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Friday, September 21, 2007

Revit and Google Earth

If you are a subscription customer using Revit, then listen up. Autodesk has finally posted their Google Earth extension that you can download to add your project to Google Earth or bring a Google Earth image into your project. Simply log into your subscription site and look for the Revit Globe - Link. You will find it on the "Autodesk Building Solutions Product Modules, Add-Ons, and Enhancement" page.

Once you have installed this, it will load some new commands to your Tools pulldown menu.

You must have Google Earth downloaded, installed, and running to use these tools. If you want to bring in an image from Google Earth, simple navigate to your site in Google Earth, then switch to Revit and use the Acquire from Google Earth tool. It works great for creating a site plan with the surrounding terrain.

If you want to publish your 3D model into Google Earth, you will need to switch to a 3D view in Revit and use the Publish to Google Earth tool. This will add a Temporary Place to your list inside of Google Earth. You can then zoom and orbit to see how your building fits within its context.
This is just a quick example of how you can begin to move your model to a site.

I will take this opportunity to advertise for one of the Autodesk University classes that I will be assisting with. It is not being advertised very well to the architectural community because it is listed in the Civil track. I am teaching "From Dirt to Doors" with my in-house Civil guru, Jason Hickey. Check it out the description below and sign up for it.

Revit Wall Library

Are you trying to set up Revit Architecture for your company? If so, creating wall families can be a time consuming part of your task. I have a possible short cut for you. USG's web site has lots of walls, acoustical ceilings, and custom ceilings available for you to download. They have created just about their entire library of walls and ceilings in Revit format that you can download for free.

You can download the entire wall library, or search for a particular wall that meets your needs. Once downloaded, you will see that they are .rvt files (Revit Template files). You can start a new project, and browse to open the particular template that you are looking for. Here is a view of the available wall templates.

This brings up a good topic to discuss... How are you creating wall libraries? I have worked with several firms that are trying to tackle this issue. Your first thought might be to simply load them into your standard template. That is okay if you don't mind working in a large template with extra families that may never be used. Walls are project created families. You cannot have external files of walls like you do for other families (i.e. doors, windows, furniture.) I have found that the easiest way to have a library of walls is to create a separate project that is stored on your network that has nothing but wall families created in it. Users can open this project and find the wall they want to use and simply use the Copy/Paste command to copy the wall to their current project. I would create a view in this "wall project" that lists all the walls in an order that everybody understands. It could be similar to the way USG has created their files, as shown below.

I think manufacturers are finally realizing that Revit is here, and here to stay. I look forward to other companies making Revit content available in addition to the standard .dwg format. But until all manufacturers grasp this concept, you can continue to use my two favorite web sites to grab content for your project. If you have not already, check out Revit City and BIM World. They contain lots of information. Just be careful what you get for free, because sometimes what looks correct is not always the case. For example, I am working with my church to develop plans for a new multi-purpose building, and I downloaded a basketball court to use. Lo and behold, when I pulled down my nifty Graphic Standards, I found that the court was 10' too small.