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How do you import a .dae file so that it sits at ground level?

Good evening,

Been trying to figure this out all day, but getting nowhere. When I import a file into SketchUp, it seems that I can place it anywhere. Or maybe I’m doing something wrong. Either way, I’m trying to move it down so it sits right at ground level. Every time I think I get it right, when I export it over to the sim, it sits a couple feet of the ground.

What is the best, easiest way to lower an object so it sits at ground level? Go I adjust the elevation when I use ADE to place a library object to a negative value? Or is there a way to do it in a SketchUp?



What kind of object are you making? Are they ground polygons that should be on the ground or is it a building that you are trying to place somewhere?
Hi Colin:

I agree with the line of inquiry that Arno makes above.

If attempting to make a G-Poly and import it into MCX, it will be best to do so using the MCX "Ground Polygon Wizard" import feature. :pushpin:

Otherwise, for a 3D model such as a building, consider use of this plugin Ruby script: :idea:


1.) Add a copy of the *.RB file to a *.ZIP file

2.) Re-name that ZIP to a *.RBZ file extension

3.) Sketchup 2017 Menu > Window > Extension Manager > click: [Install Extension] button ('Open' dialog appears on screen)

a.) In 'Open' dialog, Browse / Select / Double-click the new *.RBZ you just created of Dicks "Center_Group_Bottom" plugin for Sketchup

b.) Sketchup Menu > Extensions > click: "Center_Group_Bottom" plugin for Sketchup

NOTE: If needed, and before using Sketchup Menu > Extensions > "Center_Group_Bottom" plugin for Sketchup:

1.) Click to 'Select' any existing desired 'Grouped' 3D model object geometry first

2.) Right-click > Explode

3.) Click+Hold+Drag to draw a 'Selection Frame' to 'Select' and 'Group' existing 3D model object geometry desired to be 'centered'

4.) Sketchup Menu > Extensions > click: "Center_Group_Bottom"

Hope this helps. :)

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Good morning to you both,

@arno it is a building that’s supposed to sit on the ground.

@GaryGB that's perfect. I’ll give the script a try and see how it goes.

Thanks Arno and Gary



If it is a building, just make sure that the origin is at the bottom of the building. It's the origin that will be placed at the terrain elevation. If you place the building in very hilly terrain, you sometimes need to extend the building a bit below grond level (like a basement). See the screenshot of a default object below that has a gray basement to make sure it doesn't float on hilly terrain.

Been trying to figure this out all day, but getting nowhere. When I import a file into SketchUp, it seems that I can place it anywhere.
It is important to note that Sketchup is very flexible, so it makes it seem like you can place a model anywhere. When you first "grab" the model, this sets a location for your cursor. If you have "axis view" enabled in Sketchup, you will see the origin, where all axis lines meet. If you are click dragging a model, Sketchup will attract, or "stick" your cursor to this origin, when it is close and this origin, of Sketchup models, always conforms to the same origin in MCX, which translates to ground level.
You should be able to see that clicking a lower corner of a building and then dragging that to the origin, will place that corner at ground level, as Arno describes above. MCX can also perform these kinds of model movement, in relation to the origin, but there is no cursor clicking available as in Sketchup, every movement is performed incrementally. It should be easy to center the particular model over the origin, once brought to it, because again, Sketchup attracts the cursor to what it considers the ground plane, as this is an "intuitive" movement. If you continue to drag the model upwards, it will unstick from the ground plane. Once off the "ground," Sketchup will continue to attempt to move models in one axis only and will concede if the modeler insists on placing the cursor somewhere in 2d space that cannot easily be translated into movement in a direction that is somewhere within 90 degrees of its starting position. In those instances, expect that point to be wildly closer, or farther away from the point of view, than you'd expected.

One final thing to note, is that many modeling programs are quite arbitrary with the orientation of the axis. Maya is notorious, your horizontal may be the models vertical axis. In these instances, close attention to the very faint colors of the axis lines and understanding which of these in Sketchup match those in MCX, will keep the model properly oriented, once you realign it, of course.
What you described at the end of the first paragraph is exactly what I was seeing. When I was ‘click dragging’, what I was trying to do was line up the blue box around with the x, y, and z axis. When I click on the object, it had a blue box around it. Using the move tool, I’d try to center it on the origin. As I’d get close to where I thought it should be, my eye point would either zoom in or out. Which is what you explained above.

Originally, I thought the move tool was to move your eye point around - not the actual model which actually makes sense. I was constantly moving the model around to get access to the areas I wanted to edit - unaware that I was actually moving it around. There is the pan tool (I think it’s a hand) that I discover yesterday. Works so much better.


When I first load the model into MCX (before converting it to .dae), the origin is way off in the distance. I have a feeling this has something to do the physical reference point used for the object. Clicking on the location button in MCX, the coordinates shown is the same as the centre point of the airport. The jetways that I’m working on are quite a distance away from that point. If I removed the coordinates, will MCX move the object closer to the origin?
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Well the bad new is, if you are deleting part of the model to add moving jetways, you will have to maintain the exact placement of the original model components. The good news is that with a little Sketchup ingenuity, this can be done procedurally. This depends on the fact that the stationary bridge part is identical for all gates.
You will still be able to navigate in Sketchup, all is not lost with a model this complex. If you have a center button mouse, like with the Logitech wheel, Sketchup is default set to that button for the pan view. There are articles on the web about Sketchup center button pan. So it is very easy to grab things, center button pan/move, or just grab "air" and move around the model space. Ideally, the wheel zooms in and out, click/grab moves you around and you get so you can sort of "swim" up to the model component, one of the bridges and zoom in or out to deal with it.
I know this is a lot, but for me it was kind of fun to discover. So, you erase all the polygons from one static jetway and now you have the bridge you want, all you have to do is repeat this same thing 9 more times? How many jetways do you really want animated? Just kidding. You can group items in Sketchup, so they become sort of immune to other geometry. These groups aren't recognized by the sim, so it's ok to leave them when you are done. Group this newly decapitated bridge and duplicate it. Now, grab the copy and drag the component over to the next bridge and line it up perfectly, again, Sketchup knows what you are trying to do, let it help. Make this moved version invisible, delete the second jetway/bridge combination and continue. An alternative similar procedure, is to simply copy the new jetway and not move it, it's a little trickier, but not much. Keep the cursor on a prominent corner when you copy the grouped model part. Now, navigate to the next bridge, find that exact corner, place the cursor there, click and paste.
Hey Rick,

Played with MCX a little and managed to centre the jetways along the x, y, and z axis using the ‘move’ function. Then imported into SketchUp and dragged it over to the origin as per your suggestion. Haven’t had a chance to check it in the sim yet, but I’m much happier with how it looks.

Yeah, you pretty much outlined what I’ve done. Started with removing one jetway. I think there are 18 in total. It’s oddly therapeutic. Found out you can delete whole objects at a time - or just one line. Next it’ll be trying to line it up in the sim to make sure I get it right. Then figuring out how to add a GSX jetway. I think GSX looks for a default jetway to know where they go. If that’s missing, I don’t know if I can add and position it manually. Once I get that figured out, I’ll work on deleted the remaining 17. Love the idea of copying the ‘decapitated bridge’. That’ll save a lot of time.


Well this will not work if you move the model before import to Sketchup. This is a model created by someone else and you are not replacing it. It must remain in to exact orientation in which it was made, or that orientation will be lost and you do not have the means to reorient a model of 18 distinct objects with the resources at hand.
the bad new is, if you are deleting part of the model to add moving jetways, you will have to maintain the exact placement of the original model components.
You cannot move the model in MCX to make it easier to work in Sketchup, you are using Sketchup to make the model easier to modify with GSX.
I think GSX looks for a default jetway to know where they go. If that’s missing, I don’t know if I can add and position it manually. Once I get that figured out, I’ll work on deleted the remaining 17. Love the idea of copying the ‘decapitated bridge’. That’ll save a lot of time.
I cannot speak for how GSX works, but if it searches for default jetways, then the video about replacing 3rd party jetways would be one to peruse. I hope I've made it clear, about taking the model out of the scenery package, modifying only what you want gone, then re-importing that same, slightly edited model back into the scenery package. Remember how jetways work, they anchor on the bridge and extend to the plane, it should be easy enough to identify that anchor point, define the direction it extends and leave the rest to SODE. This is probably what the GSX software allows.
Yeah, I went about it the long way, probably made more work for myself than I needed to. Using ADE, I was able to import both the terminal and original jetway bgl’s into the airport layout. This gave me a rough idea how everything fit into place.

When I deleted the jetway, I left the (no idea what it’s actually called, but the wrist pivot where the jetway meets the bridge) in place so I can get an idea where to attach the jetway. I had planned on deleting that part once everything was lined up. I’m going to go out on a limb here and say that had I followed your original instructions a few posts up, I would’ve save myself a lot of extra work.

Turns out I was wrong about GSX. In its UI, you’re given the option to install jetways. So yeah, all good there. Once in place, you can position them to where they’re supposed to go.

So, I checked to see how everything looked in the sim. Jetways are no longer floating and are firmly on the ground. Installed a set of jetways (each bridge has two jetways), and that’s where I had to stop. The highest jetway that GSX offers is about 3 feet too low. I think SketchUp has the option to reduce the scale of an object, but I feel that would take away from the overall look of the terminal. Or I could remove both the jetway and bridge, but again it’s not the look I’m going for. Moving forward, I think I need to take a bit of time to learn how to make my own jetways.
Well you could sink them into the ground a bit, or perhaps there is some other configuration that is causing GSX to think they can't go to the proper height. Check the forums maybe.