Many times your design files are provided to you in 2D. The topography in these is illustrated through contour lines and other elevation information. Importing that file into Virtual Surveyor does not directly create a triangulated design surface that can be used for further analysis. However, Virtual Surveyor makes it possible to import that 2D plan and convert it into a design surface ready for advanced calculation. 

This article takes you through a step-by-step guide to using a 2D CAD file to generate a design surface.


Import 2D Data

Import the 2D data plan using the Drag and drop (or upload) feature within the Project View. 

Note : Peak users can create a new Terrain State to import the design file. They can then use that "design" terrain state as a reference in Cut/Fill maps.

Select Specific Design Items 

2D plans usually contain a lot of information. You have to focus on design items that show the projected topography like contour lines, elevation points, or any other elevation annotations. 

  1. Click on each of the design items and note their layers. 
  2. In the Project View, turn off all layers and then activate the specific design items layers only. 

Hint : If relevant design items are mixed with nonrelevant items in the same layers, you can easily separate them. Create a new layer, select all the relevant items, and move them to the newly created layer to isolate them. 

Add Elevation to Design Items

As these are 2D, the design items must be edited to add an elevation

  1. Select a polyline and in the TOOLS tab, click on Edit Z
  2. Select all (Ctrl + A) vertices and enter the elevation value in the box within the Edit group. 
    1. You can find the elevation values as text annotations along the contours
  3. Repeat this process for all the design items (you can edit all the points' Z values in the same way).

Create a 3D Design Surface

Once all the design items have been edited: 

  1. Deselect everything by pressing Esc. 
  2. Go to the Toposurface group in the HOME tab and make sure that the Method is set on 3D. 
  3. Click on Triangulate All to generate the design surface. 
  4. Select the design surface and in the TOOLS tab click Modify Terrain.

Your Design Surface is now ready to be used as a reference in Cut/Fill maps calculations

Notes for 3D CAD Files

If you get a 3D CAD file from the design office, the 3D TIN surface can be imported directly into Virtual Surveyor. 

  • Remember to modify the terrain, according to that surface, to generate a design surface ready for Virtual Surveyor.