View Full Version : Using Google Sketch-Up?
10-01-2007, 06:44 PM
Does anyone know how to use google sketch-up for overlaying layers of designs onto the google image? One of Geoff Lawton's students mentioned it today at the design course with Bill Mollison and said it is a great design tool.
P.S. If anyone has used it and has some of their designs I'd love to see them
10-01-2007, 07:29 PM
Had a small play with it and it seems pretty good. Most google stuff is relatively well done - though picasa can be a bit annoying at times. My next step is to do a 3D using some topo data - if I can pull that off then I'll be very happy and a likely convert. It would complement my mainstay since 1997 - MapInfo Professional......
10-01-2007, 07:37 PM
Sorry I didn't read the note properly. No I haven't done the google map layering - would be worth a look. I use MapInfo to overlay topo or cadastral data (vector data) over google earth images or scanned aerial photos. Problem with most non-GIS software is getting a truly scaled map from this process - its very easy in MapInfo though MapInfo is not cheap. I have a registered version - its about $2K+ last I looked - you could buy a return ticket to Bali for less than that....
If anyone wants to know how to do this layering in MapInfo let me know and I will write it up. Have some time on a plane coming up next week which is a good time for that kind of thing....
11-01-2007, 04:35 AM
I guess I'm a little unclear on what you're asking for, ladyboy. Are you looking to put 3D on top of aerial photos? You should be able to lay the aerial photo down as one of your planes(the ground), then build your models on that. To support topography, though, is a whole 'nother game. I suspect it's doable.
I'm from the 'other side' of GIS from Darren....I use ESRI arcview products. Definitely not cheaper, but the new 3D packages (ArcGlobe and ArcScene) allow for google-earth like views, with the option of adding all of your own data.
I've used sketchup just a little. It's got a learning curve that I haven't overcome yet, but looking at some of the models that are out there, it looks pretty powerful.
11-01-2007, 03:45 PM
There's a workshop for this stuff, I just know it. I don't want to launch into this stuff with just pens and pencils, I learnt very quickly all the fundamentals of music production by being shown and found the "instruction manuals" really slow learning.
So Darren do you get all your contour maps from MapInfo as part the registered version? I figure if I'm gonna pay to get just one property done for x amount of $ I may as well look into something that gives me contours for more than one site. My aim is to get contours of at least 1m spacings then get them laid over the google or aerial image to get the design rolling.
Thanks for the replies I think I'm gonna have a crack at Sketch-Up
11-01-2007, 05:53 PM
The contour data I am referring to is supplied by:
a. Survey Data (usually 0.5m contours generated by a site survey using a Total Station).
b. State-supplied digital contour, feature and cadastral data. I have all of Victoria's VicMap data on disc, which I purchased a few years ago.
c. Scanned and geographically registered contour maps (like VicMaps etc and other Government 1:25000 series maps)
If you plan to get 1m contours then I would get them from a surveyor. The other point of this is that surveyor data is generated from an actual on-ground survey of the site whereas the other government supplied data is generated using photogrametry: which basically means the contours are created by aerial photograph analysis. I have consistantly found the latter to be quite error prone and as a professional it is not worth the bother for anything beyond concept plan development.
Good to hear from you again Rich. Heading up your way with a Keyline Plow around May and then in August/September if you are still interested. Perhaps we can chat about that off the list.
11-01-2007, 06:11 PM
Thanks Darren. I just sent a query to A Land Shape in Bendigo to see if they are a go go.
Have a great year touring and spreading the know how.
11-01-2007, 06:30 PM
No problem....Konrad is often pretty busy but will do good work for you. I have other surveyors I use if you come up trumps with getting him in time. Let me know if I can help.
11-01-2007, 06:31 PM
PS I was at the Mollison/Lawton PDC today and it was good to catch up with them both today. Also good to see a couple of old clients and students there as well.....
30-01-2007, 02:12 PM
Thanks for the encouragement.
RE the blog, the overlays were done using Adobe Photoshop elements. It is a raster editor (paint program), and so doesn't help you with scale or areas or anything like that. It does make pretty pictures that are easy to manipulate, and you can more quickly represent more information than you can easily do with raster graphics. My one misgiving is that you cant calculate square footage, which is nice for complex designs.
I'd definately get a clear idea of what functions you'd want computer rendering or design to do for you. And don't knock the pens and pencils. They are easy to sharpen when they break, they always go where you want them to, and they are connected to one of the most amazing multi-jointed protractors available (you arm.) And they cost around 10-15 cents apiece. A couple pens and a role of tracing paper will take you VERY far.
Seriously, most landscape professionals I know (of the US$ 100-150/hour variety) do all their conceptual design work and much of their design development freehand, and then hand it off to a AutoCAD grunt to produce working drawings. If you are not producing working drawings for bid on a regular basis or have extensive details that you reuse with slight modifications, I would question the need for a GIS or CADD platform until you can afford the poor carpel tunnel victim attached to it.
If you are going to pay for a professional land survey, then you might as well go out and flag a bunch of benchmarks in the field before the survey so they can get shot as part of your survey... they will help you with orienteering in the future, particularly if you are working with a tricky site with no landmarks or poor visibility. The surveyor should be able to deliver a georectified GIFF, in addition to the DRG or shapefile or whatever vector file they are producing with their survey software.
31-01-2007, 01:12 PM
Very helpful info Paul, thanks very much as I was starting to feel a little overwhelmed with the possibilities in the software arena. I think my only real reason for being interested in the computer aspect of design presentation is to "seel" the ieas to clients. Geoff Lawton said recently that it is amazing how something like a Power Point presentation can "convince" clients of the worth of financing the project.
However after considering your posted reply I will definately not waste my time on my own 10 acre block doing complicated computer models or graphic.
31-01-2007, 01:45 PM
I have found the most bang for the buck from getting fluid between freehand drawing, a digital camera, a scanner, a printer, photoshop and powerpoint... You can freehand draw concepts quicker than you can CADD, or trace over photos, then you can scan and embellish with photoshop, melding hand drawn art with digital images of anything, patterns, shapes -- or snap a picture, change in photoshop, print, trace, scan, embellish, then present. You can teach yourself to line draw in a way that supports photoshopping. You can take a line drawing, then scan, alter, print, redraw then scan again. And then you can fade between images in powerpoint, with simple animations overlain to create a narrative. You powerpoint files get to be 20-100 megs apiece with JPEGs and multiple animations for every screen, but you can do some spectacular visualization without having to CADD.
Check out Christopher Alexander's work (from a library.. very expensive books..) A Pattern Language... the Timeless Way of Building... he has a way of talking about helping clients visualize that is really exciting, mocking up on site... you can draw lines on the ground with lime, trees with bamboo poles. Many folks just don't process plan view very well. Half of landscape architecture training is learning how to present and selling ideas.
Then of course, after you make the sale you have to deliver :)
Sketchup is a pretty good little program. Took me a few tries at it before I was able use it correctly. They've got plenty of online video tutorials that are very helpful.
Not sure if you every got your question answered, but you can import your current google earth view into sketchup (only B&W for some reason) and toggle on/off the topo. Not the most detailed of topo out of google earth. But you can use a plugin (included but you have to turn it on...use the help feature) called Sandbox to draw your own topo in sketchup. Another feature lets you move your sketchup model back into google earth. Haven't gotten this to work for me yet, but haven't tried too hard.
You can also import DEM data (DEM, DDF) into sketchup (plus dxf, dwg, 3ds and a few others)
I know some if not most of these features are only for the Pro version.
Hope this helps,
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