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Importing Topographical data

Anonymous
Not applicable
There are lots of times when the designer needs to design a building in an area where the terrain is not flat. What I would like to know is whether or not Archicad 20 is capable of importing files with this type of data. And if so, in what format should the file(s) be in. It would be even better if Archicad was capable of importing this type of data from Google Earth. My current process is to save a picture from Google Earth which I then merge into Archicad and scale it so it provide a 1:1 scale. This is great for locating the building on the site but it lacks the necessary terrain data. Any info on how I might be able to add the terrain data is greatly appreciated.

Mike
17 REPLIES 17

sinceV6
Participant
Hi.
If you want to import terrain data from Google Earth, you can first use Sketchup to set the project location, which will grab terrain information; then merge that into AC. Beware though that GE information that gets imported to Sketchup lacks precision.

If you need more precision, you could look up DEM (Digital Elevation Model) data and cartographic information for the site and use a GIS program (like ArcGIS or Free Open source QGis) to manipulate the info.

Nothing beats a site professional survey. You can get XYZ data that can be easily turned into a mesh.

Best regards.

gpowless
Booster
Discussed here: http://archicad-talk.graphisoft.com/viewtopic.php?p=258162#258162
Intel i7-6700@3.4GHz 16g
GeForce GTX 745 4g
2-HP Pavilion 25xw
Windows 10
Archicad 23 USA Full

rgarand
Participant
We draw all of our sites 100% in 3D using the topo from our Civil consultants. I have never tried a point cloud or importing the civil points directly.

We find that if we magic wand the civil topo lines ArchiCAD has trouble because there is to much info.

We "trace"/redraw over the civil topo with less points and this allow us to have a workable 3D mesh. We can then establish Top of Walls etc which are very accurate for our building team.
Robert J. Garand
Dale Gardon Design
ArchiCAD USA 21-Build 4022 USA FULL
Windows 7 Prof (64 bit)
Intel i7-5820K CPU 3.30 GHz (32 GB RAM)
NVIDIA Quadro K4200 (4GB RAM)

rjwilden
Contributor
Given how smart Archicad is supposed to be, this method of creatimg a 3D mesh from a contoured site seems very outdated. I too have to redraw the lines due to the problem of magic wand creating too many points. On a large site this is a lot of work. Come on Graphisoft how about a new tool or a way of combining points along a contour.
Richard Wilden Design. Ltd
Dunedin, New Zealand.
Imac 27" i9 3.6GHz; 32GB Ram Mac OS 11.3
Archicad V23:V24

rjwilden wrote:
how about a new tool or a way of combining points along a contour.
How about learning the tools that are already there? Design>Magic Wand settings.
Richard
--------------------------
Richard Morrison, Architect-Interior Designer
AC25 (since AC6.0), Win10

rgarand
Participant
The magic wand tool works as intended and makes things very easy...although it picks up too many points along the polyline and adds lots of info to the mesh. We find the meshes become hard to manipulate the more points a mesh has.

The sites I deal with are not overly large...6-10 acres but the meshes become very hard to manipulate if they have too many points at this size.
Screenshot 2016-08-15 14.41.47.png
Robert J. Garand
Dale Gardon Design
ArchiCAD USA 21-Build 4022 USA FULL
Windows 7 Prof (64 bit)
Intel i7-5820K CPU 3.30 GHz (32 GB RAM)
NVIDIA Quadro K4200 (4GB RAM)

rgarand wrote:
The magic wand tool works as intended and makes things very easy...although it picks up too many points along the polyline and adds lots of info to the mesh. We find the meshes become hard to manipulate the more points a mesh has.
You can set the spacing of the points you want the magic wand to create. If you are getting too many points, adjust the settings for a wider spacing or larger deviation. Take a few minutes to read the reference manual and try out some different options.

EDIT: Another technique you can try is using "Best Match" and converting polylines into a spline. Then, switch back to "Linear Segments" and set the spacing to something appropriate and magic wand a polyline elevation onto the spline. You can get 4 points/contour line if you want.
Richard
--------------------------
Richard Morrison, Architect-Interior Designer
AC25 (since AC6.0), Win10

rgarand
Participant
I have read the manual for the magic wand and I have played with the settings...

The files we get from our civil engineers, which are probably pretty standard, have many segments along the polylines (see attached for the number of points). The settings within the magic wand do not have any effect when I change them. The only way they would have an effect is if I decreased these settings, which would be counter productive because I am trying to decrease the number of points along these lines.

...please do not assume all of us here jump on the forum without doing proper research and troubleshooting.
Screenshot 2016-08-15 15.22.21.jpg
Robert J. Garand
Dale Gardon Design
ArchiCAD USA 21-Build 4022 USA FULL
Windows 7 Prof (64 bit)
Intel i7-5820K CPU 3.30 GHz (32 GB RAM)
NVIDIA Quadro K4200 (4GB RAM)

Please see my "EDIT" above.
Richard
--------------------------
Richard Morrison, Architect-Interior Designer
AC25 (since AC6.0), Win10

rgarand
Participant
Tried your suggestion. The magic wand settings do not seem to have an effect either way, I tried multiple settings and multiple increments.

I am thinking it may have something to do with the original polyline. If I draw a spline from scratch, the magic wand will realize when there is a longer, straight segment and will not place any extra nodes/points.

Anyway, I appreciate your suggestions and comments.
Robert J. Garand
Dale Gardon Design
ArchiCAD USA 21-Build 4022 USA FULL
Windows 7 Prof (64 bit)
Intel i7-5820K CPU 3.30 GHz (32 GB RAM)
NVIDIA Quadro K4200 (4GB RAM)

There are a couple of things you might try. (I know the method works. And it's not mine, just something I've picked up over the last twenty years or so.)

1. Try unifying the polyline first, if you need to. You should be able to get the polyline selected with one click. It can have a bizillion nodes. If it doesn't unify, then your surveyor may need to use continuous lines rather than a dashed line.

2. Create a spline from that polyline by using the magic wand. Use "best fit" with a small deviation. The spline can have a bizillion nodes, too. You only care about creating a single spline for each contour line.

3. Change the magic wand to "linear segments," with a segment length of 10', say.

4. Now select the terrain with the splines visible. (Terrain tool must be active.) When you magic wand the spline the "New Mesh Points" dialog should pop up. When you click OK (with "fit to user ridges") you should get nodes spaced at 10' along the spline. Then click on one of the nodes to get the "Mesh Point Height." (make sure that "Apply to All" is checked.)

This goes much faster than the description.
Richard
--------------------------
Richard Morrison, Architect-Interior Designer
AC25 (since AC6.0), Win10

DGSketcher
Virtuoso
Thank you Richard, works for me. I just received a survey with a "bizillion" nodes per contour, now I can get on and produce a realistic terrain. Last time I had this I resorted to creating the mesh with the plan spot heights to keep the node count down, which generated a less than smooth surface combined with a few odd bumps & dips.
Apple iMac macOS Big Sur / AC24UKI (most recent builds)

Brad Elliott
Participant
The key to this is that it DOESN'T work with the SPLINE tool but DOES work with the POLYLINE tool.
Don't ask me how I spent my Saturday.
Mac OS10.13.6 AC23 USA Full

Hackintosh 4 GHz i7 32gb ram NVidia1060

Chris Grantham
Booster
The one issue i have with the technique is that there are some areas that require a bit more resolution then others.

If I set the linear segments to say 5' i get way more points i would need in some areas, while not nearly enough where the topography becomes more complex.
15" MBP 2.8 GHz Intel Core i7
16GB RAM OSX 10.13.6

27" iMac 4 GHz Intel Core i7
32GB RAM OSX 10.13.6

ArchiCAD 20 Build 8005
ArchiCAD 21 Build 5021
ArchiCAD 22 Build 3006

R Muller
Booster
Richard, I tried your method and it works well for the site survey information. Now I am trying to add the surrounding neighborhood, and running into a lot of problems.

I am trying to import information from a large DEM (USGS Digital Elevation Model) file with 2' topo of the entire county. I had someone make me a .dwg file out of it, which has about 350 polyline contours. I exploded one and discovered it has over 57,000 segments. The .pln file is about 110 mb.

I want to cut away the area I don't need, so I can reduce the file size to something less sluggish, and make my neighborhood mesh from the relevant area.

However, I have not been able to split any of these polylines. Any ideas why not? I am not used to working with 2D stuff, so maybe I am missing something.

Help! I have a deadline coming up and haven't even begun to do anything useful with this information.
R Muller

AC 25 USA (20+ years on ArchiCAD)

MBP 16GB OS 10.15 Catalina

R Muller
Booster
Did some more experimenting. Polylines that have 16,000 or fewer segments (as defined by exploding the line) can be split, while polylines that have 25,000 or more segments cannot be split. Seems like a bug.

However, even the larger polylines can be magic wanded into splines, and the splines can be split. Seems like a work-around.
R Muller

AC 25 USA (20+ years on ArchiCAD)

MBP 16GB OS 10.15 Catalina

R wrote:
Did some more experimenting. Polylines that have 16,000 or fewer segments (as defined by exploding the line) can be split, while polylines that have 25,000 or more segments cannot be split. Seems like a bug.

However, even the larger polylines can be magic wanded into splines, and the splines can be split. Seems like a work-around.
I probably would have tried:

1) exploding the polylines;
2) creating a marquee slightly larger than the area I wanted;
3) Doing a Find & Select OUTSIDE of the marquee and deleting those segments.
4) Re-consolidating the line segments into polylines.
5) Proceeding with the terrain, as usual.
Richard
--------------------------
Richard Morrison, Architect-Interior Designer
AC25 (since AC6.0), Win10

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