Understanding Toposurface in Revit

by | May 11, 2020 | Revit, Tutorials

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Toposurface or Topographical surface is created by using Toposurface Tool located on Massing & Site Tab. This tool allows us to create Site Topography in complete three dimensions. We can study slopes, identify buildable areas, plan out roads and paths. We can identify areas of potential problem as well as areas of opportunity. In a way, we can perform the Site Analysis in a fair amount of detail. In a situation, where you are working on a project, that is on a large piece of land and has great complexities, site planning is done using other software such as Autodesk Civil 3D.

massing-and-site-in-revit

Toposurface or Topographical surface is created by using Toposurface Tool located on Massing & Site Tab. This tool allows us to create Site Topography in complete three dimensions. We can study slopes, identify buildable areas, plan out roads and paths. We can identify areas of potential problems as well as areas of opportunity. In a way, we can perform the Site Analysis in a fair amount of detail. In a situation, where you are working on a project, that is on a large piece of land and has great complexities, site planning is done using other software such as Autodesk Civil 3D.

 

Creating Toposurface by Placing Points

Each point that you place has an elevation. This elevation can be Absolute Elevation or Relative to surface.

Absolute Elevation is an elevation in relation to Project Base Point. You can place these points anywhere in an active drawing area.

Relative to Surface is used when editing an existing surface. You can place additional points, in relation to the existing surface.

toposurface-by-placing-points
toposurface-by-placing-points
creating-toposurface-from-import-instance

Creating Toposurface from Import Instance

Toposurface can be created from an imported Contour Data. This imported Contour Data can be in the form of DWG, DXF, or a DGN file. The important factor to consider before importing CAD files is to ensure that the CAD file contains 3D information. If this is not the case, Revit will not generate a 3D contoured Toposurface. Creating Toposurface from Imported CAD explains this process in greater detail.

Creating Toposurface from Points File

 A points file is generated by exporting to a Points File from Civil Engineering Software used by Surveyors. This file has Point coordinate information as well as elevation information. This information is sufficient to generate Toposurface in Revit. Important things to remember are:

The Points file needs to be in CSV (Comma-Delimited-File format). This file can have an extension CSV or TXT.

toposurface-from-points
toposurface-from-points
creating-sub-regions-in-toposurface

Creating Sub-Regions in Revit

Sub-Region in a Toposurface is a region on the surface that can be marked separately and can have its own material properties. Examples of sub-regions can be, roads, paths, green areas, parking and so on.

edit-toposurface

Editing Toposurface

Toposurface can be edited by using “Edit Surface” tool. This tool becomes visible when selecting an existing Toposurface. Edit Toposurface becomes a part of the Modify Tab.

Clicking on Edit Surface command displays points. Each of these points represents an elevation. These points can be modified as needed. They can be moved, elevations can be modified or new points can be added.

edit-toposurface
property-line

Property Line

Property Lines are lines that represent your Site or Plot Boundaries. These are created using the Property Line Tool. Property lines can be created by sketching or by entering distances and bearings.

Creating Property Lines by sketching, can be created by tracing property lines in a Survey Drawing. Alternatively, for simple rectangular properties, such as plotted development, they can just be created by simply sketching and creating the boundaries.

Property Lines have special properties.

  • Property Lines act as a single object
  •  When you select, these lines, the Area is displayed in the Properties Palette.
property-line-tool
create-property-line-in-toposurface

Annotating Toposurface

Toposurface can be annotated in multiple methods.

  1. Adding Spot Coordinates
  2. By adding Spot Elevations
  3. Spot Slopes

 And By Labeling Contours

labeling-contours
annotate-toposurface
annotating-contours

Conclusion

Toposurface in Revit can be created using multiple methods. The choice of method to be used depends on the available source data.

Toposurface is critical when developing your Project Site. Annotating the topo surface enables easy visualization as well as helps in Site Analysis.

Ashit Goyal

Ashit is a Practicing Architect in Noida, Delhi NCR. Ashit has over 35 years of professional experience both in India and overseas. Ashit has been passionate about technology implications for Building Industry Professionals and has been consulting in BIM Services for the past 12 years.

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