Join Eric Chappell for an in-depth discussion in this video Using Model Builder, part of InfraWorks 360 Essential Training.
- [Voiceover] Before you can design a land development project, you have to first define the conditions as they are now. Not only of the area you're developing, but also the surrounding areas, so that you can provide some context for your design. Let's take a look at how easy the Model Builder feature of InfraWorks 360 makes this task. Now before I continue, I feel like I need to point out that the Model Builder feature is not available in InfraWorks 360 LT, so if you have the LT version, feel free to watch the video, but know that you won't be able to do this task.
If you're thinking that, that's a really big problem, actually it's not, you're going to see in the videos that follow, you can actually build context for your model without using Model Builder. It's not as fast and it's not as easy, but you can certainly do it using data that you have access to or data that I'm going to show you is readily available on the web, at least for the United States. So, let's dig into Model Builder. I'll start by clicking the Model Builder button to open the window and I'll re-size the window just a bit and you'll see that we start by just looking at an overall map of the United States, very similar to any mapping interface that you may have used to find a restaurant or find directions to a place that you're looking to go.
I'm going to start by typing in a location, Carpinteria, California, you can see the possible hits on the search are listed in the drop down for me. So, I'll choose the first one and that zooms me right into Carpinteria, which is the location of the project where I would like to investigate. So, the area that we're looking to develop is actually a little bit to the east of where it first landed and if you recall from the previous videos, this is that Rincon Point area, and the area that we're looking to develop is right about here in the top of this mountain or this hilltop, so I'm going to center that area in the model and just take a look at how far I'm zoomed in.
Notice the area selected is 36.71 square kilometers and my maximum is 200 square kilometers, so I'm within the maximum and I'm good to go. Keep in mind that the size of the area that you're selecting does matter, so if you get too small of an area, you're not getting the benefit of all this context. If you get too large of an area, you're creating a large model that may have trouble performing on your desktop if it's not a good, solid machine and it may just be more than you really need, so be careful about how you zoom in and the area that you select.
Speaking of the area that you select, you should also know that there's more than one way to do that. The default is to simply build a model of what you see in the window, that's the option that's selected here, but we've also got the ability to draw our own window, to draw a polygon or even import a shape file that represents the outline that we want to use. So, for example, if you had a shape file representing the town limits, you could bring that in and it would restrict the extense of your model to that very shape.
So, lots of way to define the area that you're working in. Notice also that we've got some different views, as well, we can look at a road view, automatic will switch you between aerial and map view depending on how far you're zoomed out or in, and then you can force it to go to bird's eye view, which is a tilted view with aerial imagery instead of roads, so, depending on what you're looking for and what features you're capitalizing on, may determine what view you use.
So, let me go back to centering the right location in the model. That's about where I want to be and if you're not exactly in the same place I am, if you're following along, don't worry about it, as we move forward in the future exercises, this area's going to be defined for you anyway, so, don't worry about getting too picky about zooming in to the perfect rectangular area. So, what about the data, what data's going to be brought in? Well, we can see it listed right here, we've got roads, buildings, imagery, and elevation data and if I hover over each one of these, it tells me a little bit about it, where's it coming from, roads are coming from a service called Open Street Map, buildings as well are also from Open Street Map and if you want to check that out, you can go to openstreetmap.org and see what kind of data they have available.
Satellite imagery comes from Bing Maps and it's draped over the terrain and the elevation data comes from, in this case, the USGS, United States Geodetic Survey. Now, if you're in different places in the world, you're going to see different sources for this data. These are unique to the United States. Finally, I need to choose a location and a name for my model. So, I'm going to first choose the group where I want my model stored and that's going to be default group@Eric Chappell and once I've selected a group, I can enter a model name and I'm going to call this Lynda Heights.
Now, by the way, back to the group name, this is actually Default Group@Eric Chappel, what that means is the name of the group is called default group and it's within the account named Eric Chappell, so let's say the name of our project is Lynda Heights and it would be LyndaHeights@yourcompanyname which would probably be the name of the account, so that's where the default group at Eric Chappell comes from and how it might correspond with what you might choose in your situation. Alright, so we've chosen the group, we've named the model, we've zoomed into the area that we want to create, and now it's just a simple matter of clicking create model.
We'll be informed that the request was submitted and that Autodesk will let us know when the model is ready. I can close that down. I can close down the Model Builder window and now just simply wait for the model to be created. Now, on a bad day this might take 10 minutes, on a typical day, depending on your internet connection, this actually happens pretty quickly, in just maybe a minute or two or even less than a minute, but when the model is ready, two things will happen. One is that you'll get an email notification and the second is that the tile will simply appear here on the Infraworks 360 home screen.
As soon as that tile appears, you can click on it and you can begin opening the model. Here we see the tile has appeared, I can click the model to open it, click the tile to open the model and remember that Infraworks 360 actually works with data on the local hard drive, so it's going to have to go through a process of downloading that model, depending on the size of the model and how good your internet connection is, that can take a few seconds or it could take a few minutes and then once the model is downloaded, when Infraworks 360 opens it, it goes through a stage of kind of generating the model, taking that raw data and turning it into something that you can see.
So, now we can see the processing of the model is over and now we can begin zooming in and taking a look at what Model Builder and Infraworks 360 has done for us. I don't know about you, but I think this is just amazing. The fact that in a matter of a few minutes, I was able to generate a model that looks this fantastic. I mean, it looks like it's real, like I'm flying around on this site in a helicopter and what you can do after this is even more amazing, but let's talk about what's been created.
Obviously we've got the terrain, you can see very clearly, the shape of the land, the mountains in the background, and the steep cliffs and the wonderful topography of this part of California and then we also can see there's an aerial image draped over this terrain giving us a lot of the detail that we see, you know the trees and fields and things like that. If we zoom in a little closer we see some vector data. There are roads and rail and perhaps some buildings although this is a pretty low population area, as far as Model Builder is concerned, so we may not see any buildings appear and it doesn't look like any have.
Now, we can always supplement this with our own building data, but in our case, it turns out for the development that we're doing, buildings aren't really all that important. We also see water features, some creeks and ponds, and lakes and of course, the Pacific Ocean and all in all, what we end up with is a very robust depiction of the existing conditions of the area that we want to look at developing. So, I think you'll agree that Model Builder is truly an amazing feature of InfraWorks 360, allowing you to create a model of just about anywhere almost instantly.
Now, that you've seen how easy it is to create an existing world with Model Builder, I hope that you're excited about all the models you'll be creating in the very near future.
Plus, get an introduction to three advanced toolsets in InfraWorks 360: modeling road design, bridge design, and drainage design.
- Exploring the InfraWorks 360 interface
- Navigating an InfraWorks 360 model
- Using bookmarks
- Creating a new model
- Retrieving data and adding it to your model
- Working with coordinate systems
- Adding terrain, vector, and point cloud data
- Creating and editing roads, land areas, buildings, and pipelines
- Adding trees, water features, barriers, and city furniture
- Creating and applying styles
- Presenting your design with snapshots and storyboards
- Analyzing the model
- Sharing a model to enable collaboration
- Designing roads, bridges, and drainage systems