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Introduction to InfraWorks 360 for Civil

Eric Chappell Autodesk

Aimed at Civil industry professional, this class will cover basic importing of data sources to make an
existing model, followed by creation of roads, buildings, and city furniture with the myriad of tools
available. Finally, well cover how to create renderings and fly-over videos for presentation. This class
will cover basic InfraWorks 360. To learn about more advanced features and InfraWorks 360, check out
InfraWorks: 360 Modules and Features.

Learning Objectives
At the end of this class, you will be able to:

Create a new InfraWorks 360 model and populate it with freely available GIS data

Create major design features such as buildings, roads, and coverages

Add detail to your model using trees, city furniture, and other items

Present your design to others

About the Speaker

Eric Chappell serves as Community Evangelist for InfraWorks 360 at Autodesk. He is a
recognized expert in InfraWorks and has been writing and talking about it since its inception.
He has over 20 years experience in the civil/survey field having served as field surveyor,
designer, CAD manger, consultant, trainer, and many other roles relating to Civil 3D and
InfraWorks. His most recognizable work is a series of essentials books for InfraWorks and Civil
3D published by Wiley\Sybex. He resides in central Virginia and when hes not talking to folks
about InfraWorks hes spending time with his wife and four children, playing music, or enjoying
the outdoors.
You can reach Eric at

Introduction to InfraWorks 360 for Civil

Im sure youve heard all the talk about InfraWorks 360, seen plenty of demos by now, and
maybe youve even downloaded the trial. What now? What can you do with InfraWorks 360 and
how can you get started putting it to work doing the things you want it to do? Thats what this
course is all about.
Well talk about creating your first model, populating it with existing data, and then using the
core InfraWorks 360 tools to create new design features. Well also talk about how to prepare
your creation so that it can be shared with others.

Where to Get Data

One area that InfraWorks 360 really shines in is its ability to consume lots of different types of
data. This includes many of the common file formats youll run into when combing the web or
your company GIS library for data. If you dont have access to any specific GIS data, a good
place to start is the USGS National Map Viewer. Youll find this page at From here you can find data for anywhere in the United States.
Its not the best data available but its a great way to get started. And if your project is outside
the United States, just use your favorite search engine and look for <location name> GIS.

Introduction to InfraWorks 360 for Civil

You can search the National Map Viewer by location and then pan and zoom using common
navigation techniques. Once youve located the area you would like to include in your model,
there are a number of ways you can start the process of downloading your data. I prefer to click
the Download icon and choose the bounding box option.

Then you can simply draw a box around the area you want to model. After that, choose the data
that you want and proceed through the checkout process (dont worryits free, but they still call
it a checkout process).

Introduction to InfraWorks 360 for Civil

There are typically lots of data sources to pick from so read carefully. Also be sure to pick file
types that InfraWorks 360 can read. IMG files are good for terrain, JP2 is good for aerial
imagery, and SHP is good for vector data. For the class example, I picked the following:

Elevation: USGS NED n45w094 1/3 arc-second 2013 1 x 1 degree IMG

Orthoimagery: Mar 2012 0.3m Color Orthoimagery - Minneapolis / St Paul, MN
Transportation: USGS National Transportation Dataset (NTD) for Minnesota 20140907
State or Territory Shapefile

Your data will download as a series of zip files, possibly many of them depending on the size of
the area you selected. Spend some time getting them unzipped and organized before
attempting to access them from your InfraWorks model. Once youve done that, youre ready to
create your model and begin building your existing conditions.

Create the Model

To create a model from scratch you simply click New on InfraWorks Home.

Then enter a name and choose a location for your models SQLite file and its associated
<Model>.files folder. You really dont need to worry about any of the other settings just yet.

After youve provided this information and dismissed the New Model dialog box, your new blank
model will open.

Introduction to InfraWorks 360 for Civil

Access Your Data

The easiest way to connect your InfraWorks model to the source data youve downloaded is to
simply drag and drop the data files from Windows Explorer to your InfraWorks window. When
you do this, the Data Source Configuration dialog box will open up and for most data, the
coordinate system will be automatically recognized. In some case youll need to provide the
Type value. Once the coordinate system and Type are established, you can click Close &

For some data sources (like lakes and streams), you may need to choose the Drape option so
that you dont create deep watery holes and channels in your model.

For streams and rivers (linear water features, not shapes) youll also need to provide a Buffer
Width value or they wont show up.

Introduction to InfraWorks 360 for Civil

Set Model Extent

Often the area that your data covers will be much more than you need or want, and it can really
slow down InfraWorks, depending on how good your hardware is. Its best to set your model
extent as early as possible to get the best performance out of your model.

To do it, you click Settings and Utilities

and then Model Properties
. Then uncheck
Use Entire Model and use the Define Interactively control to define the model extent by
bounding box or polygon. Dont forget to double-click that last point to let InfraWorks know that
youre done.

Introduction to InfraWorks 360 for Civil

Creating Roads
If your proposed development has roads, thats a good place to start with building out the design
aspects of your model. To create roads, click the Design icon on the InfraWorks Core toolbar,
then click the Roads tool.

Next, pick a style and just start clicking points in the model to create your road. When you get to
the end, double-click to end the command. If youre not happy with the style, you can always
drag and drop a new one from style palette, or create your own custom road style.

When your road touches another road, InfraWorks 360 will automatically create an intersection.
You can also easily edit your road graphically using gizmos, or using right-click menu

Introduction to InfraWorks 360 for Civil

Creating Buildings
Buildings are another great way to build out your design model. If you have access to building
models you can attach them as data sources. If not, you can draw buildings from scratch using
the Buildings tool. Simply launch the tool and then click points to draw the footprint of the
building. The building will extrude upward from that shape and the look of it will be controlled by
a faade style. Buildings can be easily edited using gizmos and right-click menus.

Coverages are great for simulating new grass (new construction) and paved areas. To create a
coverage you simply launch the Coverages command and click a series of points in the model
to create a shape. To begin, the coverage will be draped on the terrain but you can use the
coverage as a grading tool by editing the individual vertex elevations or using the Shape Terrain
command to create a flat surface at a given elevation. One setting that youll find useful is the
Smoothing Radius value which you can use to control the tie-in slopes between the edge of the
coverage and the existing terrain.

Introduction to InfraWorks 360 for Civil

Water Features
There are two commands to create water features (called water areas) in your InfraWorks
model. The tools are named Rivers and Water Areas. Rivers creates a linear water feature
while Water Areas creates a closed shape. For Rivers, youll need to provide a buffer width and
perhaps bank width value to control the geometry of the water feature. These properties can be
accessed by right-clicking and opening the Properties panel. Be sure to click the Update button
or check the Auto Update box or you wont see the change.

Introduction to InfraWorks 360 for Civil

Trees and other vegetation are a great addition to your model to add detail and bring it to life.
There are two commands associated with trees: Row of Trees and Stand of Trees. A row is
linear, like a tree line between two properties while a stand is a closed shape, like a wooded
area next to a building.

You can edit individual trees by clicking one of them and you can edit the entire stand or row by
double-clicking one of the trees.

City Furniture
You can add even more detail to your model using City Furniture. InfraWorks 360 comes with
an extensive library of 3D models but you can also create your own City Furniture styles or
simply attach your own models as data sources.


Introduction to InfraWorks 360 for Civil

Pipelines & Pipe Connectors

If you want to represent underground infrastructure in your model, you can do that too using
pipelines and pipe connectors. The best approach is to first modify a pipeline style so that it has
a negative value assigned for Height Offset (the default styles all have this set to 0). Then
create your pipe connectors and finish up by drawing pipes from one connector to the next.

Presenting Your Model

Before doing anything to your model to prepare it for presentation, consider using the live model
itself as your presentation tool. As youve seen, InfraWorks is easy to navigate and its easy to
make changes. With the live model at hand, youll be ready for just about any question and in
many cases you can even try suggested changes on the fly.
If you want something more polished or perhaps you need to share your model with someone
who does not have access to the InfraWorks 360 software, there are a few options you can

Create Snapshot
Create Snapshot is a great, quick tool to basically grab a screen capture of your model
without the user interface.


Introduction to InfraWorks 360 for Civil

Render Model
Render Model is a little more sophisticated than Create Snapshot and gives you more
control over the output You can adjust exposure settings as well as date & time and
some others. The command executes a sequences of passes and you simply stop the
process when the quality is acceptable.

Storyboards allow you to create an animation that moves your view perspective
smoothly through the model (as in a flyover or drive-through). The functionality is
designed to be easy to use and the simplest way to create your first storyboard is to use

Introduction to InfraWorks 360 for Civil

a camera path animation. To do this, you open the Storyboards panel and add a
camera path animation.

Then zoom to a few key spots in the model and add a key frame for each one.

Then adjust the speed of the key frames to control how quickly you transition from one to
the other. After a bit of practice, youll get a feel for how to space out your key frames
and the amount of editing you need to do will be minimal. Once your storyboard is
configured, you can play it from within the model or export it to a video


Introduction to InfraWorks 360 for Civil

You can literally go from nothing to a flyover or drive-through video in 10 minutes or less.
If you want to spend more time making your storyboard more sophisticated by including
titles, captions, and more complex camera movements, you can do that too.

It truly is amazing what you can do in a relatively short time with InfraWorks 360. In less than an
hour, you could start with nothing, build existing conditions, and then add basic elements to
model your design ideas and intent. Of course if you want to spend more time adding detail,
exploring multiple proposals, finding and importing more data sources, etc., you certainly can
and it will only make your model better. Oh, and dont forget that everything you do is in
stunning 3D and is ready to walk out the door with and head off to a customer meeting. If you
want to take something more polished than the live model, you can do that too using the
presentation tools that are available.
The next time you need to share your design ideas with an audience, use InfraWorks 360
instead of a CAD-generated exhibit, 2D print, or some other static 2D presentation. Youll get
your ideas across more efficiently and more impressively with a 3D InfraWorks model.