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Topography Enhancements

Topography Enhancements

Autodesk must do something for topography to evolve. It should be possible to create, as per reality, topo covering a roof for some half of fully burried houses, to hollow cut a topo like any type of volume. Must be absolutely considered, especially with the evolving sustainable ways houses will be like in futur. Burried or half burried is more than important.


Yes, please, to the request to be able to rotate model fill patterns that are applied to a sub-region.


Yes, please, to robust site modeling tools that include walks, roads, curbs, curb-cuts, ramps, storm drains, manholes, light poles, utility poles and wiring, fire hydrants, more landscaping and vegetation options, easy parking layout and paving symbols, and everything else necessary to put a building on a site. We don't always have perfect Civil3D topo-models, and there is (currently) no satisfactory way to import InfraWorks models into Revit as anything but NWD Coordination models. (Those don't render in Enscape3D). The Civil3D route is usually limited to the property boundaries and not the surrounding context.


We often get somewhat crude survey files that don't show changes in grade at curbs, or crowning of roads, and we have very little control of where Revit chooses to place a topo dot. I can drag it around or add more points, but this is a crap shoot in terms of getting what you want.


just like what other people said. 


I hope we will be able to host floors on topography directly. 

in many cases, I don't need a building pad or anything, just a floor on a toposurface. 

this is mainly with landscape design, for example in the pavement or parking or even car paths. 


Status changed to: Accepted

Congrats! We think this is a great idea, so we've decided to add it to our roadmap. Check out the Trello Revit Public Roadmap and add your vote there as well. Thanks for the suggestion!


@m.steffannoe see this idea regarding topography layers Multi-layered topography - Autodesk Community


This is not a request, this is a plea.


Every building I have worked on for the past 25 years has had a site and a context.  Every one!  Even when I was teaching students and the site and context were abstract, they still existed.  These are not civil engineering issues, they are architectural issues.  The civil tools for this are not what we need and I would prefer to never import another DWG from a civil engineer or landscape architect again.  I know that there are plug-ins for this, they are not what we need (though PlaceMaker is pretty amazing and does some of what we need).  Revit is a BUILDING modeler, every BUILDING has a site.


The quality of the built environment is suffering because of how poorly Revit handles site and context.  Not to mention all the time we waste with work arounds.  Revit has failing.


For all of the points outlined below, the implementation needs to fall into both categories, design and documentation, though sometimes more of one and sometimes more of the other.  These are concepts vaguely addressed in Revit already.


1. GIS support.  Revit needs to know where a building exits in the world.  At least this would make working with Civil 3D files less painful.  It would not solve the issue of getting files with some elements drawn at an arbitrary elevation and some elements drawn at a "true" elevation and some random lines between the two coordinate systems, but it would make it less painful.  This would also make it possible to work with context models more easily.  This would make model exchange less painful.  This underlying understanding is needed for some of the other ideas, like context.


2. The basics.  Roads and sidewalks etc.  Not split surfaces, those are pathetic.  Real categories and modeling tools for the elements outside a building which allow a human being to get into and out of a building.  I'm not going to make a list for you, go outside, snap a picture, and then add the categories for the things you see in Revit.


3. Topography.  For starters, can we please have it possible to manipulate and display topography using curves.  This has been broken for so long that a generation of architects has grown up thinking that faceting topo lines are correct!!!  Just because the underlying math and geometry is triangulate and faceted doesn't mean that we have to be subjected to that.  The real world is curved.  Again, go outside and look.  Topo lines are supposed to be curved.  Curved.  The topography also needs to behave correctly with the site elements (see item #2)  I would like to be able to draw a curb which follows a road and modifies the underlying topography correctly.  I want to know that I can trust my cut and fill calculations after I subtract a sidewalk or a site wall.


4. Grading rules.  Just like stairs, we have rules for slopes on a site.  We need to be able to specify that a sidewalk has a maximum cross slope and Revit needs to take care of the rest.  Particularly as this sidewalk intersects the boundary of our buildings.  I don't care if Civil 3D can do this, that is for civil engineers, they care about cars and highways, this is for humans.  Please let architects control this.  Sometimes it's because we need to solve this before a civil engineer is involved, sometimes it's because we need to solve discrepancies between civil and landscape, sometimes it's because it occurs above an occupied space and it's our responsibility, not civil or landscapes.  That's our problem, not yours, please include a complete tool set and we'll figure out how we work with our consultants and team mates.


5. A "context" Object Category.  Buildings have neighbors, elements which we need to see but not build.  This is not a workset issue, or a filter issue, or a linked file issue (remember, Revit doesn't use layers)  We need a category for the things around a building which are not in our scope to build, but are in our scope to understand.  Elements which cast shadows, or we cast shadows upon.  Elements who's views we can't block, or need to see over.  Elements which came before use, or might come after us.  Ugly, beautiful, historic, red-lined, big, small, to remain, or to be demo'd.  That's our problem, just give us a category for context.  Next year, you can give us a tool for importing all of that from OSM (Open Street Maps) or some such service, right now, just give us the category to start.  A token.


6. I don't care if this is hard (duh, of course it's hard, that's why we pay so much or our subscriptions).  You've had 23 years.  Skip the focus group, go outside, see how your building lands on the ground.  Right?  We need to be able to model all that stuff with native Revit elements.  No workarounds, no buy this other program, no plugins, no "we need to prioritize other feature and requests"  (Do those too!) site tools have been on the list since the road object category was added in 2000.  Native site tools.


Thank you,


100% agree, the fact that you cannot use a line to draw a path to set an elevation along the entire length in Revit within the topography tool is completely mind boggling. I don't want to have to place 10,000 points over a along some path to make sure the elevation is consistent along the entire length. Let me draw my own contours and specify the height.

Status changed to: Implemented

We are pleased to say that this has been implemented in Revit 2024! Thank you for your contribution to improving Revit!

 -The Factory


Thank you for improving the topography tool.  But please don’t check it off you list just yet.


To start, we’ve already been using floors as topography for over 10 years.  All the issues inherent in floors remain when we re-categorize them as topography.


Revit and (civil engineers) have normalized the idea of defining topography by points.  That’s fine for civil engineers, they don’t generally care about humans.  Humans are the architects responsibility.  To solve topography for humans we used topography lines.  Lines not points.


Lines not points, for emphasis.


Manipulating a surface by points is ugly and unintuitive for solving experiences.  It works for drainage, but we have much harder problems to solve than getting water to flow downhill.  A topo line is an experience of the landscape, a point is an abstraction.  Like a blade of grass vs a field of grass.


The improvements to the topography tool solve some technical issues (like being able to carve tunnels or complex pads) which will help out BIM managers scared of in-place families.  Thanks.


The problem with topography is points vs curves.  Please solve this for architects not civil engineers.


The best analogy I can come up with is a deer path.  Deer are lazy animals who follow the same elevation over and over, gradually marking a path in the landscape.  That path, marks an elevation.  In plan, that path is a curved line.  It may technically be made my many points… the hoof prints of the deer, put the organizing idea of all those individual points is the topo line.


As an architect, I am lazy like a deer.  I want/need to define a line, a curved line, at a particular elevation.  I do not want to manipulate the points even if they are the underlying mechanism of creating that curve in space.


Revit has been generating faceted topography for so long that folks think it’s normal.  It’s normal for video games and poly modeling, it’s not normal for architecture or site plans.


Revit topography is not fixed.  It still shows faceted surfaces (now with added thickness) and is still manipulated with points not curves.  I’m patient.  I waited 20 years for this improvement, I’ll wait anther 20 years and hope that the next iteration gets it right.


Revit topography went from garbage to useable, but it’s not solved.  Please don’t check it off the list.


Thanks, and finally there are improvements to the Toposurface tool.


This is a great improvement, also can still be improved further as mentioned by @andre.baros. As Architects we are constantly changing designs and building on the site, and the toposurface requires constant design changes as well.  Therefore, there needs to be tools to assist in the rapid editing and changes, with ease, to the topography to suit design changes as the project workflow progresses.


Hopefully in the next big update pack there are some additions to the toposurface tools.


One thing that would help me a lot with topography, is being able to choose the intersection angle of a pad with the natural topography.

For the time being, if I put a pad on a given topography it will create a volume that connects in 90° with the natural soil. This is completely unreal, since the soil when it has been modified has a "natural rest slope" of about 60° (depending on the soil). Adding a parameter for the natural slope angle would create a tremendous tool to calculate cuts and fillings volumes in projects where soil movement costs are paramount to define design strategies

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