Thursday, June 12, 2014

Getting Started with InfraWorks (2015 version) - Part 4: Adding a Road

Note: This series of posts is an updated version of the same posts I did last year for version 2014 R2. It has the same content as those posts, but updated to address the new user interface and any applicable feature changes. If you're still on the older software, you can try out this series of posts.

Before reading this post, you should probably check out:

Although the title of this post suggests that we're going to do some design, I'm actually referring to dressing up an existing road a bit to make it look better - and eventually to give us something to tie our new roads into.

At this point in the project, we've got a nice terrain and some aerial imagery draped over it.  The imagery looks great from a distance but when you zoom in, it starts to look very grainy.  Not a huge deal for some features, but for others you may want to improve their appearance drastically.  I'm going to accomplish this with the existing road on the switchback area shown below by simply adding a new road in its place.

Here's how:

First I need to bring up the toolbar that contains the Roads icon.  This is done by clicking the Create icon on the InfraWorks core toolbar.

When you click the Roads icon, the Select Draw Style asset card will pop up.  From here you can pick a style that suites the type of road that suites your needs.  For this example I'm going to pick a two lane road style.

Now all I need to do is click points along the existing road.  The number and spacing of points is important.

When I pick one point, InfraWorks will assign an elevation from the terrain.  At the next point, the terrain will be used again and the program will draw a straight line between the two points.  At the next point, the terrain elevation will again be used and InfraWorks will apply a spline to add curvature to the road.  If my points are too far apart, there won't be enough elevation samples for the road to adequately match the existing terrain.  

Remember to double-click your last point to signal InfraWorks that you're ending the command (this takes some getting used to).  When you're done, grips will show up on your newly drawn road.  The box-shaped ones are like square grips in AutoCAD - they let you move within the XY plane - however, the vertex will update to try to match the terrain in its new location.  The cone-shaped grips move in the Z-axis only.  You can use both of these types of grips to adjust your layout.  You can even right click a spot on the road and add a vertex if you need one.

When you're all done, your road will look more like a road instead of a pixellated gray thing.  Although it'll look even better once you do a little style magic - look for a post on that topic in the future.

Keep in mind that I could also have imported road data as a data source if I was lucky enough to have access to it. The National Map Viewer does have some road data that you can download and there are lots of other sources as well. And you can assign whatever styles you want to the data to make local roads, highways, interstates, even bridges. And that doesn't even consider Model Builder. But that's for another day - today we've just spruced up part of road to make it look more like a road.

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