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Landscape Design and Analysis: Draw Contour Lines with Google Sketchup

 
Chowgene Koay
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Sketch Up is a free tool provided by Google that can be used for landscape design as well as designing 3D models for architecture, innovations and more. This one tool can be used to do a basic site plan that is perfectly scaled. You can also use it to draw trees, add layers to do your multistory Forest Garden, and more.

You can watch it on You Tube http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=UYiRXGrOFWc&lc=1-2kORIMJgz9SZ1NcRhc2ZzHeMPI43vwkRFol1BatyU&feature=inbox
or go to the Community Cultivators blog.
mindbodysoil.blogspot.com
 
garrett lacey
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Location: Edmonton Alberta
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Thanks!
 
Craig Dobbelyu
gardener
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Location: Maine (zone 5)
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chicken food preservation forest garden hugelkultur rabbit trees
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This was very helpful. Thank you for sharing. It took me about an hour to get it right but sketchup just saved me a bunch of time. Now I can print detailed property maps with topography lines. I did find difficulty in getting the layers to stay on the right depth. It may help to increase the spacing to 2 or more feet between layers. My land drops almost a hundred feet of elevation over roughly 600 linear feet. 2 foot of elevation between lines made it much easier to see clearly.


 
Matt Walker
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Location: North Olympic Peninsula
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Thank you! Can you elaborate on how you got the layers copied to a spacing of 1'? I, like the previous poster, am having trouble finding the distance between layers as I'm moving my copies, and also placing them evenly. Is there a "snap to grid" type function I'm missing?
 
Robin Hones
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I do not know how to use SU but I am willing to learn. Before I do that I need to ask a question - the property I am interested in is not in the US and the Google imagery for the area is very fuzzy, so I guess I cannot use it in the way that this video shows.

On the other hand I do have a detailed topo map (1 meter countours, roads, bildings, etc) so I presume I could build up a model in SU. I say "presume" but I dont "know". Before I get into learning SU can someone point me to a "how to" on building up a terrain from a topo?

Thanks

 
Milton Dixon
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That's a great trick! It makes sketchup even more useful...

When you copy a layer, paste it over itself so it's double, then move it. When you move an object set it on the axis you want then type the distance in that you want: 1', 6", 10'. You can't do that when you copy.

 
Jami McBride
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Location: PNW Oregon
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books chicken duck food preservation forest garden hugelkultur trees
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Very cool, thanks for posting.
 
Diego Footer
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Location: San Diego, CA
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Thanks for the link.

How accurate are the contour lines for everyone? I tried this on my property and the contour lines don't even come close to matching the actual lay of the land.
 
Matt Walker
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Location: North Olympic Peninsula
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It was a fun exercise for me, but, like you, I didn't have very useful results. The contours were close to the general topography, but nowhere near accurate. I assume some areas will have more accurate mapping than others.
 
Alison Thomas
pollinator
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Location: France
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Smart. I've now got my project for a rainy day Thanks for sharing.
 
ronan Watters
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Location: Ireland
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great program. Plus goggle 3d warehouse allows you to search for models that other people have used and you can just drop them into your plan. So if you want an olive tree you just search for one and there you go a 3d model is there for you to use. So you can quite quickly build up a 3D model of a piece of Land, and it's all to scale.

I fiddled about about with this way of making contours for a while. But it turns out there is a free rudy script that does it for you Ruby library depot where you can set your contour lines at whatever distance you want.

Be warned that the google earth data can leave a lot to be desired when compared with the actual land. The land I am using it for has traditional Spanish terracing on it which can leave the contour lines as a tangled mess in parts. But none the less useful in giving a idea of whats going on.
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