Best way to capture a 3d topo file for a lot?

Im new to sketchup and trying to design a property. Ive built a few structures to learn and still have a long way to go. But I am stuck on the actual plot of land I am designing. Its fairly sloped and I am wanting to start over with a base of building on the topography.

What is the best way to import an accurate data file based on the topography of the site being designed? I will need some data points to be editable to represent grading that will take place.

Any websites to export such data into a usable sketchup file?

In what format is your data file? It might be that you don’t need a website to convert the data for use in SketchUp.

I do not have a file yet. That is what I am seeking and wasnt sure of the best method to go about it or what file type is best to import into sketchup for compatibilty and the ebility to edit.

I am essentially looking to import a lidar generated topo map file.

Equatorstudio and the GIS sites have some ability to export a file. But not sure if I can export anything useful for my needs. ArcGIS doesnt seem to export files in the required file type.

I did see a tutorial on youtube of a fellow manually constructing his site topo but that seems tedious.

How are you going to generate the data? Are you engaging a surveyor? Generally data from open sources is not accurate enough to be used as a base for actual building operations. Surveyors can output their data in a form that can be utilized in SketchUp. The site data you get through the Geolocation function in SketchUp might be enough for rough sketches.

Ya I agree. I do see some online services that use lidar. Whether these are already available for my site or I’d need to hire someone with a drone with the capability which I wont be doing.

The site has been surveyed prior to being listed and doubt they generated a 3d file.

It seems manually creating it in sketchup based on 2d contour data may be the best or most accurate method. Though there is an app that I could walk the property and generate a file based on the data points I chose for accuracy. But we are talking over 4 acres @ 10-25% slopes.

I was hoping there was an easier way for accurate data to be procured online…

Was the survey only to determine property lines or did they do spot elevations as well?

If you already have that data, you can likely use it to create the terrain.

There are extensions that can import the data points as a point cloud from which the terrain surface can be generated.

If you walk the site to collect the data points I think you can skip leg day at the gym. :smiley:

It may already exist and be available from your local GIS entity. Resolution may not be as high as you want but might be adequate. Maybe it’s enough for most of the site and you could add higher resolution in just the areas where that is needed.

as Dave says, there might be available files from your national or regional GIS / cadastral office, it’ll give you an official 2d set of documents (sometimes even 3d I’ve read).

An alternative I tend to use is (combined with official 2d plans)
create an account, pick an area of 1 km2 for free (or more and pay), it’ll use sources like openstreetmap and more (in the US…) to create a 2d or 3d file. Buildings will be separate groups with either fixed height or actual height, you get all sort of stuff in tags.

I find it usefull to kickstart a project instead of starting from zero. You’ll even get a topography that you can edit with the sandbox (so once again, not start from scratch)

I use a drone along with Pix4D software (and then Scan Essentials or Undet to get models into SketchUp). The outputs I can make include ‘meshes’ (.obj, .fbx), point clouds (.ply, .las, .laz), orthomosaic, and topographic. Meshes are least accurate and I tend not to use them (However, Undet can convert point clouds to meshes within SU and those are good). Point clouds can be very accurate along with topos (you can create pretty fine-grained topos, more than what I generally see in surveys).

The reason I use a drone is that I wasn’t able to find maps/model that are accurate enough online. Surveyors can make them (usually topolines) but they are too expensive for my needs (and I don’t usually need property lines). I don’t know about the various drone services that are out there but they might be worth considering.

I was very tempted to get Moasure when I saw it. It seems that points can be imported into SU (or if not, at least you have the points). You could then generate a ground ‘mesh’ inside of SU.

Otherwise, you could use a laser or a zip level. Either of these would be pretty tedious over a larger area. However, if you can get survey data from your city (that isn’t outdated) you might be able to trace-out large areas that don’t need to be fine-grained. Then you could use Moasure, a laser, a zip level, or a drone to get more fine-tuned in areas that need it (e.g., a driveway).

Lots of good replies. I think I may try the cadmapper. Im still mostly in the pencil 2D stage of planning mostly with a little sketchup experience. Im having trouble visualizing the slope and necessary grading needs and a 3d model is going to help me wrap my head around it.

If you have 2D contours, you can try the Elevate Contours extension as @DaveR mentioned…then Sandbox fm Contours. There is no ‘instant’ solution or terrain generator. Each option provided above has it’s pros/cons. I’ve also used Height Maps from a site such as Tangram Heightmapper along with Thom Thom’s Bitmap to Mesh extension to generate the 3D surface. Again, each of these has some level of effort involved and accuracy trade offs. Good luck.

If you have not found a source for your terrain data file, you might want to look at this site that I just came across.

This service provides you access to various types of terrain data.

I hope this helps