Thursday, August 15, 2013

Parking Stalls in InfraWorks

The first thing you need to come to terms with is this:

InfraWorks is currently a tool for conceptual design.

So, if you're creating parking lots in InfraWorks, and you're trying to lay out every nook and cranny of every parking stall, island, etc. - you're not thinking about it right.  It would be like trying to paint the Mona Lisa with a spray can, or chopping vegetables with a chain saw.  You're not properly matching the job with the tool.

Anyway, with that in mind, we can make some pretty neat-looking parking lots with a little ingenuity.

First, I'm going to open AutoCAD (or Civil 3D, or whatever AutoCAD based product you have handy) and lay out a few short rows of parking stalls.  Then I'm going to use a screen capture program like Jing or SnagIt to grab a "tile" of this layout (indicated in red below)

The resulting image looks like this:

You may need to go into an image editor (even Paint will do) and clean it up a bit.

Now I'll create a material in InfraWorks.  I'll open the Style Palette and go to the Material tab.  I think Land Cover is probably a good place for this so I'll open that folder and click the green plus sign to create a new material.

In the Define New Material dialog box I'll do the following:
  • Pick Texture as the type
  • Browse for my newly created image
  • Set the height to 52 (20' stall + 20' stall + half of a 24' lane)
  • Set the width to 10'

I'll name the new material Parking Stalls and then drag and drop it to a coverage area.

If you grip edit the coverage area and pay attention, you'll notice that the parking stalls always stay aligned with one of the sides.  You can use this to your advantage by setting the direction of that side and rotating the coverage area to get a decent result.

To make more eloquent layouts you could experiment with different tiles, multiple coverage areas, maybe add some roads - but remember, if you're spending a ton of time getting the perfect layout - is that really what you should be doing at the stage of the project you are in?  If so, maybe you should go into AutoCAD and lay out your parking there, and then import it into InfaWorks?

In a future post, I'll look at tricking a road into thinking it's a parking lot - even cooler!


  1. Good post. Thanks for sharing.

  2. Eugene D. Ninnie, P.E., AIA, LEED APNovember 27, 2013 at 2:34 PM


    I had a client drop off a 2d AutoCAD drawing for a proposed shopping mall complete with islands, sidewalks, surface treatments ( brick sidewalks), landscaping in the islands, building pads with footprints, etc. We want to use Infraworks to layout the same amenities. We already have the image, terrain and roads imported in. Now we have to create an existing conditions map and a proposed map for a meeting with the local municipality and their planners.
    • How does one duplicate the existing buildings on site? There are no existing downloads from Sketchup downloads for the existing buildings. One of them has a barrel roof (bowstring trusses).
    • We are exploring Sketchup downloads and found some close proposed structures that may fit but how can one make custom buildings.
    • Moreover the islands are custom as well and need to be constructed from scratch to match the 2d cad drawings
    • How can one utilize the cad drawing in Infraworks? We have selected the 2d drawing in the data source and configured it but it is nowhere to be seen. We want to use it as a template to duplicate the layout
    • You have a great piece on making parking lots but no islands, landscaping or lighting. How does one accomplish the islands, landscaping and lighting?
    Thanks in advance!

  3. This comment has been removed by the author.

  4. Thanks for the post, I am techno savvy. I believe you hit the nail right on the head. I am highly impressed with your blog. It is very nicely explained. Your article adds best knowledge to our Java Online Training from India. or learn thru Java Online Training India Students.