3 Tips to Optimally Export Solar Farm Projects to Google Earth

Learn tips for exporting your 3D AutoCAD design into Google Earth faster, better and more efficiently!

Productivity is one of the most important factors in the workflow of a company. This way you can offer better services, have satisfied customers and win more contracts. For this reason,  in this tutorial, you are going to learn how to optimize the process of your 3D drawing exports, from AutoCAD into Google Earth. Especially in large designs, the tips described below, for example, can even reduce the export time around three times or more. 

The tips are quite simple, can easily be implemented in any design and are the following three:

Tip 1: Define your Elements as Blocks

Tip 2: Group Objects into Single Model

Tip 3: Export your Drawing in Parts

If you don't already have Plex.Earth, download your fully-functional free trial from here.

For this tutorial, we will use as an example a project with 625 photo-voltaic solar panels (presented in the picture below). This means that our design is quite "heavy" and Google Earth cannot easily handle its export.


Tip 1: Define your Elements as Blocks


One of the most common mistakes when creating a 3D model that is consisted of various elements (lines, circles, 3D solids etc) is to repeat this design throughout the drawing with a simple copy/paste. This way when exporting it, Google Earth is forced to render these repeated models over and over again from the beginning, as Plex.Earth cannot recognize their similarity and instruct Google Earth respectively.

For this reason, it is suggested to create a block from the elements of this model, in this example of the photo-voltaic panel, and subsequently copy-paste the block along the area. As a plus, AutoCAD will also perform better. 


Tip 2: Group Objects into Single Model

Now, in order for Google Earth to recognize that these models are the same and render the block only one time and repeat it along the different coordinates, the drawing must be exported as a single model. Differently, each block is rendered from the start and consequently the export time increases. How much important this setting is, can be seen in the time comparisons below.


Export time as single model with blocks: 4:11 minutes
KML size: 1,79 Mb
Export time as not a single model with blocks: 4:50 hours
KML size: 250 Mb
Export time as single model with separate elements: 6:59 hours
KML size: 212 Mb

If you want to learn how to export your drawing in Google Earth, just go to this tutorial.

Tip 3: Export your Drawing into Parts

The final tip is for very large drawings where, because of their size, the resulting KML/KMZ file is too large, causing Google Earth to slow down significantly or even hang.

In this case, the best solution is to divide your drawing into various parts and export each one separately. You can either choose different groups of objects or export different drawing layers individually, if elements are grouped well in this way.

Although the process will still be time-consuming here, it will make the export possible and you will then be able to activate each KML/KMZ file individually in Google Earth, having control on the load you assign to it.  



Summarizing the above, when exporting large designs, three things should be taken into consideration. One, to define the models that are repeated as blocks, two to export everything as a single model and finally three, when needed, to divide the drawing into parts. This way more time can now be spent into designing and not into waiting in front of a computer. And we are pretty sure that this is something your customers and colleagues will like.

Feel free to contact us at support@plexscape.com, for any questions you may have, regarding your 3D exports and don’t forget to start your free trial today.


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