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My unasked for 2022 Archicad geo-referencing optimization wishes

Johan Cosandey

Dear Graphisoft, 


As an architect and BIM manager, I have collected a few geo-referencing and level management optimization wishes these last few years that I think could really help make Archicad a better tool for everyone. 


Take it into account or not, I needed to put these ideas out there.

Don’t hesitate to contact me, I’d be please to elaborate on these subjects. 


1)  Geo-referencing

The geo-referencing tool in Archicad is still not easy and logical enough. 

The fact that you have to put the survey point at the global 0;0 coordinate is just not what we need and not how we work in real life.

The survey point should be exactly what it’s name says : 

  • Place it on a point that’s been surveyed by a surveyor and tell Archicad it’s global coordinates
  • The point should stay there, close to your project, and Archicad should make the calculations for the global 0;0 itself without bothering us (nobody needs to see where this global 0;0 point is)

It would be way more logical for everyone (BIM managers, architectes, draftsman, …) and it would be easier to spot unwanted modifications or errors. 


2) Ground floor altitude management

Maintaining a correct altitude for the ground floor (relative to sea level) can sometimes be painful and I quite often see errors in projects due to small projects modifications and people not thinking about altitude right away. And they are right : modifying the vertical position of the ground floor should not be a potential nightmare : if you change the sea level of your ground floor, everything has virtually moved and you have to move certain objects in 3D back to their correct position (terrain or any exterior object that’s not linked to the building but to the surrounding). 

I have seen a few people try to modify the altitude reference of some fixed surveyed objects to sea level but the sad truth is that it’s not possible because everything is in reality linked to the ground floor. I don’t think that’s the best way of handling project altitude.

Here’s an idea of how I think it could work : 

- Ground floor sea level should be defined directly in the floor management window with level names and heights

- The global sea level reference would be defined in the survey point and we should have the ability to display the survey point in 3D (as a GDL object : inverted pyramid, inverted cone, …)

- The ground floor vertical position would simply be equal to the difference between survey point sea level altitude and ground floor sea level altitude

- We should then be able to choose to position objects relative to floors or to sea level and lock them to this reference (maybe with a check box or a very clear way of setting this)

- This way, certain objects could be virtually locked in position relative to sea level even if you decide to move the building up or down

In the end, we should be able to easily modify a building’s vertical position without ruining our geo-referencing and we every user should be able to easily understand how it works (which is clearly not the case at the moment).

These 2 altitudes references could also be used when placing modules to choose the right reference and maybe place them relative to sea level, simplifying placement for everyone.


That's it for me, I hope I was clear enough. 


Best regards



Architect and BIM manager | Founder @ Studio 22 | Archicad 25 | MacBook Pro M1 16'' 2021
Erwin Edel

I have yet to dabble with the 'new' way of doing things, but I can fully agree with your description of the practical use of a reference point in a BIM project out in the field.


The problems you describe make it sound like having to jump through hoops to adhere to the accepted standards at best and unworkable for IFC export at worst.

Erwin Edel, Project Lead, Leloup Architecten

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