Basemap, SketchUp Edition

So, after realizing that Grant stole the only charging cord for the computer that had Illustrator, and trying unsuccessfully to load the program from a backup disk, I resorted to using SketchUp to create my basemap. So far, I’m really glad I did!

SketchUp is a Trimble product, and provides a limited version for free download, with a 30-day trial built in of the Pro version. We’ll see in 30 days what features disappear, but what you can do with the free version fresh from the download is pretty impressive. The program allows for 3D modelling, to scale, with the ability to load background images and endless pre-made 3D models of things like trees and rocking chairs that you can drop in as needed. I was able to drop in my property survey to work off of, and bring in cool 3D spruce and birch trees to place where they physically exist on the property.

The buildings were created roughly, with an eye to capturing general size, viewshed, and access points.

The drawbacks I found were lack of control when exporting images, and inability to add in live objects such as a north arrow and scale bar.

gilmore-trail-model

There is also layer capability, though not as easy to use as Illustrator’s. This comes in handy when trying to simplify the model and visualizing different elements such as when I add in sectors and zones. Right now I have the property survey as one layer, all the permanent buildings and driveways on another, and trees on a third.

gilmore-trail-model-top

Here is the model with the survey and trees stripped away.

gilmore-trail-model-side-trees

And here is a fun one that shows off the 3D aspect. It really helps to visualize the “feel” of the property! I highly recommend trying out this program, they have lots of tutorial videos and help documents posted that makes getting started really easy!

It’s a great way to spend a snowy Sunday ;). Cheers!

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