Working with Google Earth location


I’m new to SketchUp but I have worked through some tutorials on the basics (Navigation, Selection, Rectangle, Move, Rotate etc.). However all these tutorials worked with objects within Sketchup without any reference to a Google Earth location.

I’m now trying to place a component on a roof surface that I have added via Geo-Location, and what I’m finding is that when I use the orbit tool for instance, the component seems to be moving on the roof surface (i.e. if I use the Tape Measure tool and measure distance to the roof edge before I use Orbit and after I use Orbit, then the distance has changed).

So it would seem that I’m doing something wrong, but I have no idea what.

After some suggestions on what to try or advice on some tutorials that will help me understand how to work with images added via Geo-Location



Is the component a ‘Face Me’ component, one that rotates about its own vertical axis. when you orbit.
Look at its properties in the ‘Entity Info’ window after selecting the component.

If so, you can change its properties in the ‘Component Browser’. Uncheck ‘Face Me’.

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This is approach I have not seen before but I could have complete misunderstanding what / why you are following this approach.
Can you post your model and get me out of the woods?
Usually one makes a model and geo-locates it for preview in Google Earth to see how it " fits" in or else grabs the snap shot of the location and the terrain for modeling therein. Conversely one can use a photo image and use photo match to create a model, see this link Using Trimble Vision images to create SketchUp models. Using Trimble Vision images to create SketchUp models
Making a model of the roof surface using a photo image will be some what inaccurate simply because of the precision of the imagery ( basically not well defined edges.), not knowing exactly it’s dimensions and geo-location is not highly accurate. You will have to do the best you can, incorporate that in the model and then add you component=> seeing your model will help!
Is this a model of you home or ??


I want to use Sketchup to model solar panel placement on roof’s.

I’d like to use Sketchup to:

  1. Assist me in working out how many panels I can place on a particular roof space
  2. Shading analysis

I am aware that there is at least one plugin for this type of analysis (Skelion) but I didn’t find the documentation very helpful and I’m not keen on paying for the Pro version when it’s not at all clear to me that it is a useful tool, so I’m trying to work out how to use Sketchup to do this analysis myself.

One approach I could do is to measure the roof space and then create an object in Sketchup, I may yet have to do that but I thought it would be more intuitive if I could see the actual roof space and work with that.


I don’t think it is a ‘Face Me’ component, when I look at the Entity Info I don’t see that option listed anywhere.

Thank’s that clarifies what my guess was. There are a number of tutorials you should check out plus I an sure many more if you do a net search. - YouTube.
The NREl ( National Renewal Lab in Golden Colorado) also has info and some free apps.
I would suggest you first spend some time watching some tutorials and then select a candidate house to practice on. After the tutorials you should have some idea what typical size is used for homes. I assume the 3d ware house may have panel models for your use plus some from suppliers will also have cad or su models also. You will also have to establish some criteria on what the availability of the system will be. By that I mean operation for cloudy days , supplying night time power etc
You do not need to worry about face me components nor geo location of a roof => it comes as part of the house.
To get started start SU,windows=>mode linfo=>geolcation and input a street address, that will bring into SU image for that location=> select region then grab and that will give you the geo-located image of the area. Set to get top view and then you can work on the roof area.
Good Luck

Look in the Components Browser > In Model > Edit Tab for the option, Always face camera

I am missing some thing big time. What is the rational of using face me component for a solar array or photovoltaic system design???

VW1 ;
I took a brief look at Skelion and also Archelois. On the surface I would select ARCHELOIS if I was designing. I have not checked if it has a free version nor cost.
I would not be surprised if this is based on approaches covered in the NREL web site.
Even if you can not use this it gives you some idea of the items to be considered in a real system design. I comes well populated with panels and inverter info although I would check for efficiency of some of its components etc.
Good luck

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There is no rational in using face me component for a solar array.

Nonetheless, the unexpected component behavior described by @vw1 in his/her original post would indicate the component in question was assigned ‘Always face camera’ properties in error.

Hello guys,

I’ve made some progress since my initial post, after finding this article I have been able to use the knowledge that I have gained from the Sketchup tutorials and I’m now able to do the analysis that I wanted.

I was not even aware of Archelois and I have done some searching for tools, thanks I will have a look at that.

Since you seem to be fairly active on the forum, I’ll pass on info about a free series of tutorials on Sketchup that are excellent and helped me greatly in my understanding of how to use Sketchup (these tutorials are a great starting point for any new Sketchup users). I’ll admit I have only done about 10 of the tutorials but they’re extremely well presented by a young guy Cameron Harris. In fact the Skelion developers would do well to have a look at how useful tutorials are done. Cameron’s tutorials can be found at Sketchup: a 3D Toolbox — Harwood Podcast

Archelois is not free but they do have a 30 day free trial like Skelion
I have used hardwood pod cast but I doubt it will give the detail necessary.
Of course I have zero understanding what depth of design you want to go too. The other article is same approach I show in the youtube video link.
The Achelois how to in that same link shows all the steps required to design a system including the shading. Once you know what a total desgn is then you can decide the depth you want to go too. I don’t think you know yet. It is not simple as folks think.