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2404 posts

Uber Geek
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# 212779 12-Apr-2017 12:23
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Like many people, I'm looking for a lot to build a house in Wellington.

First off: I'm not a professional artist/3D modeler.

I'm just looking for creating one-time-use 3D models, that I can rotate with a mouse.

The "affordable" lots are less than ideal. One local lot had an 70 degree slope, with storm water outlets in the middle of it, and priced over $200,000. Another needed a driveway, with two hairpin turns, that would cost $100,000 to build.

I want to quickly visualize lots.

I came across "Google Sketchup" , which has a free version.

It can import topology from Google Earth Pro, but their resolution is 15 meters / yards, so no good for a small lot.

Anyhow Wellington city council produces high resolution 2D topographical maps. Resolution is 1 meter / yard.

Anyone tried Google Sketchup, to create a scaled terrain?

--- SOME LINKS ---

SketchUp is a powerful grading program. The SketchUp Sandbox and Extension Tools are able to generate organic modeling surfaces with relative ease. The tools can be adapted to most models to create conceptual site terrain. Put on your grading hat, and watch how to grade retaining walls, walks, and objects into even the most basic site plan. Learn how to create grading profiles for accessible ramps, steps, roads, and buildings.

The webinar will walk you through the step-by-step process of creating organic surfaces that represent grades and terrain. The tutorial builds on each step and demonstrates different grading typologies and approaches. The method explores the big picture approach to completing a site down to grading details that allow users to incorporate varying site elements, like steps, walls, and ramps, into an overall conceptual grading model for an entire project

Creating Terrain from Scratch

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2404 posts

Uber Geek
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  # 1763349 12-Apr-2017 19:04
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I guess no one this forum has.

Anyhow, I found this great add-on to Sketchup called "toposhaper", for anyone wanting to do turn 2d contour maps into 3d terrain.

TopoShaper 1 1 Altitude Editor, add-on

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Master Geek
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  # 1763365 12-Apr-2017 19:18
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In my current life I'm a Surveyor.


I do quite a number of surveys for Architects.


We take the field data from the GPS or Total Station and reduce it with specialist survey software (in NZ the most common one is called 12D).


Data like the land boundaries is merged from various sources.


Countours can be added and volumes calculated.


The finished product is usually given to the Architect or Engineer in Autocad DXF format.


SketchUp Pro can import and model the same DXF files and it works really well.


However I dont know of ANY survey or engineering firm currently using SketchUp or asking for .skp files.






2404 posts

Uber Geek
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  # 1763529 13-Apr-2017 07:23
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Thanks for the info, Jim. I've never heard of 12D.

I'm looking for a cheap solution, just to get an idea if a lot is even worth a phone call to the realtor.

Obviously even for a relatively flat plot, building on it can be expensive.

Sometimes even the professional get it wrong, like the abandoned Mam Tor road in Sheffield, UK

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Uber Geek
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  # 1763536 13-Apr-2017 07:34
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does this help?

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Uber Geek
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  # 1763562 13-Apr-2017 08:32
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I think what you need is a GIS solution. Try QGIS (Quantum GIS) as it is free, and then download the 1m resolution terrain model here


Have a browse around the Koordinates website, there is heaps of useful spatial data from WCC and others


GIS has a bit of a learning curve, but is very flexible and powerful

196 posts

Master Geek
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  # 1763908 13-Apr-2017 15:47
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That dataset looks like a good solution if you can get it, or bits of it, into SketchUp

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Uber Geek
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  # 1764068 13-Apr-2017 21:34
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You need Sketchup Pro to import DWG files. also provides some similar and some different data to Koordinates.


In my office we typically start a new project by importing Linz data and any contour data we can find into sketchup and do a preliminary study before we get a full survey done. The 1m contour data is from Lidar scans so is not *really* accurate, but certainly gives a good approximation for concept phase work.


Happy to help if needed/possible.


2404 posts

Uber Geek
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  # 1764191 14-Apr-2017 09:57
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A good very basic introduction to creating a rose garden with Google's free software Sketchup.

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