Elk Mapping in Dynamo

Have you ever wanted to get GIS mapping data into Revit? Well now you can with Elk for Dynamo, created by Timothy Logan at HKS. Elk was originally available only for Grasshopper, but now it is also available as a Dynamo package, which allows you to create Revit geometry from Terrain data and OSM files.

This is a must-have package for anyone who works in Revit at the urban design and planning scale.

Elk currently has two main components: OSM and Topography.


I originally installed Elk because of the Topography import capabilities, but after exploring both tools, I quickly realized that the OSM component is just as (if not more) useful.

So, to start out, I went over to openstreetmap.org and exported (downloaded) a section of map.


And plugged it into the Elk nodes in Dynamo…


The result is a little messy, but it is also quite a bit of data.

If you’re interested in doing this yourself, I would recommend watching Tim’s videos on Vimeo. He walks through the entire process of how to use both the OSM and Topography nodes.

For the Topography, I went over to the USGS map viewer and downloaded the 1 arc DEM IMG file for the same area.


In his Topo video, Tim shows a few other places you can get Terrain data, including USGS SRTM3 (which is available for the entire world).

He also shows which file types work better with Elk and demonstrates the size limitations that exist with using such large Terrain data sets.


It is interesting to note that the Surface created from the CreateTopo node is actually a Nurbs Surface and not a typical Revit Topo (which is a Mesh). This doesn’t really matter-  you can still generate a Revit Topo as long as you Flatten the list of points.


I haven’t yet tried to get the OSM geometry into Revit, but it is certainly possible. And I plan to look into creating some custom nodes to help with this process.


5 thoughts on “Elk Mapping in Dynamo

  1. Is there a silver spoon to get geometry to stay in Revit after creation with Dynamo? Also, I loose my surface in Plan view? Suggestions?

    • Hi Kevin,
      I tried to answer your question in my latest blog post. Though, I’m not sure what you mean that you lose your surface in Plan view? I think perhaps you have the Revit preview turned on and your Dynamo geometry isn’t really in Revit. To get the surface into Revit, you’ll need to create a Toposurface from the points.

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