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Support for Exchanging Non-Geospatial Datasets

Support for Exchanging Non-Geospatial Datasets

The process for importing and interacting with content from non-geospatial applications (single precision) such as Revit, 3ds max, Sketchup, FormIT, and others, is extremely complicated, imprecise, and, well, a pain in the back side. This process requires a set of tools with which to establish a common reference point between a local coordinate system and an established geospatial coordinate system. It is also important to utilize the appropriate mathematical models in both horizontal and vertical geospatial spaces for translating between local and geospatial systems, not just a straight linear translation (the Earth, after all is a spheroid and not a flat surface). Therefore, I propose the creation of a geospatial translation tool for Infraworks, to help users establish custom coordinate re-projections from local to geospatial coordinate systems.


This tool should provide the following options:


1.  A Bing maps driven interface similar to Model Builder, where the user can observe an aerial of the specified location down to the highest resolution

2.  Ability to overlay geospatial vector files such as SHP, DWG and DGN files for reference.

3.  Ability to overlay geospatial raster files such as JPEG2000 and GeoTIFF where custom higher resolution files are necessary for reference.

4.  The ability to place a reference point into the viewer interface with a high degree of accuracy. This tool should allow for snapping to vector elements and for manually typing x, y values down to the 4th decimal position. I would also recommend a method to establish a false north orientation similar to Revit.

5.  This tool should allow the user to create these custom coordinate systems and share them via the cloud for other users. These should be a simple XML based file which can be imported via the Data Sources palette.

6.  This tools should also be able to create a DWG file reoriented to the custom coordinate system. This DWG would serve as a template for users of non-geospatial applications, with which to create their content. The custom reference point, established in the geospatial translation tool, would be located in the 0,0 x,y location and would contain a bounding area representing the bounding area of the Infraworks Model. Any false north rotational information would be included as well, if established in the translation tool.

7.  I would recommend this tool be created as a web based tool, to ensure support for MULTIPLE Autodesk applications. This could be offered as part of the subscription benefit or a credits based feature.

8.  The custom coordinate system would then be used when importing 3D content and thus seamlessly placed into Infraworks. This custom coordinate system would also be used when exporting content from Infraworks in the form of an FBX, OBJ or DAE format.


This tool would be ideal for Revit, 3ds max, Maya, FormIT, Inventor, Fusion, Alias, Remake and other non-geospatial Autodesk applications. This would also be very helpful in facilitating better interoperability between applications outside the Autodesk software stables, such as Sketchup, Rhino, Sketchfab, etc. As such I would recommend Autodesk consider this as a standalone tool or service, perhaps bundled with an application or bundle.


Please comment.



Status changed to: Under Review

Mark - Thanks for the suggestion. The Product Management team discussed this today and we'll be taking a closer look at how we might solve some of these translation issues. Your idea has given us a bit to think about. I'll ping you in a week or two to follow up. 




Good to know, Sarah. You know, this is not just an Infraworks problem to solve, as I am sure you are aware. It is my opinion that this needs to be funded through a general development pool and not just the Infraworks team, as this would benefit multiple applications and would be ideal for the Infrastructure bundle, or whatever it is called now. Just a thought. Anyway, thanks for the quick response.

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