If you have been using InfraWorks 360, you may have noticed that updates and version upgrades are released intermittently throughout the year, as opposed to on an annual basis like other Autodesk applications. The InfraWorks team is constantly working on new features and enhancements and the rolling upgrades allow users to gain access to new tools as soon as they are ready for release.
A recent update was posted in February, and it contains some great new enhanced tools. One in particular is the new preview feature for Point Cloud Terrain Generation. With this new enhancement to point cloud objects in InfraWorks 360, you can take a point cloud data source in the model and automatically generate a terrain surface from the data.
The icon is available under the InfraWorks persona, Analyze group and looks like a mountain with a dotted cloud shape (point cloud!) above it.
In order to use the command, you must first have a point cloud attached as a data source. After clicking the icon, a palette will appear with options for data source (which point cloud), ground and vertical feature recognition, and processing. The options available for ground processing include Less Detail for flat surfaces, Optimum (default) for normal surfaces and More Detail for surfaces that require higher detail or have more features that need to be modeled. Vertical Feature processing options include Fewer Features, Optimum (default) and More Features depending on what level of detail you need for non-ground features in the point cloud.
After specifying your preferences, click Start Processing in the bottom right and InfraWorks 360 will do the rest. When processing is complete a new terrain object will appear in the model. It will appear as a grey generic terrain object. At this point in the preview, terrain styles do not appear applicable to point cloud terrain objects, so it will maintain a clay-like appearance in the model.
In addition to being able to generate the terrain object from a point cloud, the new command also opens up more capabilities of working with point clouds in InfraWorks 360. Point cloud data sources were primarily for visual reference in the past, as they were not interactive in the model. They could be used for displaying an object, but shadows, lighting and interaction with other objects was not available. Now that we can create a terrain object, shadows, lighting, terrain statistics and grading can be done with data that originally came from a point cloud in InfraWorks 360 giving you access to more design options early on in the process.
For more information on new features added to the latest update of InfraWorks 360 (V. 184.108.40.206) check out this post on the Autodesk Knowledge Network.
To see the new Point Cloud Terrain generator in action, see this video on our YouTube channel.
If you’re an InfraWorks 360 user that has been looking for a reason to upgrade, or weren’t aware that an upgrade was released last month, I hope you have some new insight on tools and enhancements that help make the decision easier.
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ENI Manager & Senior Application Specialist
Matt is an ENI Manager and Senior Application Specialist in Ideate, Inc.’s Seattle office. He has a B.S. in Mechanical Engineering and is a licensed Civil Engineer. Prior to joining Ideate, Matt worked as a civil engineer, using Civil 3D on a variety of projects including site development, roadway improvements and infrastructure design. With over 10 years of experience in the civil engineering industry, Matt now provides training, consulting, technical support, and implementation strategies for organizations transitioning to Civil 3D. Matt is an Autodesk Certified Instructor (ACI), as well as an Autodesk Certified BIM Specialist: Roads and Highway Solutions. Additionally, Matt is and Autodesk Certified Professional for AutoCAD, and AutoCAD Civil 3D. You can also find Matt on Twitter.