How to Place the Built-In Bing Imagery in Surface Coordinates

I had a customer call yesterday wanting to place an aerial image into the drawing. After logging into his machine and showing them how to use the built-in Bing imagery, I noticed that his drawing was in surface coordinates. The Bing imagery is in grid coordinates. If you have every tried to scale the imagery, then you have noticed it doesn’t work.

We came up with a workaround that seems to work pretty good.

Basically what you are going to do is perform a SAVEAS. Save the drawing somewhere and rename it. Your surveyor should supply you with a scale factor. Scale the entire drawing using the basepoint of 0,0 and entering the scale factor provided to you. 

Now, turn on the Aerial image from the built-in Bing Imagery. NOTE: You must be signed into A360 and a coordinate system set in your drawing settings. Now, capture an area. Once the area is captured, turn off the Aerial. Click on the area you captured and in the ribbon change from Optimal to Very Fine. This resamples the image for better clarity.

Next, close and save the drawing. Open up the original drawing. Once there, XREF in the other drawing. Now you can scale the XREF’d image. Scale it from basepoint 0,0 with the opposing scale factor (1 / Scale Factor).

A big thanks to John Guajardo with JAG Engineering for providing the data to create the instructional video below…

InfraWorks 2017.3 Has Been Released

Autodesk has released InfraWorks 2017.3 as of this morning. The update will show in your Autodesk Desktop Application Manager or you can download it here. Below are some of the new features in the new release:

Overviews of what’s new:

Updated tutorials for component-based roadway design:

New Help topics about key updates:

  • Assign different modes to Views: views can have a mode, such as select or edit.


  • View roadway station and component station labels at key geometric locations such as start and end points of horizontal and vertical curves, points of intersection, points of vertical intersection, and road component and transition lengths.



  • Modify start/end stations for grading areas to create grading zones, and add grading transitions. Specify slopes and materials independently for each zone. Specify length of transition between grading zones.



  • Right of Ways limits shown on Cut/Fill View. You can also convert any ROW line segment to an arc.





Videos to acclimate you to new features in 2017:

InfraWorks and WMS

In this article we will take a look at integrating NearMap server with InfraWorks 360. If you are not familiar with NearMap, they are super high-resolution aerial images.

There is a couple of things to keep in mind when doing this;

  1. You MUST set your model extent to a minimal area. You can use as much area you need, but to get the highest resolution, a small area is indeed what is needed. You will see how this works later in the article.
  2. Check the area you are creating the model in from the NearMap website to ensure there is hi-res imagery for that location.

Keep in mind, NearMap is NOT a free service. I am using my trial version to write this article. 

Create a new model, or open an existing one. In the image below, you can see the aerial background. This aerial was created from using the InfraWorks 360 Model Builder. It’s not a very clear image as you can see. This is downtown Houston, Texas…

We are going to start by going to the Model Properties .

Set the coordinate system that you would like to use. In my case, I’m setting it to Texas State Plane. InfraWorks will convert from the NearMap coordinate system, to your set coordinate system. Click OK.

Next, you will need to open the desired XML file I have attached below. Open in Notepad. In this case, I’m choosing the nearmap_USA_GDAL_parameters.xml.

Toward the bottom, you will need to replace Demo:Demo with your NearMap username:password…

Save the file and go back to InfraWorks.

In your Data Sources click on Raster. Browse to the XML file you just edited.

Double click on the new connection to Configure it. Click on the Raster tab and check the box next to Clip to Model Extent. Click Close & Refresh.

Depending on the size of your area, depends on how long it takes to load the raster file. Mine took about 2 minutes for this small area. Why did it take so long? The resolution of these images are amazing!!

Look at the resolution of the image now…

Also, notice that the imagery was automatically clipped to my model extents.

Are You Using Civil View? You Should Be…

I’m sure many of you have noticed when installing Civil 3D (especially if you have a suite or collection), that there is a plug-in called Civil View. This is a plug-in for 3ds Max. If you’re not using this, YOU SHOULD BE! This is an easy way to present to a client or stakeholder your proposed road design animated with cars, signs, lights, etc. 

The most common phrase I hear is, “I don’t have time to learn 3ds Max”, and “It’s a too convoluted to learn”. This is a big misconception. Reason being, is that you don’t have to learn or know 3ds Max, you just use the Civil View plug-in to do it for you.

In the 20 minute video below, I show you how to create a design road in InfraWorks 360, bring it in to Civil 3D, build a corridor, export it out to 3ds Max, then create an animated presentation. This process literally took me 20 minutes to do. Hopefully this will aid you in starting to use your Infrastructure Design Suite or AEC Collection to it’s full potential.

Once you view the video, if you have any questions, please feel free to contact me at, or you can call our office at (281) 445-6161.

Are You Struggling with Civil 3D Performance?

I have had a lot of calls on Civil 3D taking forever to open, and there is finally a fix. You will have to follow the directions from here. Once you have followed the instructions, open the problematic drawing. It will still take forever to open. However, once it’s opened and saved, the problem goes away.

Thank you to Steve Hill at Red Transit Consultants for reminding me to edit this post.

Make sure you do this on ALL machines. Otherwise the issue will keep reoccurring.

Take a stop over at Red Transit Consultants if you are interested in some awesome add-on tools for Civil 3D, Map 3D, AutoCAD, and much more.

InfraWorks 360 2017.2 Update

Autodesk has released an update for InfraWorks 360.  The issues that were resolved are listed below…

Bridge Design

  • A bridge must have 8 or less girders per girder group for deck haunches to be supported.
  • Haunches are not supported if a girder crosses the centerline of the bridge deck. Therefore using an odd number of girders will not allow for haunches unless you offset the center girder from the center of the bridge deck.

Design Views

  • If you are in Engineering View and have Show Sky disabled in View Settings, the sky will becomes visible again if you switch proposals. Toggle to Conceptual View then back to Engineering View to re-disable the display of the sky background.
  • Some component textures, such as the bridge component deck texture, can be difficult to see using the default Conceptual View settings. To improve texture visibility, adjust model time in Sun & Sky settings, or reduce light intensity in the Visualization tab of the View Settings panel. You can also switch to Engineering View.

Drainage Design

  • After creating a flood snapshot, toggling the display of the flood snapshot on and off more than once may cause your view to zoom in too far, and InfraWorks 360 will also select a piece of city furniture and show its attributes in the Stack. Single-click in canvas to de-select the city furniture object, then zoom out to see the flood snapshot area again.

Road Design

  • The workflow to generate Autodesk AutoCAD Civil 3D drawings of design roads has changed. Instead of using the Generate Civil3D Drawing intelligent tool in InfraWorks 360, open AutoCAD Civil 3D and use the Insert InfraWorks 360 Open InfraWorks 360 Model tool to bring your InfraWorks 360 data into AutoCAD Civil 3D.
  • Roadside grading materials may not display properly when fixed-slope roads intersect with fixed-width roads or planning roads.
  • Roadside grading is not fully supported for roads or intersections with unresolved geometries, and may produce unexpected results.
  • Calculating earthwork volumes is not supported nor excluded in intersections with unresolved geometry, and may produce unexpected results.
  • The Cross Section Viewer does not support viewing intersection area cross sections for left turn lanes.
  • The Cross Section Viewer does not support viewing cross sections for roundabouts.
  • Superelevation is not supported for component roads if your model uses the DMRB Metric Road Standards.
  • Right of Ways are not supported for component roads if your model uses the DMRB Metric Road Standards.

Viewing Models in a Browser

  • Bridge component parts will display a white color instead of material textures when you view an InfraWorks 360 model in a browser.
  • Bridge abutments with offsets will not display when you view an InfraWorks 360 model in a browser.

AutoCAD Civil 3D 2017 Service Pack 1.1

So in case you haven’t noticed, Autodesk pulled Service Pack 1 and recently released Service Pack 1.1. Below are the issues fixed in the new service pack…


  • The API has been extended to enable match line and view frames.
  • The .NET API has been extended to enable write access for setting cant on a railway alignment.
  • An API has been added to create a siteless feature line :
    static NAMESPACE_ACDB::ObjectId Create(System::String^ featurelineName, NAMESPACE_ACDB::ObjectId idCreatedFrom);
  • An API has been added to move a feature line to none site:
    static void MoveToNoneSite(NAMESPACE_ACDB::ObjectId featureLineId);
  • An API has been updated to allow a feature line to be moved to none site:
    static void MoveToSite(NAMESPACE_ACDB::ObjectId featureLineId, NAMESPACE_ACDB::ObjectId destinationSiteId);

Alignments and Profiles

  • Use of object snaps has been enabled for profile view lines.
  • An issue where a drawing created in AutoCAD Civil 3D 2016 would display station numbers with extra characters when opened in AutoCAD Civil 3D 2017 has been resolved.
  • An issue that caused the superelevation diagrams to display a design check warning with a blank tooltip has been resolved.
  • An issue that caused the Superelevation Tabular Editor to display a rate of change warning with a blank tooltip has been resolved.
  • An error is no longer reported when moving a data-referenced alignment to a different site.
  • An issue has been resolved where a blank meny woould appear when right-clicking on a data-referenced object that had its source drawing renamed.
  • When using the Export to Civil 3D Drawing command, alignments are now exported as polylines as they have been in previous releases of AutoCAD Civil 3D.


  • An issue that prevented use of the command line to input a station range when using the Export Corridor to Solids command has been resolved.
  • An unexpected error is no longer generated when erasing an intersection while the Intersection Offset Parameter dialog box is open.

Export to DWG/DGN

  • An issue that prevented a successful drawing export to Microstation® DGN format has been resolved.
  • An error is no longer generated when exporting from a drawing that has been saved at the root directory of the local disk.
  • An issue has been resolved where the file browse dialog box for selecting a DWS file when exporting to DGN was not displayed.


  • An issue has been resolved where grading criteria sets were duplicated when attaching a referenced template.
  • An unexpected error is no longer generated when erasing a profile while the Profile Layout Tools toolbar is open.
  • An issue that prevented the Miscellaneous Utilities in the Toolbox from being run at the command line has been resolved.

Grading and Feature Lines

  • Running the AUDIT command after moving an overlapping feature line in a site no longer causes errors to be reported.
  • An issue that caused a grading object to not respond to changes in a feature line after a drawing audit has been resolved.

Hydraflow Extensions

  • An issue has been resolved that caused the inlet grade dimensions to not match between the Hydraflow Storm Sewers extension and the Hydraflow Express extension.
  • When plotting an Inlet Section Table the “Inlet Depth” and “Inlet Spread” column headers have been changed to “Bypass Depth” and “Bypass Spread”.
  • An issue has been resolved that caused an error when applying changes after adding an empty column to a custom report in MyReport.
  • The Hydraflow Storm Sewers extension and the Hydraflow Express extension have updated calculations for gutter spread depth of curb inlets in sag.
  • The Hydraflow Storm Sewers Help has been updated so that definitions are consistent with the current behavior.
  • The Bypass Spread depth values in the Hydraflow Express extension now use the same rounding as in Hydraflow Storm Sewers extension.
  • The Hydraflow Storm Sewers extension and the Hydraflow Express extension have updated calculations for gutter spread depth of curb inlets in sag.

Hydrology and Hydraulics

  • Linetypes that include blocks and text now are displayed correctly when used for catchment boundaries or flow paths.


  • A feature has been added where a glyph and tooltip are shown when a label component has had its contents and/or format overridden.
  • An issue has been resolved where the default projection label style that was specified in the ProjectObjectsToMultiSect command settings was not retained when the Project Objects to Multiple Section Views command was run.

Pipe Networks and Pressure Networks

  • An issue that caused unexpected behavior when using grips to edit pressure network pipes in profile view has been resolved.
  • An issue has been resolved where some changes in a pressure network data shortcut were not synchronized to the referenced drawing.
  • An issue has been resolved where edits to the elevation of a pressure network were not retained when the pressure network was data-referenced.
  • An issue has been resolved where pipe network styles were overwritten when synchronized in paper space.

Autodesk® Vault

  • An issue has been resolved that caused an error where checking in a drawing that has a TIFF XREF that is checked out.

Where is My Model Builder?

Some of you might not have the Model Builder that is included in InfraWorks 360. If you purchased the Infrastructure Design Suite Premium or Ultimate, you got stuck with having InfraWorks 360 LT which does NOT have the Model Builder. So, where do you get the data to start building you model? 

Some of the major cities have some pretty good GIS data for you to use based on the City or County you are in or are looking for; and then some of them have nothing (at least for free). We don’t want to spend a bunch of money on something we might use once. 

Below I have included some links that will get you started with creating your model in InfraWorks 360 LT. The data that is available on these sites is free. Some of this is for terrain, images, etc. Again, your City of County might have more information like centerline of roads, points of interest, etc.


National Elevation Dataset/USGS


US Raw Data Download


Trimble Data Marketplace

If you are looking for some good 3D models of vehicles, people, buildings, etc., then you can download them from them from Trimble 3D Warehouse…

InfraWorks 360 Webcast Series

In this web series, we will explore the different capabilities of Autodesk InfraWorks 360.

Working with InfraWorks 360 LT (Part 1) – August 30
Having trouble creating an InfraWorks project without the Model Builder? Look no further. This webinar will show you some valuable resources to obtain free data to put together an InfraWorks model using InfraWorks 360 LT.

Working with InfraWorks 360 LT (Part 2) – September 13
Part 2 of the Working with InfraWorks 360 LT webinar will show you how to build your model without Model Builder. This webinar will also explore how to put together a model and place terrain, images, roads, and buildings from free GIS data from the internet.

Striping with InfraWorks 360 and Vehicle Tracking – September 27
Striping in InfraWorks has never been as easy as using it with Autodesk Vehicle Tracking. Explore parking lot layouts with Vehicle Tracking and learn how you can bring that striping into InfraWorks to layout a parking lot in a matter of minutes.

Creating fences in InfraWorks 360 – October 11
Learn how to create a custom fence from a photograph. Google any type of fence and create a custom fence from within InfraWorks.

Creating a storyboard in InfraWorks 360 – October 25
Discover how to put together a movie in motion to share with clients, stakeholders and/or the public. Showcase your model with flyovers, animated movement, and watermarks.