Importing Contour & Feature Survey

Hi There
I’m a little stumped. When uploading a DWG file of the contour & features survey the text is not included - something I was aware of from reading and listening online - so no problem there. However I have not managed to work out how to get a high quality rendition of all the survey information uploaded so that I can create a readable site plan for submission to local government for development assessment and approval.
The uploaded file has the DWG file, Jpeg (tagged in a separate folder) and a bulk form of the existing house. I’ve completed a detailed concept model already, complete with new landscaping and internal furniture for the clients which they are very happy with, but that file is too large to upload. I think the uploaded file will be okay, however if required I can add a link for it.
Obviously surveys are an integral part of all architectural design work when it comes to getting approvals, so I’m sure there is a simple solution - it is just not making itself obvious to me.
Thanks very much brains trust. Thanks from Ian in Perth, Western Australia.
SurveyImport-20220712-SketchupForum.skp (8.5 MB)

What happens if you open the DWG in Layout?

No idea, but will try.

We do something similar to what you are trying to do, but have not managed to use a survey directly into Sketchup/Layout without the need of extensive re-work.

There’s a way to import text, but converted as geometry (no longer editable) and your DWG will need some work before you can import it. “ImportDXFtext”

As for the other information, you could replicate the colors/colours in Layout, but not the line styles and hatch without re-doing them in Layout. (or at least we have not found a way)

For us, replicating the survey was too time-consuming, so we opted to use the image directly with our model on top. And exporting that page with its image resolution as “High” and no compression to make the image look better.

You still need to import the DWG for accuracy etc. For that, there’s another extension that works great. “Xref Manager”, if you change something on the DWG you can just “refresh” it or change the reference if the surveyor updates their file etc.

I’ve uploaded a pdf of how it looks when exported (is a bit heavy due to the uncompressed image)
survey.pdf (2.3 MB)

and the Layout file from where it was taken. (saved to 2021)
survey.layout (7.7 MB)

Thanks very much Fredy.
I’m guessing that the local government authority requirements in the USA (assume Sketchup’s biggest market) do not need site plans complete the same way as here in Australia, otherwise this would not be a work-around situation.

I’m going to get my head around what you sent in coming days, create a step-by-step list/sequence as I operate alone and do not do many projects, meaning repetition will not be rapid. I hate having to re-learn because I suffer yet another senior moment - LOL.

The important bit is getting the survey (with all text etc) into Layout, to scale, and accurately located “under” the 2D linework Construction Site Plan. Being new to both S-up and Layout and having no previous CAD experience has meant I am often at the bottom of a steep learning curve…

BTW, are you located in Australia as well?
Cheers Ian.

I should have been clearer. What we usually do is used for applications that might not require the full version of the site plan and mainly to refer distances to property lines, easements etc.
What we do does not reflect the requirements in the US, sorry for misleading. Someone else might provide better input on that. The PDF was only a proof of concept of how the image could look if done that way.

Some of the drawings we do that way are used in Australia, and sometimes we are required to submit a copy in DWGs as well, so we need to prepare them differently, but other times it seems to work for our clients’ needs.

I’m in the US, but saw you were from there and added the “colour” version :stuck_out_tongue:

Here in the US we are required to provide site plans of course and they have to be based upon a topographic survey no more than 5 years old.

These are the steps I take:

  1. Open my SU site template (this has all my tags, scenes and style preset)
  2. Import the AutoCAD file.
  3. Isolate certain elements, assign them to “untagged”, then group and tag the group to the appropriate tag, such as property lines, setbacks, easements etc.
  4. Assign linestyle to the tags that need it.
  5. Use Sandbox tools to create the site mesh (assign the mesh to the appropriate tag)
  6. Since my scenes are all preset, all the scenes are all aligned and ready to go for LO.
  7. Purge all the ACAD tags since they are no longer used.
  8. Open my LO site plan template.
  9. Import the site SU file, set scale
  10. Stack viewports, by copying the first import and placing on the appropriate layer - site plan first (just the 3d mesh), then property lines, setbacks, easements, tree locations etc.

Preparing a typical new site for me from the survey takes about 2 hours since it is a pretty regimented approach with templates for both SU and LO.


Hi Fredy
Thanks very much for you input. :beers:

Hi Nick
Thanks very much for your reply and list, which I comprehend pretty well.

In playing around and thinking over the past while loaded the DWG into SU and “untagged” as you do, however not knowing if I’m on a right or wrong track has been my constant companion as I learn, realising day by day that, arhh, there is another way, a faster and/or better way - but that’s the nature of exploring and learning.

Probably the most important aspect of your comment is the time you take to get a survey setup correctly. I work on the assumption that what I want can be done, fast, it’s just I have no clue how to achieve it. Two hours is not as quick as I thought the process would be, and now, thinking “should be”. I’ll be comfortable that I’m not barking up the wrong tree by spending hours getting the survey as needed.

My level of tag/layer sophistication is improving daily and your reply gives me a couple more thoughts to pursue, so thanks.

I have a “nested” question. Do you type in all the spot heights manually? And if so, into SU somehow, or into Layout?

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The two hours includes modeling time in SU and producing my site plan in LO. All notation is added in LO. So, that time gives me the 3D model, the site plan in LO and any required exports. The longest portion of time I spend is adding context to the contours from the survey. The surveyor typically takes them to the property line or just past. I extend these further for rendering purposes only. So that part is not required but does take more time.

Since text does not import, yes you have to retype all text. Since there is not too much, it really doesn’t take long. I have all those typical items in scrapbooks, so it’s just a matter of placing and editing.