Wednesday, June 11, 2014

Getting Started with InfraWorks (2015 version) - Part 3: Setting the Model Extent

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:


In Part 1 we acquired terrain data and aerial photos via the National Map Viewer and built a terrain model. In Part 2, we draped the aerial imagery over the terrain model giving us a much better sense of what was where.  Now that we can clearly see the project area that we would like to focus on, it's time to set the Model Extent so that the project has less to think about and performs much snappier.

To begin, I'll click the Manage icon on the InfraWorks core toolbar, and then click Model Settings.



That brings up the Model Properties dialog which is currently has the model extent set to the default of "Use Entire Model".


I'll uncheck that box which enables the BBox (bounding box)/Polygon menu, and then click the BBox option.



Clicking is a little different in InfraWorks if you're used to an AutoCAD-based environment like Civil 3D.  To make the box, I'll single-click the first point and then double-click the second point.  Don't click and drag like you would to make a window in AutoCAD.


I click OK on the Model Settings dialog box and I'm good to go.



Note that there is an Load Extent from File option.  When I first saw this I was thinking that it was looking for some sort of text file or XML file that contained coordinate values.  It's actually smarter than that - you can choose in image file, for instance, and it will use the extents of that image as the extents of your model.  Since I have so many images it didn't make sense in my case, but I can see where that could come in handy in other instances.

Now my model only includes the area I selected, regardless of the area that any source data covers.  And I'm noticing an immediate improvement in performance because I'm giving InfraWorks permission to think about less of my data - in this case a lot less.


If you're not happy with the result, you can go back to the Model Settings command and use the Edit Area of Interest command to change the extents.  Just remember to double-click a point to signal that you're finished (a common theme in InfraWorks that will drive you crazy for a little while).



Now that my model extent is defined I can lean back and enjoy those animated clouds. (they look 100 times better in InfraWorks than they do in the GIF below, but I just had to do it)


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