Topo From Lines, A Useful Revit Add-In

From Harry Mattison over at Boost Your BIM, comes one of the most useful add-ins for the landscape architect in Revit: Topo From Lines. You can download it for free on the Autodesk exchange.

Essentially, you can create topography from model lines drawn at their respective elevations. To test it out, I created a series of reference planes (named by elevation), drew some contour lines, and then hosted those strings to the correct plane. Plan and elevation views below:

TFL_setup

I also made a retaining wall (to see how the topo would behave around it) and created some areas where I know Revit usually stumbles with topography (note the sharp angles).

So here are the lines:

TFL_lines

And the generated Toposurface:

TFL_topo01

Overall, I’d say it does a pretty good job. Here are the original guts/points:

TFL_points01

That is a lot of points. But after a simplification at .25′ it still looks good.

Advantages

  1. Allows you to create topography just in Revit- not dependent on separate CAD file.
  2. Better control over topography than with imported CAD contour lines or TINN.

Disadvantages

  1. Typical interpolation/ triangulation issues that you always get in Revit. (Though this is more of a Revit issue than an add-in issue.) See red areas below:

TFL_topo02

This issue is hard-wired into how topography generates, and can be tweaked by editing the Topo and placing points.

Additional Notes

  • It always creates a new surface; it does not work with existing ones. This implies a workflow where you draw out existing contour lines so you have all of the lines when generating a new surface.
  • Cannot directly overlap lines. I tested this out along my retaining wall and got the following error when trying to generate the surface:

TFL_error

I would like to see these features integrated into out-of-the-box Revit interface. Topography has waited long enough for new and better features.

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