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XYZ points -> to solid - > with image overlay


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Dear Friends,


I need your help with the following case. I have a XYZ table which is coordinates and elevation. When plotted in 3D in Matlab or Excel, it results in a 3D surface plot which shows the topography of an area.


My end goal is this: (1) create a solid object with these coordinates, (2) overlay the object with an aerial photo and last (3) design some machinery/buildings on top of it. In short, I want to do the Autocad equivalent of the Geo-location operation in Sketchup (see attached image).


If I understand correctly, I need to first create an STL file and import it in Autocad. Then I need to convert it to solid and last, I could use SUPERHATCH to attach the aerial photo. Fyi, my tools now are a vanilla Autocad (not Map etc) and MeshLab. Also I could use 3D Max if needed for conversions.


Please note the peculiarity of an XYZ object representing topography. I had created an STL file in Meshlab for these points and imported it in Autocad but the convert-to-solid command could not do the job. I imagine it had to do with the fact that it was effectively a layer with no thickness.


As a newcomer, I mostly need help in correctly formulating the problem (ie using correct terminology so that my google search is well focused). Ideas welcome.


Many thanks,


sketchup example.jpg

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Hi Bigal,

Thank you for your help. Yes the drape command could work. I was hopping that it could also be done with other indirect methods, such as a hatch whereby I use an image and not the predefined hatches. Or other methods of such rationale.

If not then I will also have to subscribe to CIV3d as well.

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  • 2 weeks later...

Autodesk has new software that is pretty good for this kind of thing too. It's the new version of ReCap 360.


The software allows you to take photos of the exterior of a building or object and have that object imported as a 3d object with the visual data overlayed as a texture file. There are youtube videos where they use drones to get all the nooks and crannies. But wow!


This software used to be called photo3d (I think it was a mobile app). People would demonstate it on their pets and stuff. As if there aren't enough cat photos on the web!

You would basically take a series of pics of something on your phone from different angles. It would upload your photos to the cloud as you went.

When the software got enough data to output a 3D drawing, it would email it to you I think.


Check out the youtube videos. It's pretty amazing now that we have laser scanning and drones.


You can even have 3D represetations of existing buildings/infrastructure and overlay newly designed 3d models of what you intend to install so you can see what it will look like in reality.


I think it can even work in conjunction with Matlab - but don't quote me on that.





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