Creating Topography in ARCHICAD from AutoCAD Survey Data

Prepare the AutoCAD file

Open Surveyor’s dwg file and check whether it is done as per local practice/standards, for example:

  • Units = Meters
  • Block or Point is used to represent each survey point and placed at a correct global coordinate (X,Y,Z) – Use LIST command and pick the element to check


Now we are ready to Extract Data from the survey points.

Extract Data from AutoCAD

  1. Go to Insert tab and
  2. Choose Extract Data


  1. As this is the first time choose Create a new data extraction. Next time you can just Use previous extraction as a template (.dxe or .blk) and
  2. Click Next >


  1. Give a name for *.dxe file and
  2. Click Save


  1. Choose Select objects in the current drawing and
  2. Click on the button next to it to select the objects (blocks)


Select everything using the window selection and press Enter


  1. Click Next >


  1. Select the block that represent the survey point. In this it is SFIG, which we know from our first step when we listed the information about the object and
  2. Click Next >


  1. Choose Geometry in Category filter
  2. Choose Position X, Position Y and Position Z in Properties and
  3. Click Next >


If you get the following error message please check and correct those affected blocks.


  1. Uncheck Show count column and Show name column as we do not need them and
  2. Click Next >


  1. Choose Output data to external file (.xls .csv .mdb .txt) and
  2. Click on the button in front of the file name text filled


  1. Give a name
  2. Choose the file type as *.txt and
  3. Click Save


  1. Click Next >


  1. Click Finish to complete the extraction.


The text file is shown below, now we are ready to import this data into ARCHICAD.


Importing Data into ARCHICAD

  1. Go to the menu Design and
  2. Choose Place Mesh from Surveyors Data…


  1. Choose the file and
  2. Click Open


  1. Choose meter in the units, this should match the survey drawing
  2. Choose Original location and Zoom to the new mesh
  3. Enter 100.00 meter for the Sea Level and
  4. Click OK


Mesh will be created based on the point data from the selected file as shown below



Go to the menu Options > Project Preferences > Project Location… to set the sea level.


  1. Enter 100.00 for Altitude (Sea Level): and
  2. Click OK


  1. Choose Document > Level Dimension from the Toolbox
  2. Choose Gravitate to Mesh from the toolbar
  3. Place on the level dimension on ridge (contour) intersection of the mesh as shown below


  1. Select the text
  2. Click on the Settings Dialog button
  3. Choose Custom Text
  4. Remove the exisiting value
  5. Insert Autotext as to Sea Level


  1. Click OK. The value will be shown from the sea level and it will be easier to verify now.


Go to 3D view and open Mesh Selection Settings. Choose User Defined Sharp to make the mesh smoother.


See you with another blog soon….


One comment

  1. Veta Conkle · June 3, 2017

    I went over this website and I believe you have a lot of wonderful information, saved to my bookmarks 🙂


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