Revit is Autodesk's advanced designer tool, created to help architecture, engineering, and construction (AEC) teams create high-quality buildings and infrastructure. It is well known for easily creating 3D models for any related engineering work. In engineering 3D work, it is a significant advantage to have accurate elevation data in our drawing, so we can design with respect to the site's conditions. With Plex-Earth 5D is easy to obtain accurate elevation data for our project area. In this tutorial, we will show you, how to use Plex-Earth 5D contour elevation data to create a Toposurface in Revit, and then create a Road on it.
Step 1: Import a Terrain Model
In our case, we would prefer contour lines with more density, so we are going to set minor/major contours to 10/50.
Step 2: Insert Contours in your Drawing
Up to this step, the contour lines created are dynamic objects only visible via Plex-Earth 5D. To be able to create a Toposurface in Revit we need to insert our dynamic contour lines as drawing objects into our drawing. To do so, we select Insert from the terrain edit tab and then select Countour Polylines.
After that, a block of contour lines is inserted into our drawing.
We will need to explode the block of contours, so we have a bunch of separate polylines. Now that we have imported our elevation data, we save our drawing and close AutoCAD. Optionally, we can delete any unnecessary drawing object to avoid inserting it in our Revit model -like the outlook in this case.
Step 3: Link your AutoCAD drawing to your Revit project
Now we start a new project in Revit. Then we navigate to the Insert Tab and select the Link CAD icon.
We locate our drawing and make sure that the Current View Only option is unselected.
Note: For our model to be inserted correctly into Revit, it is important to choose the correct Import Units. If we leave this option to Auto-Detect, a file created in Imperial (English) imports with feet and inches as the units. If the AutoCAD file was created in metric, then the file imports into Revit with millimeters as the units. If you import a file into a project with opposing units (for example, a metric file into an Imperial project). Generally, is advisable to work in the same units both in AutoCAD and Revit.
The contour lines are now inserted successfully into our Revit model.
Step 4: Check Scale and Units of your Import (optional)
If you missed the import units at the previous step, you can adjust them after your import. To do so, select your import and then click on Edit Type in the Properties Tab. If your project in Revit and in AutoCAD follow the same units, you can skip this step.
In the next window, we select the appropriate units and scale for our input to proceed. Click Apply and OK to proceed.
Step 5: Create a Toposurface
To proceed, we open a 3D view of our project, for better visualization. To do so, we go to the View Tab and select 3D View or we open the respective view from the Project Browser.
Now, we navigate to the Massing & Site Tab of Revit, and we select Toposurface.
On the Toposurface Editor, we select Create from Import and then, Select Import Instance.
We select the imported dwg from our model space (the drawing will appear as a block when we hover on it). In the next window, we define the layers we want to use in our Toposurface. Since we want to create our Toposurface from contour lines, we select the layers Plex-Earth Contours Major and Plex-Earth Contours Minor and click OK.
Finally, we click the Finish Surface button on the Toposurface Editor to finalize our Toposurface.
Now our Toposurface is created.
We can turn the Visual Style to Realistic for a better view of our terrain model.
At this point, we could ask, if we could get even better results, by using Plex-Earth 5D's high-quality raster imagery onto the Toposurface for a more realistic model. Although a process like this is not directly supported in Revit, there is a roughly accurate way to use Plex-Earth's mosaics onto TopoSurfaces. To do so, you will need to use Plex-Earth 5D's image as a new material for your Toposurface.
On the Material Editor, you will need to deactivate the Repeat and make multiple attempts in scaling to achieve a pretty accurate drape of the mosaic image onto the Toposurface. The disadvantage of this process is that there is not an available way until now to directly apply your image without following this manual process to save you time.
Step 6: Create your Road path using Detail Lines
Revit does not include a direct tool for road creation. However, we can use the Detail Lines and Toposurface tools to create a Road following the curves of our Toposurface.
To start with, from the Annotate Tab, we select Detail Line.
Then, we design the detail line, as the path we want our road to follow (keep in mind that you cannot use the detail lines in the 3D View).
After we complete the path of our road, we select offset from the Modify tab and select to offset our detail lines. We choose to offset by the desired value, for example, 10 meters (set the value in millimeters as 10,000) and repeat for all the detail lines.
After finishing offsetting all detail lines, add an extra detail line at the top of your road to close them.
To improve the result, we select again Detail Lines in the Annotate Tab, and from the Modify window, we select the Fillet Arc option, to make the corners of our Road rounder. We set the desired radius value for Arc and we proceed for all the corners.
After finishing this process, we will have created the outlook of our Road as shown below.
Step 7: Create a Split Surface
Now we will use the detail lines to create a split surface of our Toposurface which will serve as our Road. To proceed with that, from the Massing and Site Tab, we select the Split Surface command.
Then we are prompted to select the surface we want to split. From the 3D view, we select our Toposurface. Then on the Modify Panel, we select the Pick Lines tool. Then we select the View our detail lines are, and we choose all of them. When finished, we select the tick icon to finalize the process.
After the Split Surface is completed, the last step needed for it to appear as a road is to apply a proper material. To do so, we select the split surface from the 3D View and check on the Material option at the properties tab.
We choose one of the asphalt materials Revit offers, and select OK.
Now our Road is finished. We can see our model in 3D View. Optionally, we can delete the inserted drawing from AutoCAD, to lighten our model, if we are not planning to use it further.
Having accurate elevation data during your designing process can be a game-changer. It is also important to be able to access these data with any design software you are using easily and quickly. With Plex-Earth 5D you gain access to high-quality elevation data and terrain models in a form easily adjustable with plenty of software.
Discover these capabilities by installing a fully functional 7-day free trial now!
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