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Creating topography from a DWG link

From: Revit Architecture 2011 Essential Training

Video: Creating topography from a DWG link

When you receive information from a civil engineer, it will always be in either DGN or DWG format. There is no Revit civil package, so these folks are always going to be working in either AutoCAD or MicroStation. Revit does, however, have some simple topography tools, which are going to allow us to build a terrain model based on that CAD data that we bring in. So let's look at the process. Once again, I am in a blank, empty file just created from the default template for the purposes of this exercise. I have provided a civil engineering file that actually is shipped with, and installed with, the default AutoCAD installation.

Creating topography from a DWG link

When you receive information from a civil engineer, it will always be in either DGN or DWG format. There is no Revit civil package, so these folks are always going to be working in either AutoCAD or MicroStation. Revit does, however, have some simple topography tools, which are going to allow us to build a terrain model based on that CAD data that we bring in. So let's look at the process. Once again, I am in a blank, empty file just created from the default template for the purposes of this exercise. I have provided a civil engineering file that actually is shipped with, and installed with, the default AutoCAD installation.

So this file actually comes from Autodesk and is in the sample files with AutoCAD, and I am just using it here as an example to show you how we can bring that file in and make topography from it. So I am going to go to the Insert tab, click on the LinkCAD, and I've got this AutoCAD Siteplan file right here that I've copied over from the AutoCAD application. It was in the sample file, shipped with AutoCAD. The most important setting that we want to do differently here from the Import Floorplan movie is we want to make sure that we do not choose Current View only when we are bringing in Siteplan data.

This is critical because when we uncheck this box, we are basically telling Revit to treat this imported CAD data as three-dimensional geometry. If we don't use it as three- dimensional geometry, then the topography cannot be generated from it. So, we want to make sure that that box is unchecked. The rest of the settings are less important, but we'll just run through them any way. I am going to go ahead and invert the colors. I am going to bring in all the layers, auto-detect the units. Now, here probably a pretty good idea to go ahead and try the Origin to Origin option and see what happens.

But 9 times out of 10 what's going to happen is Siteplan data, civil engineers are notorious for they've drawn the contours here that you can see, and the origin is 300 miles away at some state benchmark marker. So, Revit doesn't have an easy time reconciling such large distances, especially when they are miles away. They have expanded this in 2011 to a 20-mile radius. It used to be limited at 2 miles, which was more limiting, so 20 miles is better, but still, sometimes it runs into problems.

So there is a pretty good chance we are going to see some sort of an error about this. Let me go ahead and click OK, and the error looks something like that. So, it's telling me that the object was a large distance from the origin, and so they chose Center to Center for me anyway, even though I asked for Origin to Origin. This is not the end of the world because Revit has a feature called Shared Coordinates, which we are going to look at in a future movie. Share Coordinates allows us to reconcile the differences between two different coordinate systems. So at first, you might be concerned about that and say, well, that was not very good of it to arbitrarily move my file.

But it's pretty easy for us to reconcile it back and get it coordinated. So for now we are not going to concern ourselves too much with that warning. One last thing I want to say about the warning is when you get a warning down here in the bottom corner, that's what Revit likes to refer to as a warning that you can ignore, or believe it or not, if you looked it up in the Help file, it's actually called an Ignorable Warning, okay. This means that I can to simply click anywhere onscreen, and the warning will go away, and it doesn't require immediate attention, okay. So some warnings will not be ignorable.

You'll have to click some sort of button in the dialog box, and usually it's a distasteful button like Cancel or Delete Stuff, and we'll see those maybe later. Anyhow, I'm looking at this file, and the next thing that I want to do is I want to kind of assess the file. I want to figure out what I've got here. So, I am going to go to an Elevation view first and just kind of show you that the engineer who built this file actually created a series of contour lines set at their explicit three-dimensional heights.

So each of those contour lines is set at a certain Z height, and that's going to be critical to our success in creating a topo surface from this. If everything is flat, we are not going to get a topo surface. We're just going to get a flat plane. So we need this sort of three -dimensional characteristic. The next thing we need is we need to know which layers in the CAD file are actually contours, so that Revit doesn't try to create contours from these plot lines, or from these roads, or other things in here which would just distort the surface and cause a lot of problems.

We are only interested in the actual lines that are really contour lines. So if I kind of look in this area right here, that's probably a pretty good place for me to do this query. So I am going to zoom in right here, and what I want to know is what layer this bluish color line is, and what layer this darker purple line is? I can do that by simply selecting the CAD file, the whole thing will highlight, and then over here on the Ribbon, I have a Query button. When I click on that, it allows me to select the lines inside the CAD file, and it will tell me the names of those layers.

So this one is called CF-DEP_INDX, and this other one over here is called CF-DEP_INT, which I assume is intermediate. So we are going to take those two layers, and we are going to generate topography from just those two layers. So we are going to go to Massing & Site for that. Click on the Toposurface button, and we have a few options here. Place Point is the default option. In order to use Place Point, you would literally have to specify the Elevation and literally click point-by-point-by- point, every single point you wanted to create the surface from.

Very tedious process if you were doing a site of this magnitude. Not recommended. Instead, we are going to use the button next to it, where it's going to allow us to create from the Imported CAD file. I am going to select the Import Instance and when I do, it will give me a list of all the layers in that CAD file. I am going to click Check None, and then I am going to select those two layers that I just previously queried. So that was why it was important for me to do that query, so I know which layers to choose, and then I am going to click OK. What you are going to see is Revit will go through and analyze all of those CAD layers and generate points at the correct three- dimensional locations for all of those contours.

So I think you'll agree that that's going to happen much more quickly than you and I could go in and place those points manually. So if we zoom out, you can see there is a whole lot of points there. So all I need to do is click Finish, and let's go ahead and click the 3D tool and a little tough to see. So I am going to do two things. I am going to take the CAD file, select it. I can tell it's the CAD file because it highlights with this big box around it, and if I wait long enough, I'll get a tooltip that tells me that's an AutoCAD file. I am going to select it, and I am going to hide that object, okay.

I want to just turn it off and make it invisible. In this case, I am going to do that temporarily, and I can do that down here on the View Control bar, with this little Sunglass icon and just choose Hide Element. That's going to make that CAD file just go away, just temporarily. We are just kind of hiding it. And then the next thing I want to do is click this little white cube over here, which is different shading modes. The default is Hidden Line. We can do Shaded, Shaded with Edges. Shaded with Edges usually gives a little more contrast, so I am going to go ahead and choose that, hold down my Shift key, spin my mouse, and you can see that there is a surface here, and it's a little subtle, but it's actually picking up the 3D contours that were in the CAD file.

So very easy to take a CAD file and convert it into a 3D surface, and then we can start actually placing our building on the site.

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This video is part of

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Revit Architecture 2011 Essential Training

81 video lessons · 12963 viewers

Paul F. Aubin
Author

 
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  1. 1m 59s
    1. Welcome
      1m 27s
    2. Using the exercise files
      32s
  2. 13m 45s
    1. Introducing building information modeling (BIM)
      3m 0s
    2. Working in one model with many views
      5m 51s
    3. Understanding Revit element hierarchy
      4m 54s
  3. 47m 31s
    1. Using the Recent Files screen and the Application menu
      3m 21s
    2. Using the Ribbon and the Quick Access Toolbar (QAT)
      5m 3s
    3. Understanding context ribbons
      3m 0s
    4. Using the Project Browser and navigating views
      7m 37s
    5. Using the Properties palette
      10m 1s
    6. Selection and modification basics
      10m 27s
    7. Accessing Revit options
      8m 2s
  4. 42m 18s
    1. Creating a new project
      3m 26s
    2. Understanding the importance of template files
      5m 7s
    3. Understanding project settings
      6m 9s
    4. Opening and saving projects
      9m 9s
    5. Adding levels
      5m 0s
    6. Adding grids
      8m 41s
    7. Adding columns
      4m 46s
  5. 58m 21s
    1. Adding walls
      8m 39s
    2. Using snaps
      6m 39s
    3. Understanding wall properties and wall types
      7m 24s
    4. Locating walls
      7m 34s
    5. Using the modify tools
      7m 33s
    6. Adding doors and windows
      6m 37s
    7. Using constraints
      4m 47s
    8. Adding plumbing fixtures and other components
      4m 8s
    9. Using Autodesk Seek
      5m 0s
  6. 50m 52s
    1. Working with DWG files
      7m 51s
    2. Creating topography from a DWG link
      7m 45s
    3. Understanding CAD inserts
      6m 8s
    4. Using import tips
      4m 6s
    5. Creating a group
      9m 20s
    6. Working with Revit links
      9m 3s
    7. Managing links
      5m 51s
    8. Understanding file formats
      48s
  7. 1h 2m
    1. Working with floors
      8m 37s
    2. Working with footprint roofs
      7m 13s
    3. Working with extrusion roofs
      6m 0s
    4. Roof modifications and examples
      6m 27s
    5. Working with slope arrows
      6m 17s
    6. Adding openings
      8m 13s
    7. Working with stairs
      7m 41s
    8. Working with railings
      4m 29s
    9. Working with ceilings
      7m 36s
  8. 35m 52s
    1. Creating a custom basic wall type
      6m 10s
    2. Understanding stacked walls
      7m 31s
    3. Adding curtain walls
      6m 50s
    4. Adding curtain grids, mullions, and panels
      6m 44s
    5. Creating wall sweeps
      8m 37s
  9. 32m 43s
    1. Using object styles
      4m 45s
    2. Working with visibility/graphic overrides
      6m 52s
    3. Using Hide/Isolate
      7m 11s
    4. Understanding view range
      7m 40s
    5. Using the Linework tool
      4m 2s
    6. Using cutaway views
      2m 13s
  10. 21m 44s
    1. Adding rooms
      7m 4s
    2. Controlling room numbering
      8m 16s
    3. Understanding room bounding elements
      6m 24s
  11. 27m 2s
    1. Understanding tags
      7m 42s
    2. Adding schedules
      6m 50s
    3. Modifying schedules
      6m 8s
    4. Creating a key schedule
      6m 22s
  12. 48m 38s
    1. Adding text
      7m 21s
    2. Adding dimensions
      7m 26s
    3. Adding symbols
      3m 54s
    4. Adding legend views
      4m 42s
    5. Creating a detail callout
      6m 25s
    6. Using detail components
      9m 36s
    7. Adding filled and masking regions
      9m 14s
  13. 34m 39s
    1. Understanding families
      2m 37s
    2. Using reference planes, parameters, and constraints
      10m 46s
    3. Adding solid geometry
      8m 40s
    4. Adding void geometry
      4m 49s
    5. Completing the family
      7m 47s
  14. 32m 6s
    1. Adding sheets
      7m 58s
    2. Working with placeholder sheets
      4m 16s
    3. Outputting sheets to a DWF file
      6m 5s
    4. Exporting to AutoCAD
      5m 50s
    5. Plotting and creating a PDF
      7m 57s
  15. 25s
    1. Goodbye
      25s

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