Although our users can import contour lines for their area of interest directly from Plex-Earth, there are cases where these contour lines are produced from other software or local surveys. These contour lines can be very complex when transferred to AutoCAD, consisting of too many vertices. Thus, when Plex-Earth is trying to process them, for example, to create a terrain surface, it can result in AutoCAD slowing down or even freezing. As such a workaround must be performed for simplifying these polylines.
In this tutorial, the following two processes are presented:
Part A: Reduce Vertices of Existing Countour Polylines
The process of removing the unnecessary vertices of a polyline is called weeding. The feature is available in AutoCAD MAP 3D and in Civil 3D.
Below is an example of a drawing with contour lines acquired from a local survey.
If we select one of these polylines, we can see that it consists of break lines, each one having a large number of points. This probably is already slowing down AutoCAD's performance.
Moreover, if trying to create a surface from these break lines, the number of triangles created will be quite high, thus resulting in AutoCAD freezing.
Actually, if we zoom in more, the vertices of our contour lines will become obvious.
As such the weeding of these lines is the only solution for simplifying them.
In order to do that, we use the command WEEDFEATURES in the command line of Civil 3D and we select one of our polylines.
After, that, a window will appear, which shows how many vertices are going to be removed.
The vertices that will be removed, appear in red color.
Click OK for the changes to be applied.
Similarly, we perform the same procedure for the other contour lines.
If the contour polylines are too complex, we may need to apply the WEEDFEATURE command multiple times, in order to achieve the simplicity we want.
Below you can see the difference in a contour line, by applying the WEEDFEATURE five times.
After applying the process to all our contour polylines as many times as needed, we can see that we can use AutoCAD without encountering performance issues.
So, now, we can move on to the second part and see how we can use these polylines in order to create a Terrain Mesh with Plex-Earth!
Part B: Generate Terrain Mesh from Contours
In order to Create a Terrain Mesh from our contour lines, we just choose Create Surface from the Plex-Earth ribbon. Alternatively, we can type PXV_TERRAIN_FROMOBJECTS in the command line.
Now, Plex-Earth asks us to Select Points. Since we do not have any points available, we skip this step using the space bar.
Then, we are prompted to Select Breaklines. We select all the contour lines we want for our terrain mesh and press enter.
Moreover, we must Select Boundary. In this case, the white line is our boundary, so we select it and press enter.
Finally, we are asked to Select Holes, if any. We can skip this by using the spacebar again.
Plex-Earth will now create a Mesh Object, using our contours, as shown below.
Creating surface models is very important in landscape and city modeling and for various other visualization purposes and design applications. With Plex-Earth you can have the best of two worlds. You can combine the measurements of local surveys or data obtained from other applications and use them to create Terrain Meshes in AutoCAD. With small processing in these acquired contour lines, you can overcome any performance issues and boost your productivity.
We hope that you have found this tutorial on how to simplify polylines and create a terrain mesh, helpful. Feel free to contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org for any questions you may still have.
Don't have Plex-Earth yet? Explore all the features and potential benefits of this software; install a fully functional 7-day free trial of Plex-Earth now!
AutoCAD Version: 2023, 2022 , 2021 , 2020 , 2019 , 2018 , 2017 , 2016
Civil 3D® Version: 2023, 2022 , 2021 , 2020 , 2019 , 2018 , 2017 , 2016
AutoCAD Architecture Version: 2023, 2022 , 2021 , 2020 , 2019 , 2018 , 2017 , 2016
BricsCAD Pro: V22 , V21