SketchUp Your Library

February 12, 2008 § 1 Comment


SketchUp (or should it be ScatsUp?) is a free 3D modeling tool from Google. I just had a bit o’ fun searching for 3D models housed in Google’s 3D Warehouse. Apparently, it’s pretty easy to use and there seem to be lots of good tutorials out there. And here are a couple of videos of SkethUp in action.

What can libraries do with SketchUp?

The obvious thing is to SketchUp your library. There’s already a collection of about 60 library buildings in the 3D Warehouse (see the Denver Public Library above). The Ubiquitous one posted about using SketchUp for library renovation planning, tinkering, modeling.

For academic libraries, Google announced yesterday that they are having their second International Model Your Campus Competition. Libraries may want to publicize this to their students. The library at NC State hosted a demo of their school’s entry.

The Google Lat Long blog posted about a small town in Tennessee called McMinnville (even the name sounds small) that is embarking on a collaborative effort to create a 3D model of their town. Why? Because: “many towns are faced with the challenge of balancing the need for growth with historic preservation, while seeking more effective ways to engage the community in a dialogue. The introduction of realistic yet virtual representations of towns could help facilitate solving these issues.” Any library interested in facilitating community dialogue may want to investigate potential uses for SketchUp.

While all of this may seem a bit um fluffy… Tim O’Reilly has a smart post on the (future) importance of all this “augmented reality:”

It seems to me to be a really important long-term play in the mapping space. After all, so much of the built world we interact with isn’t represented at all on the maps we use. An address on the 37th floor of a building looks just the same to our mapping system as one on the first floor. But does it need to be that way? Not in a future where we’ve populated our maps (at first perhaps Google Earth, but eventually web-based maps as well) with additional layers representing the human-built world.


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§ One Response to SketchUp Your Library

  • Paul Tracey says:


    There are a few extras that IMSI have produced of late that either help out specific TurboCAD users, such as furniture makers, or greatly improve other products with IMSI technology.

    One of these is the IDX Renditioner. It is a plug-in for Google SketchUp that provides high-quality photorealistic rendering – fast and easily. Renditioner works directly within SketchUp and lets you control the materials, advanced lighting components, environments, background images. Renditioner is “one button” easy with 3 render options of Preview, Standard and Presentation. It is simple enough for novices and yet powerful enough for professionals. Powerful features are optimized in a jargon free interface. Simplicity paired with speed and working directly in SketchUp, means you can achieve design visualization objectives more quickly. Renditioner offers 16 megapixel renderings for large-scale printing and powerful presentation of your designs.

    It is available for Windows XP or Vista on the PC, and OS/X 10.4 or 10.5 on the Mac and runs on either PowerPC or Intel-based Mac computers. As an extra it obviously requires you to already have SketchUp, but will be fine on the free version as well as the Pro version 6.4x or later. Like all photorealistic rendering, IDX Renditioner uses a system’s RAM and CPU power extensively, and is not recommended on systems with less than 1 GB RAM, with 2 GB recommended. Being fully multithreading, dual core, quad core, or dual quad core machines will each improve system performance dramatically.

    SketchUp is a nice piece of kit, but with the edition of Renditioner it jumps from good to professional, and then you import the SketchUp drawings into TurboCAD to add another dimension.

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