Update: July 30, 2020

SketchOSM is no longer available due to incompatibilities with newer versions of SketchUp.  At this point, we are not sure if we are not sure if we will continue supporting it.

What is SketchOSM?

SketchOSM is a plugin for SketchUp that lets you create 3D buildings parametrically for adding site context to your model.  Buildings created with SketchOSM can then be shared with the world by publishing directly to OpenStreetMap (OSM), an enormous database of freely accessible and editable geo-information used by millions.



  • Compatible with SketchUp 2017+ Make or Pro (Windows Only)
  • Geo-location tool
    • Geo-locate your model and import a satellite image from DigitalGlobe as a reference for tracing buildings
  • Import OSM road centerlines and show existing OSM 3D Buildings for reference
  • Create Simple OSM 3D Buildings
  • Create Multi-Part Complex (Relation) Buildings
  • Parametric tools to edit new buildings
    • Height Tool
    • Roof shape (gable, hip, round, skillion, onion, dome, round, pyramid)
    • Roof Height
    • Building Color
    • Roof Color
    • Edit Building Outline
    • Minimum Building Height
  • Copy Attributes (tags) from one building to another

How to Install

  • Download SketchUp 2017 Make for free.  SketchUp Pro 2017 or newer can also be used (for commercial work)
  • Install SketchUp by double-clicking the downloaded installer file.
  • Run SketchUp and open the Extension Warehouse
  • Search for ‘SketchOSM’ and then install

Basic Usage:

  • Geo-locate your model to select the location you want to create buildings.  For best imagery resolution, zoom in to the max level before importing.
  • Use SketchUp built-in tools to trace faces over top of building outlines
  • Open the SketchOSM Dialog (login to OSM first)
  • Select a building outline face and click the ‘Create Buildings’ button
  • Select the new building ‘group’ and adjust the building attributes using settings in the dialog
  • Upload buildings to OSM if desired using the upload button in the dialog.


I am a SketchUp user.  Why should I use SketchOSM?

  • You can geo-locate your model and import satellite imagery, even with SketchUp Make 2017 (SketchUp removed this feature for Make users)
  • Create site context buildings fast using parametric tools
  • It’s free!
  • Put your town or city on the map!  By publishing your buildings to OSM, your work will benefit the millions of OSM users worldwide.
  • It’s a great way to ‘get your feet wet’ with editing OpenStreetMap, a super fun and rewarding hobby!

I am already an OSM contributor.  Why should I use SketchUp and SketchOSM?

  • SketchUp has built-in easy-to-use tools for drawing building shapes quickly and accurately – and it’s free (SketchUp Make 2017)
  • SketchOSM has a simple intuitive interface tailored for creation of 3D OSM Buildings

Can you edit existing OSM buildings with SketchOSM?

  • No, we currently do not have that feature but we do provide a button to open the online iD OSM editor so that you can make changes to existing buildings and add more tags.

Can you edit other OSM data besides buildings with SketchOSM?

  • Currently, no.  We designed the initial release of SketchOSM as a building creator first and foremost.  However, we are not ruling out the possibility of adding more editing features in the future.  

Why do the existing buildings disappear when switching tools?

  • This is a limitation of SketchUp. The existing buildings are shown for reference and cannot be selected, modified, or saved.  To show the existing buildings again, just click the Import button at the far left of the dialog toolbar.

Why does the satellite imagery disappear when I double-click a building or part?

  • This a limitation of SketchUp.  Images will not be displayed if they are not in the active editing context.  A potential workaround is to unlock the imagery group and then cut / paste-in-place it inside a building group.  Another workaround is to draw reference lines while the imagery is visible and then use the reference lines as a guide when the imagery disappears.

How do I adjust the satellite imagery position?  It does not match the road centerlines.

  • One of the reasons that SketchOSM imports road centerlines is so that you can check if the imagery is properly aligned to the road centerlines.
  • If you want to adjust the imagery position to match the road centerlines, first unlock the imagery by right-clicking it and selecting ‘unlock’ from the context menu.  Next, use the SketchUp move tool to modify the imagery position until the center of the roads match the imported OSM road centerlines.

Is it possible to import a larger satellite image?  The image does not cover a large area.

  • Currently, SketchOSM limits the size of the image to about 500m x 500m.  In order to import the imagery at a resolution suitable for tracing buildings, you need to be at the maximum map zoom level.  Since it is not possible to select a large map area at the maximum zoom level, we decided to limit the import size to 500m x 500m.
  • Additional imagery may be added using SketchUp’s ‘Add More Imagery’ function.  However, you will likely find that the resolution of this imagery is worse than the SketchOSM imagery and is more difficult to trace over.

What is OpenStreetMap and why should I publish my buildings to it?

  • Founded in 2004, OpenStreetMap (OSM) is a collaborative project to create a free editable map of the world.  OpenStreetMap powers map data on thousands of web sites, mobile apps, and hardware devices.
  • If you publish your buildings, they will appear on maps, websites, and devices that use OSM data.  For example, your OSM buildings will appear on the SketchUp Add Location Tool Map Layer.
  • In addition to SketchOSM, you can also view the 3D Building Data online from sites like:
  • For more information, check out the OpenStreetMap wiki