) that may have existed all along, but is new to me is the one I just tried: Down and Up converting .skp files!

I used my newly installed 2019 SketchUp (Classic or Pro - you say tomato) and created a simple file, then published it to TC from within SketchUp.

Next, I opened up my (still installed) 2018 Pro and, using the Trimble Connect option in the File menu, opened that file. NO warning that I needed a later version of SketchUp, it just opened. So I saved it with the same file name locally - prepended with “2018 -”, and also published it to TC under the new name.

The one thing I haven’t (yet) tried is publishing to TC from 2018, then trying to load it through TC in 2019. So I’m about to try it …

No problems opening 2018, creating a small test model, saving it locally, then publishing it to Trimble Connect. But …

I can open 2019 just fine. When I try to select “File–>Trimble Connect → Open Model …”, the Open Model window opens on the Projects tab, but it’s now been 3 minutes of the spinning wheel of death and the projects still aren’t populated! Same symptom if I try to “Publish” instead of “Open Model …”.

But THAT seems to go away with a restart of SketchUp 2019 - and I was successful in loading the “saved as 2018” file through TC - without the “This file was created in an older version” warning. I saved it locally, then tried opening in SU 2018 … and got the “created in newer vision” message. Exactly as I expected.

So, except for some problems likely local to me, it appears that TC can, when any file format is uploaded, let people download it from within any version of locally installed SketchUp, even when it’s an earlier or later version of SketchUp, without any errors or warnings.

It’s worth noting, Trimble Connect has its own stand-alone mobile app too. Imagine your crew in the field using the app to view the punch out list, and being able to view the model on their phone to see the exact location of the issue. Just an example.

I personally see a lot of potential in Trimble Connect. Unfortunately, every time I’ve tried testing it out over the past couple years, there always seems to be some glitch of one kind or the other. I was just now trying to take a screenshot of the model viewer to post here, but it wouldn’t let me download any of my models

Glitches aside, here is why I’m excited about this. Trimble Connect is an entire platform for collaboration, issue tracking and resolution, all using the 3D model as the basis of information. Instead of the old-school RFI process, this workflow allows association of issues directly within the context of the model. And since it’s cloud based, you can connect to it from anywhere. Your team members don’t even need SketchUp. You can view it in the field. You could snap pictures with your phone and attach them to a new “todo” and associate it with a location in the model. Tons of potential here.

Pictured below is the dedicated Trimble Connect Desktop program. You can view all of the Trimble Connect downloads at Trimble Connect

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