So i finally figured out how to import TIN surfaces from ArcGIS 10 into SketchUp 8. To fully replicate the functionality of the legacy ArcGIS SketchUp 6 Extension I would also like to be able to export vector features. I though it might be relatively easy by just exporting to KML then bundelling that and the TIN export procedure in a single model but... Vector features exported to KMZ crash in import to SketchUp 8. Any ideas?

I would also be perfectly happy if I could import shapefiles directly into SkethUp 8 Pro. Ruby Script or any other solution would be fine.

  • I am facing the same problem. When importing in Google Earth everything seems ok. But when I import a file into sketchup, sketchup raises an error, also at 75%. Have you found any solution yet?
    – user5096
    Commented Dec 9, 2011 at 16:27
  • no solution yet. ESRI seems to have made version 10 less compatible with Sketchup then 9.xx. Commented Dec 9, 2011 at 19:12

2 Answers 2


Try exporting to COLLADA in ArcGIS 10. Then import to Sketchup Pro. http://help.arcgis.com/en/arcgisdesktop/10.0/help/index.html#//001200000049000000.htm

  • Thanks. Only multipatch can be exported to Collada. It works well enough. What i need is to export 2D and 3D vector features: point, polygon, polyline. Only polygons can be Interpolated to Multipatch then converted to Collada that still leaves points and lines. Commented Oct 21, 2010 at 12:43

I haven't tried this but there appears to be a free Ruby script to import shapefiles here:


Are the exported KML files valid? There are a couple validation services you can use:

Basic: http://feedvalidator.org/check.cgi

Full semantic analysis: http://www.kmlvalidator.com/home.htm

Offline with jEdit: http://earth.google.com/outreach/tutorial_jedit.html

Even if the KML is valid, it may be too complex. You might want to use something like OGR to quickly translate your shape files to (very basic) KML as a test. Mano Marks has a nice tutorial showing how to do this, but it's basically just:

ogr2ogr -f "KML" outfile.kml infile.shp

And I haven't personally tried this, but recent versions of OGR apparently have DXF export support, which Sketchup may be cleaner with. You can get a recent version of OGR by downloading and running the OSGeo4W setup program, choosing advanced mode, and installing the "gdal-dev" and "shell" packages.

  • Thanks Jason. The KML works fine with Google Earth so i suspect they are valid however they completely fail to import into Sketchup both 7 & 8. "msg: Import failed." I've tried that particular script and it does not work at all. Seems that others have the same problem - no data is imported. Will try the validation services. Commented Oct 28, 2010 at 12:39
  • Google Earth is incredibly compliant with "Postel's Law" en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Robustness_principle :) There is a flag in Options->General where you can make it either complain or refuse to load invalid files.
    – JasonBirch
    Commented Oct 28, 2010 at 16:14
  • KML validator was not even able to read the file: Unable to read content from the file. Is this one of the supported file types? Commented Nov 2, 2010 at 15:51
  • That's bizarre. Are you able to make the file available for download somewhere?
    – JasonBirch
    Commented Nov 2, 2010 at 16:53
  • ORG looked promising so i tried it out. Was able to easily create KML files - needed to zip them to KMZ. Files opened fine in Google Earth but again FAILED TO IMPORT into sketchup. The Importing progress reaches 75% then it raises the error. Commented Nov 2, 2010 at 17:02

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