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Understanding the Survey Point in Archicad for accurate project coordination

Dear Community members,


If you are actively involved in a BIM-enabled project, you know how a model placement is extremely important for seamless project coordination, especially when compliance with ISO 19650 is required. Therefore, agreeing upon the project location and coordinate system should be one of the first steps of project start-up.


This is why we want to draw your attention to a super helpful feature available to you since Archicad 25: the Survey Point.  




Learn more about Survey Point


While the project location is crucial for seamless coordination, it is also one of the biggest challenges in a BIM-enabled project. Causes can vary from lack of a BIM Execution Plan to an incomplete one in which the project coordinates are not explicitly determined, or most commonly, to different authoring tools which work with model placement in different ways. On top of this, real-world coordinates can be required for project coordination. This will add an extra layer of complexity to the coordination workflow, as the numbers are too complex and large, and no existing authoring software can work with real-world coordinates without facing accuracy issues.


With this in mind, the Survey Point in Archicad plays a crucial role in ensuring the precise translation of project coordinates between Archicad and other Building Information Modelling (BIM) tools, supporting Graphisoft’s Open BIM commitment.


Before Archicad 25, two main workflows could be used to export the Archicad model in real-world coordinates.


1. The first involved modelling the project far from the Archicad origin in real-world coordinates. This workflow is not recommended as it can cause severe issues with the accuracy and display of the 3D elements, compromising the production of documentation and visualisation.   


2. The second workflow was achieved by creating a main working file with the model close to the Archicad origin and a second file, usually called site plan, to which the main file was hotlinked and moved to its position and orientation in line with the real-world coordinates. This workflow would avoid issues with the main working file, which could be used for documentation and visualisation.


With the implementation of the Survey Point, these two workflows can be replaced by a more straightforward and issue-free solution.

The Survey Point provides a real-world reference within the Archicad model. Initially hidden, it can be visible and easily customized through the Location Settings, accessed by menu Options > Project Preferences > Location Settings. X, Y, and Z coordinates, as well as Project North, should be adjusted. This means the project will remain close to the Archicad origin while the Survey Point position will deal with the real-world coordinates at the export stage.


When exporting the IFC model, the Survey Point can be selected in the IFC translator settings (File > Interoperability > IFC > IFC Translators) to define the IFC model position. This will allow the user to model the project close to the Archicad origin while still exporting it in real-world coordinates. Similarly, the Survey Point can be used as a reference when exporting DWG and working with BCF files. 


Survey Point.png


The Archicad user should position the Survey Point based on coordinates and north rotation agreed upon by the design team. This information should be included in the BIM Execution Plan following the client’s requirements. It is advised that all consultants create prototype files using their native design tool during the project's mobilisation phase. The lead designer can federate these models to confirm that all models are located correctly, avoiding delays and issues during the coordination phases. 


To learn more about Survey Point, download the Workflow Guide from the catalog page on Graphisoft Learn.


Check more Workflow Guides