Would it be possible to make a topographic map with sketchup web

I’m hoping to make a model / map of my property, its only 1/3 of a acre not much on it I’m mostly wondering how to make accurate elevations and slopes. I figured I would start by taking a GPS elevation reading every few feet in a grid format. but I have no idea where to start in sketchup after i gather my data. Am I able to make a flat surface and adjust points along it? Is there any features i should try? or any other constructive thoughts.

I’m rather new to sketch up, I played with it a couple times but not long enough to get a good feel for it. I do have a little experience using CAD software from 12+ years ago, I’m hoping i can pick it back up quickly.

Any advice or ideas how to / where to start would be much appreciated

What do you plan to use for gathering GPS information? Phones aren’t generally accurate enough to be useful.

You could make the terrain in SketchUp Free but it would be very tedious. You could collect your data points and then manually build a mesh. It would be much easier in SketchUp Pro because you could put your data points in a CSV file that you could import as a point cloud and then connect the points automatically with another extension to create the terrain.

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I guess a dedicated GPS isn’t much more help… Height is the less accurate number in GPS. you would need a ground station for that.

i was hopeful my phone would work, could you explain what a ground station is?. I really dont need my elevation i just thought it would be a good way to measure the slopes.

I can deal tedious. Pro version would be nice but I’ll have a hard time justifying the purchase just to play with landscaping and drainage ideas. Maybe if i could find more uses for it.

Can you tell me, or direct me to, some more information on a mesh? It sounds like it could be what I’m picturing in my mind.

A ground station is a device that makes GPS more accurate…

Elevation would be crucial in your situation…

Basics of SketchUp at learn.sketchup.com


You could go to your City Hall and request the survey of your property. If it has topography lines you’d have something to start with.

If you have access to a laser level, laser distance measure, or a Zip level (which rental shops sometimes have) you could try making a grid.

The above would be fairly labor intensive and you’d still have to grapple with the software.

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bro… im just trying to play with drainage ideas for my yard. ( and figure out if i can bury pipes from my rain gutters on the back and sides to the ditch in the front ) i can’t buy a peace of tech that cost more than every vehicle i ever owned combined no matter how cool it would be.

ok let me rephrase that, it doesn’t matter to me if my elevation is 3 feet or 3000 as long as its close enough to noticed that i moved a couple feet up or down as i do. other wise I’m afraid ill be stuck using a string line to measure from and i doubt ill be able to keep a string at the same position as i move it to the next row.

this is exactly what i wanted thank you.

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its an 1880s farm house, im not sure if its been surveyed but ill find out tomorrow. i do have a laser level but i dont think there’s a way to use it for this, it just puts a straight line on a wall i dont know how i would measure that, plus the beam is not easy to see at a distance in sunlight. im afraid a string line grid and line levels may be my best back up choice but id rather deal with a software headache

Do a search for your county’s GIS department. They may have files with enough resolution for what you need to do.

A laser level (transit) and a story pole could work (transit being better for visibility and speed).

If you have a laser line level you could give it a try in the evening. I have an indoor 3 way laser and agree it’s not easy to see in the sunlight. If it is self-leveling, you’d level it at a specific location. Measure the distance to the ground to get the ground elevation (0) and then take measurements from the laser along your grid (Measure the distance from the laser line to the ground (or use a story pole to read the measurement). Subtract your ground elevation to get the elevation of your points.

Renting a transit with a story pole or zip level would probably be worth the time saved.

I wasn’t saying you had to buy one!!
I was just saying that a GPS isn’t accurate enough by itself to give you a reliable heightmap…