3D Max3D ModellingSketchUp

Data as Architecture – SketchUp Bar Charts

By July 27, 2007 2 Comments

Taking a break from the photorealism we usually feature in our 3D models we have been looking at quick and easy ways to visualise both geographic and non-geographic data. The traditional bar chart hasn’t changed much in terms of presentation since the introduction of Excel.

Yet in the time taken to create an Excel chart the same bar chart can be created in SketchUp in the same way as we model buildings (click for a larger version):

Using a combination of ‘push and pull’ and 3D text it is a quick and easy way to produce charts which can subsequently be rendered for presentation. The chart above details the ‘percentage of dependent children living in workless households by ethnic group in Greater London 2001’.

The same is true of geographic data, it is not always required to go through a high end geographic information system to produce city based data visualisation (click for a larger version):

Indeed by using the ‘components’ feature of SketchUp it is quicker to visualise small data sets direct via ‘push and pull’ rather then merging tables in a GIS package.


Andy is Professor of Digital Urban Systems at the Centre for Advanced Spatial Analysis at University College London.


  • Jon Reades says:

    This is really nice — Excel’s charts haven’t really changed since MS acquired them back in… the 1980s.

    I assume that there’s a way to get something accurate by, say, right clicking on an object to make it 37.78m long (on a 100m long ‘scale’)?

    Just using the push/pull interface from the mouse wouldn’t seem to be very accurate.