Planning Roads Catch Point

Planning Roads Catch Point

So, you’re running InfraWorks without the roadway design tools and you want to adjust how quickly your roadway ties into the existing ground? Well, look no further! You’ve found how to do it!

Here’s the problem, I have a planning road in InfraWorks that has a vertical tie in. Yuck. How horrible is that?

Vertical Catch Slope

Vertical Catch Slope

Where do I change it? If I’m using the design roads, I can just add a slope zone but, I’m not. This is controlled through the road style. Not sure what style your road is using? Simply select the road, right click, and choose “Properties”.

Roadway Properties

Roadway Properties

Once you’ve figured out which style it is, simply edit the style. Find the style in the style palette, select it, and choose the “Edit Style” button (it looks like a pencil).

Once you are editing the style, all you have to do is change the value for the Right Groups “group height transition zone width/track main category”

Edit the stle

Edit the style

Now that you’ve done that, sit back, relax, and watch your model update!

Sloped Walls

Sloped Walls

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Traffic Simulation in InfraWorks 360

Traffic Simulation in InfraWorks 360

In the latest version of InfraWorks 360 (“InfraWorks 360 2016 R1” or “The March 2015 Release of Autodesk InfraWorks 360” or whatever they decide to call it) you can now do some traffic simulation! Yes! It’s really cool! This was technology that was acquired not too long ago and was available on Autodesk Labs called “Project Commuter”. This technology is now available in InfraWorks 360 as a preview (which means it might change, might be a cloud credit service, might disappear all together).

In this post, I’ll go over what assets you need in your InfraWorks 360 in order to run a simulation, how to set up your model, how to run the simulation, how to edit the simulation parameters, and finally how to visualize the results.

Needed Assets

In order to run a traffic simulation, you’ll first need InfraWorks 360. The InfraWorks that ships with the design suites (such as the Infrastructure Design Suite Premium/Ultimate or the Building Design Suite Ultimate). Next, you’ll need the Autodesk Roads and Highways add on for InfraWorks 360. Since we’ll be doing roadway design things, you’ll need the roadway design tools. For more information on what’s in the different InfraWorks offerings, click HERE.

Comparison

Setup Your Model

Design Roads Only

Prior to running the simulation, you need to set your model up correctly. First of all, your roads need to be design roads and not the preliminary roads. If you’ve created your model from Model Builder, you have preliminary roads. You’ll need to convert those to design roads. Assuming you have the Autodesk Roads and Highways tools activated, you simply select the road, right click, and choose “Convert to Design Road”.

Convert to Design Road

Convert to Design Road

If you don’t see the convert option, make sure you have access to the tools and make sure you’re in Edit Mode (right click and choose Edit Mode).

Online Model

To run the simulation, your model must be upload to the InfraWorks 360 cloud service. If you haven’t done this yet (or haven’t done it since you added the roads), make sure to update your online model. If you aren’t familiar with how to do this, simply click the double arrow in a circle icon at the top left corner of your model.

Publish Model

Publish Model

Run The Simulation

The traffic simulation tool will be found in the Roads and Highways toolset in the analysis tools.

Start the Simulation

Start the Simulation

After clicking the button for the first time (assuming you haven’t run a simulation before in this model), InfraWorks will ask you to define an area. Basically what you want to do is cross your design roads at the location where you want a traffic load to be located. Your design roads will be highlighted in blue so you can easily see your options. As the area you draw crosses a design road, it creates a traffic load zone (where vehicles come from and where they go to).

Study Area

Study Area

After drawing the study area, InfraWorks will bring up two asset cards, one for the traffic study area and one for the resulting animation. On the Traffic Study Area asset card, click on Run Simulation. This requires the model already be uploaded to InfraWorks 360 and that you have an active internet connection.

Asset Cards

Asset Cards

Once the simulation has been run, your model will show you the results. The results are in the form of bars of different colors. The red bars indicate an excessive wait time or queue length and the blue bars indicate an acceptable wait and queue. If you mouse over one of the bars, it will show you the wait and queue.

Results

Results

Edit Simulation Parameters

Once you’ve run the simulation, you can edit the parameters. Simply choose the study area, right click, and choose  “Traffic Analyst Panel”. This will launch the Autodesk InfraWorks 360 Traffic Analyst. Hint: Once you open it, click the TOP button on the view cube to find your model.

Traffic Analyst

Traffic Analyst

A couple things you might want to do, check your traffic loading and check your intersections. To see the traffic demands, go to the Demand menu and choose “Demands”. In the Demand Editor, you can change the demand from one node to another.

Demands

Demands

Another thing is to check your intersection configuration. On the Control menu, choose Intersections. In the intersections dialog, choose the intersection you want to edit in the pull down and then choose the turning movement. When you select the turning movement, it will highlight in the main window. Currently, there are control options: stop sign, barred, give way, yield, and free flow. There doesn’t seem to be an option to put in a timed signal but remember, this is a technology preview so I would expect to see it eventually.

Intersections

Intersections

Once you’ve set your demands and your intersection controls, simply rerun the simulation and your model will update.

Visualize the Results

As mentioned above, you can see the blue and red bars and they will show you the results if they are acceptable or not but, wouldn’t it be nice to actually watch the traffic flow? All you have to do (provided you still have the traffic simulation open in InfraWorks and you’ve run the simulation) is to hit the play button. You can change the display of the results bar to display per lane, per approach, or turn them off.

If you watched the video, you can see it’s a bit dark. This is because currently, the only way to view the results is in the editing mode and everything is darkened while editing. There isn’t any way to show the simulation outside of the editing mode so you won’t be able to show the traffic in a storyboard (at least not yet).

So, did I miss something? Have you played around with it at all? What do you think it still needs? Leave a comment here, I would love to hear your thought!

InfraWorks 360 March 2015 – What’s new?

InfraWorks 360 March 2015 – What’s new?

What’s new? That’s easy. Just go go HERE and it will show you what’s new.

What’s new that you should be using? That’s a different story. Here are my favorite new features in the March 2015 release of InfraWorks 360. I’m not going to go into detail on everything that’s new, I’ll just touch on a few of the things that I think are interesting. The topics I’ll cover are Model Builder changes, Drainage Network additions, the new Land Areas and Grading, and the new (and very exciting) Traffic Simulation.

Model Builder

Last release we were no longer restricted to rectangular areas to create a model from, we could choose an area based on a polygon (great for transportation projects). This year, we don’t even have to draw the area our self! Have a shapefile representing your area of interest? Use that to create the model!

Model Builder Area from Shape File

Model Builder Area from Shape File

In my opinion, this is a good start. Unfortunately, a shape file is the only file type that it currently uses. In Map 3D, it’s REALLY easy to create a .sdf file but a little more involved to create a .shp file. Can we use the Autodesk .sdf file format? Nope, not yet.

Another limitation is it must be a polygonal area. What I would love to be able to do is bring in a linear file (such as the centerline of the road I’m working on), apply a buffer width to it, and create a model from that. Perhaps in the next release.

Drainage Networks

Drainage networks is one area of InfraWorks that has seen a lot of improvements over the last few releases. It’s an interesting concept and I’m definitely excited about where Autodesk is going with this. So, what’s new in this version?

Outfalls

When you add a drainage network to your design road, it adds an outfall at the low points of your roads.

Outfall

Outfall

Inlets

When you select an inlet, it will show you the spread of water in the road as well as the contributory area to the inlet. Unfortunately, the contributory area is ONLY the roadway. It does not take into account any contribution from area outside of the pavement that will flow onto your road but, hey, it’s a start!

Selected Inlet

Selected Inlet

The blue outline shows the contributory area and the dark shaded area shows the spread of the flow. Additionally, the asset card gives you the hydraulic and hydrologic properties of the inlet. Things such as intensity, spread, capture efficiency, etc.

Analysis

You can “Inspect Performance” on your network. When you do this, InfraWorks will let you know if your pipe and/or inlets are surcharged as well as the EGL, HGL, and elevation of your pipe at any point along the pipe.

Inspect Performance

Inspect Performance

Land Areas and Grading

Now, this one is cool! We’ve been able to use coverages pretty much since the inception of InfraWorks but the grading around the coverage has been very limited. Sure, we can add a smooth radius to the coverage but in my opinion, it just doesn’t cut it. With the new Land Areas and Grading, we can apply a different slopes depending on the cut/fill condition as well as different materials to those conditions.

Land Area and Grading

Land Area and Grading

Traffic Analysis

This one is very exciting! You can run a traffic analysis directly within InfraWorks 360 now! It’s still in a preview mode but it’s coming! The capabilities are still somewhat limited but you should give it a try and provide some feedback to the developers on what you like, what you don’t like, and what’s missing. Look for a future post with additional details on the traffic simulation tools.

Traffic Simulation

Traffic Simulation

So, what do you think? Are you excited about the new functionality in InfraWorks? I know I am!

InfraWorks 360 2015 R3 is Here!

Happy holidays to all!

All I want for Christmas is the next version of InfraWorks and guess what, I GOT IT!

InfraWorks 360 2015 R3 is now available for all to enjoy! Where do you get it? Well, if you have a prior version installed, just go check out the Autodesk Application Manager on your system and you can find it there. Don’t know where that is? Go to your Windows Start Menu and start typing “Autodesk Application Manager” and you’ll find it.

Autodesk Application Manager

Autodesk Application Manager

So, what are some of the new features?

Homepage

Well, there’s a new streamlined home page. It’s much cleaner and less cluttered then the older version. Plus, you don’t have to close your model to get back here! Want to go see something on the home screen? Just click the home icon and then click back on your model and you’re back!

New Home Page

New Home Page

Animations

Add animations to your model! Want to see that tower crane rotate? Want to see that wind turbine spinning? You can do that now! Personally, I haven’t had a chance to try this one yet but I’m definitely looking forward to getting into it!

Model Builder

Model Builder has graduated into a full fledged feature! It’s no longer in the preview state! What’s new? Well, you are no longer required to use a rectangular selection. What this means is, for example, if you have a corridor type project you are working on, you can select just the area along your corridor and not approach the data limit by selecting all that unwanted/unneeded area!

Model Builder Polygonal Selection

Model Builder Polygonal Selection

Mapped Network Drive Support

So, you want your model backed up on a network drive? Now you can do that! To keep things moving quickly when working in a shared location, InfraWorks creates a tile cache on your local drive (which you can specify the location for).

Set Local Cache for Network Models

Set Local Cache for Network Models

Drainage Design

If you haven’t taken a look at the drainage design features, they are pretty cool and getting better with each release. In this release, you’ll have more options on how to control the spacing of the structures, types of structures, and cover over your pipes when creating a drainage network for a design road.

Drainage Network Options

Drainage Network Options

Additionally, you’ll be able to create your own custom drainage content using the Autodesk Labs technology preview called Project Kameleon (yes, it’s spelled with a K). If you are interesting in trying out this new technology, click HERE for more details.

Project Kameleon

Project Kameleon

Enhanced Civil 3D Workflow

In my opinion, this is the big one for this release! You’ll be able to import a Civil 3D drawing directly into InfraWorks and you’ll be able to open an InfraWorks model in Civil 3D! For this to work, you must have the Civil 3D 2015 Service Pack 2 as well as the Productivity Pack 1 installed. Want to import that Civil 3D drawing? It shows up as a data connection. Made a change to the Civil 3D drawing and you want to see the new updates? Simply re-import the drawing and you’re done.

Want to start doing some detailed design in Civil 3D using the data from InfraWorks? Simply import the model into Civil 3D and away you go!

Open in Civil 3D and Configuration Settings

Open in Civil 3D and Configuration Settings

Oh, so you want to open your model in Civil 3D? Well, fear not for I’ve written a post on my other blog with the instructions on how to do that HERE.

And More!

I didn’t list all the new features, want to check it all out? Click HERE for the online help showing what’s new.

So, what are you most excited about? What did Autodesk do right? What did they do wrong? What’s still missing? Leave a comment for others to see!

 

Terrain Data from Shapfile Contours

Terrain Data from Shapfile Contours

So, you downloaded some terrain and you ended up with an ESRI Shapefile that contains contours and you want to add that to your model as terrain. Well, it really isn’t difficult, you just need to understand a couple things first. For this example, I’m going to use a shapefile containing contour data for the entire City of Denver. You can get your own version of it at data.denvergov.org if you want to try this too. This shape file has around 650,000 contours that range from 5,110′ to 5,754′ at 2′ increments.

Contour Data Shown in Map 3D

Contour Data Shown in Map 3D

First of all, you add the shapefile to your model exactly the way you do any other shapefile, simply drag it into your model (drag the file with the extension .shp). Once you’ve added the shapefile, you’ll need to configure it. If you did the drag and drop, the configuration should just pop up for you. first thing you’ll need to do is tell it what type of data the shapefile contains.

Configure Data Type

Configure Data Type

If we simply stop here (which is what I did the first time I tried this), we won’t get any terrain information. Shapefiles have about as much standardization between organizations as layers do. We need to tell InfraWorks what the elevations of each contour is. In this example, the elevation of the contour is found in the data property called ELEV. We now need to map that value to the contours. This is done on the Source tab.

Setting Elevations

Setting Elevations

You’ll notice that I assigned elevations to the data being brought in from the data source “ELEV”. You’ll also noticed I multiplied the elevation by 0.3048. Your InfraWorks database is ALWAYS in meters. If you bring data into your model that isn’t being converted via a coordinate system (such as elevations) you’ll need to convert that data yourself. I also toggled on the “Clip to model extents” option. This just makes the data process faster as it doesn’t do anything outside of the model extents (not really sure why you would ever want to leave this unchecked).

And here’s the result!

Terrain from Contours

Terrain from Contours

Now, if you notice, the surface looks very gridded. When I created a surface in Civil 3D from this same data, it looked much better. This is because we told it to be gridded. If you have very complex data (such as contour data from a shapefile) you can simplify the data by putting it in a grid. It will process much faster and your model will work much better but, you’ll sacrifice the detail for performance. If you need the detail, you can change the grid factor or simply turn it off. The settings can be found on the Converter tab when configuring the data. You can adjust the size of the grid to control how much detail you get or you can turn the grid off complete to maximize the detail.

Grid Options

Grid Options

To see the results, I’ve turned the imagery off so the surface can be seen better. Here it is with the grid turned on.

10 Meter Grid

10 Meter Grid

And here is that same area with the grid turned off.

Grid Turned Off

Grid Turned Off

Hope this helps understand how to add even more data to your model. Now, get out there and do something amazing!

Image as a Building Facade

Hey look! I made a new blog!

Anyways, I’ve seen it asked many times before,

I have an image that I want to use on a specific building in model. How do I do that?

Honestly, it’s pretty straight forward. All you really need is to make that image into a material and then apply that material to the building.

Step 1 – Get the Image

This might be easy or difficult depending on the building I suppose. Basically, you want an image of the facade from a straight on perspective and you want the facade to be square in the image. Crop the image so you see just the piece you want applied to the building.  Here is an example image:

Sample image to be used in a building facade

Sample image to be used in a building facade

Step 2 – Create the Material

Now, in InfraWorks, you need to create the material. Prior to creating the material, you’ll need to know the dimensions of your image, i.e. how wide and tall is your image in the real world? If you know the dimensions, use them. If not, estimate something close. The above image I estimated to be 12′ wide by 11′ tall (I’m just guessing, I didn’t really measure anything and, if you think those numbers are way off, remember, I’m a civil engineer, not an architect).

In InfraWorks, on the Styles Palette, go to the Materials tab and create a new material. If you want, you can create a new catalog for the material but you don’t have to do that part (you could put it in an existing catalog if you want).

Create the new material

Create the new material

In the Define New Material dialog box, choose Texture as the type and then browse to your image. In the Texture Settings section, set the dimensions of the image (what you measured or estimated earlier).

Define the New Material

Define the New Material

After hitting OK, you can the give the material a name.

Step 3 – Applying the Material

Now that the hard part is done, you can simply drag the material onto your building. When you drag it, it will be applied to the face that you drag it to. This way, you can have different materials applied to different parts of the building.

Facade applied to one face of building

Facade applied to one face of building

Now that you know how to create a material and apply it to your buildings, you can use materials for many other things such as your roads, coverage areas, and other places.