Tuesday, 3 January 2017

Infraworks terrain to Revit and back

How can you get an Infraworks terrain model into Revit.

I am bit of a nitpicker when it comes to trying to get models at the exact coordinates. Before you continue I thought I had it figured out. Later I have ran into an issue that I have yet to figure out.

Goals for this blog: 
  1. Infraworks Terrain to Revit 
  2. Revit model into to Infraworks
  3. Civil 3D model and Revit model in Navisworks
  4. Everything in the right location without manually moving anything
Let's start of with Infraworks and I will pick this location as it's one of the few places in the Netherlands that has some elevation.
Site
Notice the elevation differences
Time to export to IMX. This will let me open it in Civil 3D.
  1. This setting might be to big and you might want to make it smaller
  2. Set the right coordinate system (and this turns out later to be a bad idea) Leave the coordinate system to what Infraworks has set it to)(another disclaimer this tip might change again as I still have to try and figure out which conversion is causing the errors)
  3. export to IMX




Goto AutoCAD Civil 3D 2017
Follow the numbers in the images
Here I am not converting the model to RDnew (Dutch national coordinate grid) as I found out later the Revit model does not end up in the right location.

This is what the Civil 3D model looks like!
The tricky part now is to select a point which is going to be the point that you will know where it is in all the different applications you will have to use. 

I have chosen a point and for this point I will create a couple of things:
I have a special AutoCAD block that will read the coordinates of a point and will allow me to snap to something.
For avoiding rounding errors I move this AutoCAD block to a location without decimals.
Copy the xy values to notepad! We need them later in Revit for the Project base point.
I will put another point on top of this AutoCAD block.

Notice the coordinates of this block
Turn this point into a COGO point
Select the point and notice in the bottom left of the image that now you also have the Latitude and Longitude of the point. 
Copy to clipboard
Go to a website that can convert degrees to numbers
I use this one:convert_lat_long/ ( I have to check if this website is the one that is causing me grieve later on)
Be sure to check the letters indicated at number 4 and 2
enter the degrees and copy out the other ones
so for me:
LAT = 50.75485555555556
LON = 6.019808333333334

Don't do paste the values in this screen! (i have left this in for people who have read the previous version)
Revit 2017
Copy paste the lat/long values in like this. The comma is the separator!!!
After you hit search Revit will give you a name, ignore that it's the values in the dialogue box that is good.
New part: the step I have done wrong in the image above is that I selected the internet mapping service. I should have used the default City list. 
but when you enter values in her they will get rounded
these were the values I pasted in and notice the rounding difference. I can't tell if this has a significant impact.
LAT = 50.75485555555556
LON = 6.019808333333334


Back to the AutoCAD file let's create a file that will allow the creation of the topo surface in Revit. Select your TIN surface is. (the topo) Basically I am going to extract height lines from the TIN surface.
Extract objects
uncheck the triangles
Save the file and go back to Revit
Set the units to meters
Copy xy values, the ones in Notepad, into the project base point. (NOT the LAT /LON)
Link the AutoCAD file!
Move the AutoCAD file to the correct location. (this manual moving I can't seem to fix just yet)
Create a topo surface and use the dwg file.
Uncheck all the layers except:
  • C-TOPO-MAJR
  • C-TOPO-MINR
That looks reasonable for Revit. Remember Revit's  topo tools are not at the same level of excellence as the Civil 3D's tools.
Next step let's link the Revit file back in to Infraworks
I have added some walls earlier for checking to see if the surface would end up in the right location. At the moment it is close but not right... (See numbers 1,2,3 it's of by a few meter.) (4,5 and 6 point to the revit topo surface)
Reviewing the data source configuration, I noticed the lat/long coordinates have changed... 
This is what we had set in Revit:
LAT = 50.75485555555556
LON = 6.019808333333334
and this is what Infraworks has read: read before:
Infraworks reads the values I have entered in the location window. Even thought the Revit interface seems to round the numbers, Infraworks reads the values I have entered.
This is was Infraworks reads now:


By now I have eliminated one error I made before and the Revit model is a bit closer to where it should be. It's not correct yet, but reasonable. I did get one other suggestion that I will try.

The problem is that I now have to figure out which mathematical conversion went wrong! None of the conversions are visible. I'll think I'll have a chat with the factory.

The other goal of getting the Revit file and the civil 3D file in the right location in Navisworks did work out. See image below.
  1. is the Revit file,exported to nwc with shared coordinates
  2. is the IMX file from Infraworks loaded into Civil 3D and saves as a DWG.

A couple of the goals achieved but not all. I'll try to update the blog once I have a solution or when I have found the error why the Revit file is not exactly in the right place.

Updated once: 22-02-2017


Monday, 7 November 2016

Hello

This blog post will not contain any valuable information. it's only intent is to poke a little fun at the competition.

When Bentley organises something they entertain you with this: (of-key plagiarism ;)
Image  credits: Pam Bhandal
I wonder if the user experience of project wise is similar to this song. Why don't his colleagues like him enough to avoid these kind of mishaps. You just have to hope that our marketing team would avoid this. 

When we organise something:
Notice: Dancers, Professional DJ's, Storm Troopers and none singing Exec's


btw if you are going to sing about your product: see these guys from ccp creating the mmorpg Eve-online: EVE-online






Thursday, 3 November 2016

Upgrading Revit Project files

Find the differences

This can be a fun game. But an important part of the game play relies on the fact that the author will tell you before hand how many differences there are. When you don't know the amount of differences it becomes annoying quite quickly.

Navisworks has a compare functionality that works very well but shows the results in a rather tricky way. 

That is a pity because a tool to help you find out what has changed in a file from one version to another is a real time saver. I have seen people placing "Change masses" in Revit to indicate where something has been changed. That system heavily relies on the user not forgetting to place that mass and fill in a comment. That is right away my biggest objection against that system. It's time consuming and prone to error.


Most likely, at the upcoming AU2016, you will get to see and hear of a lot of project Fluent. Project fluent is all about finding the differences between different versions of the same file.


This week I have been looking into it, to see if this can be used to compare the differences between a 2016 file and an upgraded to 2017.1 version of that file.

After loading the tool showed me this window: 
Ignore the 33 added, those are entourage and of my own doing, most likely. Modified is what I am most interested in. The changes are further sorted in changes in shape, transformation and property values.

The shape changes are sometimes a bit tricky to see or find. 
Although small, this mullion is rather obvious:

But a whole lot of doors have changed
It took me quite a few times clicking on version 1 and 2 to find out what changed here.  Trust me when I say there is a very small change.
This change is rather odd as this should not have happened. But at least we have found it. We could open this door in the family editor to see what has happened.

Other changes are properties.  Most likely here we see a new property appearing in Revit 2017 that wasn't there before.

Structural Framing
Overall I like how the tool shows the differences for the model elements. 

But with upgrading your model you would definitely want to know if your views or sheets have been changed.
for this upgrade there seemed to only be one change found on the sheets.Therefor I decided to fake it a bit and add some changes to a newer version. Just to see what it finds. Unfortunately it didn't find any.
That is a pity for the time being but I am going to check with the team to find out what is the case here. One other think I would like to see come in is the navigator / project browser you get when you view your file from A360 team / Fusion Team website. 
So maybe the tool isn't ready yet for reviewing upgraded files but I love it anyways because it's great for reviewing changes. 

If you want to try yourself go here: Project Fluent





 

Wednesday, 12 October 2016

Dynamo for Custom interoperability

A while ago I read a nice blogpost about how someone wasn't to happy about the IFC format and that he thought the way forward for interoperability is for software vendors to write direct file readers for each others fileformat. Naturally this idea received a warm welcome from the IFC community. I liked the idea at the time but I did see trouble regarding all the different software versions you would have to deal with.

Nowadays when you link or import data into Revit you pretty much get a blob of data. Take it or leave it. The amount of control you have when selecting a dwg is rather limited. Sure, you can select which layers you want but it's still a bit of a blob. You are dependant of the quality of the dwg.
Linking IFC files isn't any better. You get a blob of data.

Pointclouds, a blob

Linking database, probably with the right queries, it is a lot better but I haven't done this in a while.  
The Bridge modeller extension was already a nice step forward regarding what kind of data you would want to get in Revit.
Most likely, there are many more extensions that will let you get specific data from other files. But that is not what I want to write about today. It dawned upon me that with the way Dynamo is going we are moving towards what I call custom interoperability. You will create the future interfaces between different data sources. Because you know what you need for your projects. Dynamo is getting better by the day to allow you to get the data you need in the format you need it. That is why I like dynamo so much! After AU I will write about some examples of this.

Friday, 30 September 2016

Revit and tin surfaces from Civil 3D

For many years I have been trying to get information from Civil 3D to Revit or the other way around. Things have improved over the years quite a bit but trying to turn TIN surfaces into topo was always a bit of a challenge. (to put it mildly)

But Civil 3D now has the ability to export to IFC. IFC and Revit are of course big friends... But to my surprise the IFC out of Civil 3D to Revit is rather usable. There is of course still the issue with IFC files and coordinates.

To get the coordinates right

The first thing I did is check the ifc file I created from Civil 3D in Navisworks with the same dwg. On first glance it looks fine!
Next I linked the IFC file into Revit. That imported the file to far from the Revit origin. (on a side note, I am trying to get the factory to provide us with the ability to be able to place a linked file with it's origin on top of the survey point.)
I went back to Civil 3D and I copy pasted the surface into a new file. In that file I moved a know point to the 0.0 (see image)
This known point I converted to millimeters.
X = 353265.125     Y = 402261.875     Z = 111.334 (meters)
X = 353265125     Y = 402261875     Z = 111334 (millimeters)

  1. Insert the millimeters values in a new revit file into the project base point . Link the IFC file into Revit.
  2. Export the moved surface to IFC
  3. Link the IFC file in Revit 
  4. To check the coordinates I drew a big floor over the edges of the surface.
  5. Open a 3D view
  6. export that floor to a nwc file. 
  7. Apend it in Navisworks.
The nwc from Revit is right on top of the original dwg file from civil 3D (the one that was not moved!!!) That happens because of the numbers I filled into the project base point and when I export the the nwc file I had set the nwc settings set to: Shared (do not use project internal)

The big advantage of IFC files over other linked CAD files is that IFC files are properly cut by a section view!
(in this section view I have set the the far clip offset to 1 mm)
If you have trouble seeing you IFC file check the phase of the view

There are some things left: 
  1. I have to test the materials. When I set the view to shaded it's completely black.
  2. The IFC file is a Generic Model and not a Topo surface. (personally I don't care)

But image what you could do now if you take the different surfaces from Civil 3D to Revit!








Monday, 13 June 2016

Collaboration for Revit and autocad files

Everyone should know that the optimal number of DWG files in your Revit project is less than 1. That being said, it is quite often unavoidable to link dwg files in your Revit project files.

It has been said many times over that you should never import DWG files. Technically linking DWG files is only marginally better than importing DWG files. That is because Revit will 'import' a DWG files if you link it. The only difference is that you will be able to: Reload from, Reload, Unload Import and remove the linked DWG file.

When you want to link in a DWG file you may only do this from a local or network drive. You can't link to the A360 team site. (or any other internet site) If you are working on a Collaboration for Revit project you can link DWG files just like you would normally. Your collaborating team members may get to see a dialogue box when they open the project telling them Revit can't find the linked DWG file.

Consider the following setup. Create a separate Revit project file which you will us to link the DWG files you need. Be sure to link the dwg files with current view only and be sure to place the DWG file on the correct view. After you have done so initiate Collaboration for Revit. This RVT file now gets uploaded with all the DWG files in it. If you link this RVT file into another project file you can make the DWG files visible. (It's good practise to place a linked RVT files on specific workset. I have placed this link on a workset called LINK_DWG) You or any of your collaborating partners will not get the warning: can't find linked DWG files.
To make the DWG files from the linked RVT file visible in the Host file you have to do the following.
Open the view in which you would like to see the DWG file from the linked file. Go to visibility and graphics --> Revit links --> Basics --> set to custom --> and set the linked view.
( in the image you see that I am linking to the view 15-level. Later I realised that it might be better to name the view after the DWG file that I have placed upon it)
Next go to the Import categories and check the DWG file that you want to see

If you click on the plus sign you will be able to turn of layers or apply overrides

The additional benefit of this is that all the main Revit project files stay clean of DWG links / imports. This is good for performance.
If you place the linked RVT file with all the DWG files in it on a specific workset than it's also easy to not load this when you are opening the project by simple not opening this workset. This is good for performance.
If you are collaborating with other companies than you can share the DWG information without you having to send them the DWG files separately.

If you want to have a look at the file send me email and I'll invite you to my hub.


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