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Shared Coordinates - Not possible in BIM 360!

Message 1 of 41
13551 Views, 40 Replies

Shared Coordinates - Not possible in BIM 360!

Hi Hoping there is a work around or solution.


We work with federated models which can be from our company or from 3rd parties.


We work with shared coordinates and sometimes on large project with multiple instances of some links we also used named locations.

As BIM 360 is used for collaboration I am speechless when I find out...


Note: When collaborating in Autodesk 360, you cannot change linked positions, and the Record Current Position option is disabled.

Currently our work around is to download the host and the links, nest, share and name locations then up load all Back to BIM 360. Not only is this extremely time consuming at the start of the project, but disruptive again once the consultants are on-board.

Additionally as the models need to be moved to preserve the uploaded copies, the version and tracking is 'lost' with the new upload.


What are others doing?


We work with Revit 2018, and we are the Architects, so I all falls under our remit as the lead designers and architect of record. We work with international teams around the globe hence BIM 360 and collaboration is fabulous but there are still some huge issues.


Hoping I can get a better solution or more seamless approach to this. 


Message 2 of 41
in reply to: Anonymous

Hi Laura,

We have just gone through the exact same pain on a large project with multiple sites where the location of the buildings is continuously changing.

The new and improved BIM360 design also has removed the communicator function so we are unable to communicate between multiple parties, which was the main reason we decided to use the platform.

Autodesk have really dropped the ball on this one. Added to the fact that Revit runs a snail as soon as you feed it data, some serious improvement is required. Compare Revit and Dynamo to Rhino and Grasshopper and it's like chalk and cheese. Rant over.

Message 3 of 41
in reply to: Anonymous

Hi @Anonymous,


Thank you for posting to the Design Collaboration forum.  I understand you are running into an issue with shared coordinates in your models.  


Could you provide some additional information on the trouble you are running into?  You mention you use both Shared Coordinates and Location Based coordinates.  



If the models lineup in Revit, they should line up in Design Collaboration unless they have a rotation between Project North and True North.  Rotation needs to be consistent across all project models.  


Let us know if you have any questions or comments.  I look forward to your reply.


Best regards,

Patrick B.

Global Product Support

Message 4 of 41
in reply to: patrick.beattie



Your missing the point, we are fully aware of how to use and manage  shared coordinates and named locations.


The point is shared coordinate function is NOT available in BIM 360, we need to do all of the coordination on  our lcal LAN server and then up load.


We notice even if we have assigned a named location when uploaded the named location has been removed from the instance properties. The model is still in the correct location, as expected.


The consultants we work with also need to download the files, acquire coordinate and named location on their local networks, this all causes delays due to the number of files on our project.


Surely we should be able to perform coordination of coordinates and named locations online as a core function

Message 5 of 41
in reply to: Anonymous

Hi @Anonymous,


I'm just following up with regards to your last post.  Thank you for clarifying that you are already using the workflow for Shared Coordinates within Revit.


You are correct, as of right now there is no way to do this from within BIM 360 itself.  I do agree that having the ability to do this within BIM 360 would be a great feature.


If this is a feature that you would like to see, I strongly encourage you to submit a post to the BIM 360 Ideas website and then let us know the link.  We can link this thread with that Ideas post.  This gives other customers the chance to VOTE UP and comment on this request.  The Product Management team will have visibility into those requests for future consideration.


Let us know if you have any additional questions or comments.  


Best regards,


Patrick B.

Global Product Support

Message 6 of 41

Hi @Anonymous,


I'm just checking in to see if you need more help with this. Did the suggestion that @patrick.beattie provided work for you?

If so, please click Accept as Solution on the posts that helped you so others in the community can find them easily.


Thank you and have a great day!

Anil Mistry
Technical Support Specialist
Message 7 of 41
in reply to: anil_mistry

@anil_mistry @patrick.beattie How could this possibly be seen as a solution? You are telling us a core feature has been silently disabled from your 'enhanced cloud platform' without informing users? Then you acknowledge that this core COLLABORATION feature does not work in your COLLABORATION product. And then you ask us to beg for this feature in your Ideas forum where ideas go to die.


The ideas in the Ideas forum mostly just die there, unless by some stroke of luck, users give you hundreds of votes, in which case Autodesk executive will likely still ignore it for multiple years like they have with most top voted ideas.


This is ridiculous. How were you planing to explain to users that this core feature just silently vanished? 'We will just make them ask for it in the Ideas forum and then mark the issue as resolved'.


I am aghast Smiley Mad

Message 8 of 41
in reply to: Anonymous

I understand the frustration here, and apologize that myself or somebody from the product team hasn't chimed in on the background for the current Shared Coordinate workflows in Cloud Worksharing.  Let's try and clarify the current state of things, and why they are the way they are.


  • The local data cache architecture we built for cloud worksharing, from the original release of Collaboration for Revit in December 2014, has been optimized for performance.  With this architecture, we can eek out about ~20% improvement of Model Open performance, when the link has changed since last time the model was opened (high frequency by our analytics).

  • An end result of the data architecture is that Revit is not opening the live version of a Link, like would happen on typical on-premise worksharing scenarios, but instead a local copy of that linked model.  This is akin to using a Local Alias for your Link.

    As a result, there's no way today for Revit to push changes to a linked model, and have them propagate to cloud worksharing.  Such a hypothetical would be akin to doing a SWC to a Link back to cloud worksharing.

  • The end result of this is that the Shared Coordinates workflows that push data into a Link are disabled, as there's no current way to have those changes propagate to cloud worksharing.  The converse of those workflows, Acquire Coordinates, does work as expected.

  • We knew full well the implications of the tradeoff, and deemed that ~20% improvement in the high frequency Model Open command, for all team members, was worth the lower efficiency of a the Acquire Coordinates workflow, which is much less frequent than Model Open.  This was not a silent decision.  It's been documented since we released C4R (now BIM 360 Design).

So the question here is whether we 1) continue to use the Acquire Coordinates workflow, accepting the performance benefits that cause the limitation or 2) evolve the local data architecture and/or enhance Revit to carry out the equivalent of a SWC to a Linked model, which would enable the Shared Coordinates workflows that need to push information to the Links.


I can tell you for certain, as part of the product leadership, that the IdeaStation is not where things go to die, nor is the sentiment on this topic disregarded.  Ultimately the investment to process down path #2 above is what our development team sizes as a "Large" T Shirt size, and does battle with many other very valuable backlog items pertaining to service resiliency, scalability, performance, and workflow.


I appreciate you taking the time to let us know how you feel about this topic.  Keep it up, even if you're not happy about it.





Kyle Bernhardt
Building Design Strategy
Autodesk, Inc.

Message 9 of 41
in reply to: KyleB_Autodesk

Hi @KyleB_Autodesk,


Thank you for your pretty complete and timely response.


The data cache is a bit complicated and not relevant to my user experience. On my end, I am left to suffer the consequence of the technical limitation, which has deep and severe implication for a collaborative model.


For a technical perspective, is it not possible to go back to the less efficient non-cached version of the model for the rare times that the model needs to be coordinated? Like switch back temporarily during the operation?




Technically, none of this should really matter, you usually don't change the model much once it is georefferenced. However in our case, there was some corruption in the model yesterday morning. The model would crash everytime we tried to open it. After two hours of troubleshooting, we discovered that the 'Project Information' was corrupt and were able to fix it. Now this morning, we realized the architectural model's shared coordinated moved significantly!


You mention that you cannot push, but you can acquire coordinates. I am not sure, but I think it would be possible to fix it by acquiring the coordinates.


PS-You should really make that clear within Revit. Instead of just writing 'Changing linked positions is disabled in collaboration on BIM 360' in the Shared coordinate box. Give the user a better idea of the limitations and potential change to workflow or solutions.



If we cannot use shared coordinates, it has major implications for the project:

-We cannot use point clouds

-If we need to make changes, we need to download the model locally and re-uplaod: This is majorly disruptive and will make tracking functions in BIM 360 useless. For example, I will no longer be able to properly track changes between models if I have to overwrite the model with new Shared Coordinate information.

-It will be hard to track who created and modified elements, since all elements will then be assigned to my name if I have to overwrite the old model.


Regarding the Ideas Station. 60% of the top 20 voted ideas in Revit Ideas forum have been ignored or pushed aside. We still see new major development in new features, but not enough addressing all the concerns by users. I can tell you that an obscure problem like tihs one is too hard to present in a clear title, so it will never get enough votes, it will just get lost. I've submitted probably over a hundred ideas in the forum under different accounts and I have a good understanding of the system and how major requests get ignored even if they get top voted. If anything, it will be implemented in 6 years as a major new features, while users have been asking for is for the last 4 years. So that being said, it seems like Autodesk is fully ignoring the Ideas that are top voted for Revit.


Regarding the documentation of this new major limitation. It should be listed in the 'What's new, not in the middle of the dense documentation. Nobody is going to read he whole documentation before starting a collaborative project and making a BIM execution plan.



Now it seems that you are saying something different that the help staff before you. They said you had to download it locally and make the change, you say it is limited to one way pushes or pulls. I will look into this and figure out if I can align it with the one way limitations.

Message 10 of 41
in reply to: Anonymous

Thankfully someone in our office is better than me with shared coordinates. We were able to work around the limitations.


We created a dummy Revit file, acquired it's coordinates and then we able to reacquire the coordinates of the original file.


I believe we solved the problem through this creative solution.

Message 11 of 41
in reply to: Anonymous

PS-Here is a perfect example of the Ideas Forum being a waste of time

Message 12 of 41
in reply to: Anonymous

Do you mind putting some detailed directions on how you got this to work for you? I have a huge project that I don't want to have to download and lose tracking of just to get my models to link up correctly....


It would be very much appreciated!

Message 13 of 41
in reply to: Anonymous

We use a master file that has the coordinates. This file is named COORDINATE or has that name in it. Here are the instructions on how to re-acquire the coordinates from that file:


  • Create a new TEMP files from a template that has a coordinate system not named 'internal'
  • Acquire this TEMP coordinate system
  • Remove the TEMP file forever
  • Then link the COORDINATE model into your model without using shared coordinates for the insert
  • Alight the grids and the levels of the COORDINATE model to your grids and levels
  • Then acquire the coordinates of the COORDINATE model

Hope this helps! Smiley Happy

Message 14 of 41
in reply to: Anonymous

Thanks for the fast response 😃


So I created a file called "Coordinate Shared Coordinates" and saved it locally on my in house server.


Then I went into the architectural file on the BIM 360 service and linked the local Coordinate Shared Coordinates file


Then I acquired the coordinates from that link, basically overwriting the original shared coordinate system from my original "Site File" that is saved on the cloud (this is the file I always use to set shared coordinates in my projects 😃


Now do I save the architectural file to central, go into my site file and move the architectural file and then publish my shared coordinates to my architectural file?


Sorry for the confusion. Seems like a basic thought but I am having trouble following it for some reason. 😃


Thanks for the help again

Message 15 of 41
in reply to: Anonymous

Well, first things first, Autodesk Coordinate system are a giant clusterfvck and what I call 'a machine for lawsuits'. so talking about them kind of gives me a headache.


Your description is a bit ambiguous and I don't really have time to explain how coordinate systems work. Maybe re-read my description and follow a few tutorials on the topics. We are lucky in that someone in our office is an expert and trained us on how to do it properly.


My instructions are based on a problem where there was a corruption in the coordinate systems. One day they were right and then there was a muckup in BIM 360 Teams and they got corrupted. This is the problem my solution fixes. If you are looking at how to do coordinates in general, this is not the solution for you.


But if it is the problem you are experiencing, then you need to break the corruption link by pointing to a temporary coordinate system. This is this part of the steps:



  • Create a new TEMP files from a template that has a coordinate system not named 'internal'
  • Acquire this TEMP coordinate system
  • Remove the TEMP file forever

At the point you've broken the corruption link and are basically ready to start fresh. But yeah, if you need help with coordinate systems in general, I cannot help you. At this point, you should just follow whatever procedures you have to acquire coordinate systems.




A quick try based on your description: once the link is broken, insert your site file in your arch file (don't use Shared coordinates for this step). Align the site file to where it should line up, using grids and such. When everything is lined up, acquire the coordinates from the Site file. Then you can either unload your site or keep it in there.


Message 16 of 41
in reply to: Anonymous

No I get how they work and have used them for years. I was just happy to hear that someone had found a workaround that didn't include downloading, fixing the coordinates system, and then re-uploading everything. 


I also know in order for this workaround to work things have to be done in a precise order and I was trying to figure out exactly what that order was.


Thanks again for helping.

Message 17 of 41
in reply to: Anonymous

This support article documents the Acquire Coordinates workflow in Revit Cloud Worksharing.

Kyle Bernhardt
Building Design Strategy
Autodesk, Inc.

Message 18 of 41



Thank you for linking to the Acquire Coordinate workflow. I will remember this when I set up sites in the future. My follow-up to this is obvious - what happens if you discover down the road that you need to move "Building A" 5 feet to the west?


My inclination would be to open the site model and move the Building A link by that dimension and then publish the coordinates back to the link. This doesn't work in the BIM 360 environment though. So what is the solution to this problem?

Message 19 of 41
in reply to: murray_adam

I believe message 14 is the solution and the only way to work in C4R.

Message 20 of 41
in reply to: Anonymous

Wow, there is a lot of rhetoric and misinformation in this thread.  First of all, there are a few completely DIFFERENT concepts that are getting conflated or confused, in terms of whats possible and whats not:


Shared Coordinates (with a simple single system): 100% possible, and usable, and functional, on both C4R and BIM360 Design.


Multiple Named Places (multiple Shared Coordinate systems): 100% possible, and usable, and functional, on both C4R and BIM360 Design.


Multiple Named Places in both the Linked files AND the Host File: 100% possible, and usable, and functional, on both C4R and BIM360 Design.


Specifically using ACQUIRE or PUBLISH Coordinates, when models have Multiple Named Places:  Doesnt work in C4R, or BIM360 Design, but it also doesnt work in basic Revit, and its always been that way.  AND, it doesnt stop you from accomplishing the goal, because: If you have multiple Named Places, you need to use Specific Coordinates at a Point ANYWAY, which is the workflow that always works, 100% of the time.


So, lets cover a few topics, if i may:


1. Originally setting up Shared Coordinates. A lot of people and project teams prefer to have this done using the PUBLISH or ACQUIRE workflows, which is fine when the project models only have one Shared Coordinate System, aka One Named Place (that teams typically leave called Internal, which is a lousy and confusing name).  If you hapeen to do any work with both the 3D Coordination Team and the Construction Team, you may discover they want different coordinate systems. For instance, if the 3D coordination team wants the model to be orthagonal to "North" and to be close to 0,0,0, so they can pull straight dims when they have clashes, that will end up needing to be a Coordinate System (Named Place).  But the Model will also have its REAL coordinates, which will be another.


My only point in saying all of that, is the ONE workflow that works in all cases (and always has) is using Specify Coordinates At A Point, instead of Acquire or Publish.  I also prefer this, as i can then set the coordinates by the exact benchmark location Civil has used. In fact, i dont EVER use Acquire, or Publish, or or unclip/clip/move the Survey point of Project Base Point.  There simply isnt a need.


Now, to the last question that was asked:  What happens when the building has to move five feet?  No issues at all.  Go in the Linked Model, and use specify Coordinates at a point AGAIN, and change the coordinate to move the five feet.  Whats even better about this, is:  Unlike with Acquire/Publish, where you have to use the "sacrificial link" to reset the Coordinates as mentioned above, using Specify at a Point, you dont have to do that. Here is a comparison:


Sacrificial Link method (what you need to use to "move the building five feet" if you used Acquire/Publish... Also which doesnt work with multiple named places:


(Note:  In that video we are "fixing" coordinates for another reason, but its the same workflow.


Moving the building with Specify at a Point:


That workflow always works, with the exception of needing to quickly unload the link, and reload it (NOT remove).  There are no downsides to this, frankly.


Ive been using Revit since 2006, and this all works the same as it always has, assuming you use Specify as your means to determine the original coordinates. And- given that i do a LOT of Field Layout collaboration DIRECTLY with staff on jobsites, and ive seen the many different ways coordinates can be set up, IMVHO its insane to use Publish or Acquire, without then putting a Spot Coordinate down to back check yourself versus civil.  And if you are taking the time to put the spot coordinate down, why not actually just type in the coordinate value, and then not have to worry about it?


I have no need to address the other "commentary" on the Revit Coordinate System, nor the Revit Ideas page. Since the former has resulted in 100% usable data for construction teams in the field, and the latter has resulted in new features being added to the program that started out as Revit Ideas posts, the facts speak for themselves. 


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