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TRIMBLE creates SketchUp, a 3D modeling program for professional and private users

7. Community involvement

Skills and technology transfer


SketchUp is a 3D modeling computer program. Used by Google  and owned since 2012 by Trimble Navigation. Trimble is a group created in 1978 in Silicon Valley, leader in advanced tracking systems (GPS), lasers.Present in 35 countries; it provides high-tech services to the industry. SketchUp is available in a free version (SketchUp Make) and in a professional version (SketchUp Pro). This software can be used by private individuals for a wide diversity of projects from architectural constructions to product design or video games. Therefore, it is also particularly useful for professionals such as architects, designers, engineers.


  • Enable people to share and have access to a lot of 3D models for free (it can be any kind of models such as robots, bathrooms,…).
  • Encourage innovation given that people share models and can work on models which were created by other people.
  • It also allows Trimble as a company to identify people who are particularly creative and have talent to hire them.
  • Encourage companies to make their products in 3D models available for free


The software promotes an approach for collaborative creation, beneficial for the company and the community:

  • Collaborative creation: acting as  a real virtual community, users work collaboratively, sharing and being inspired together, allowing free access to many models 3D including models designed by professional companies
  • Democratization: SketchUp proposes free tutorials to learn how to use the software. Consequently, it is made accessible to everybody.
  • Capitalization of the models created: establishment of a database of 3D models designated by professionals that can be reused and changed back by anyone.
  • Societal commitment: the company grants non-profit organizations to make the technology available to the great number for useful social purposes.
  • Shared experience: SketchUp is very active on various social media channels where they not only share great designs but also announce different challenges to motivate people to be creative. One of the ways for SketchUp to get in touch with a lot of creative and passionate people is by attending so called “Maker Faire” where members of the maker community get together to allow people to go from DIY (Do It Yourself) to DIT (Do It Together).


  • A tap company benefits from it by making all its models available for free. Therefore, people design their bathrooms and they buy this brand when executing their projects.
  • It gave life to innovative projects (robot creation)
  • Trimble identifies creative talents


  • The uses of SketchUp 3D modeling software are diverse and wide and can be applied to any type of problems (such as social and environmental with urban planning for instance).
  • NEST is plug-in software that assesses the environmental, social and economic impact of developments under different scenarios of a neighborhood or a city.
  • Energy, water management, air quality, CO2 discharged, economic and social impact are made available when designing a project (a building for instance).
8500 salariés (2014)
2,1 milliards deuro (2014)
United States


Omar-Pierre SOUBRA, SketchUp Make product manager at Trimble, This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

Mise à jour le 24/05/2016

Creative Commons Attribution This work by Réseau Alliances – World Forum Lille is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Non Commercial-NoDerivs 3.0 Unported License.