CAD Basics

InSite SiteWork is oriented for ease of use.  Importing CAD files is an easy task, because we have stripped the CAD viewer down to it's essential tools, and created easy to follow procedures to assure successful import.

Layers.  The biggest challenge to successfully importing a CAD file is understanding the contents of the CAD file.  Layers In CAD programs are the equivalent of aligned transparent overlays.

Each layer can be displayed and printed individually or in combinations.  A CAD file of a complete project may contain 50 or more layers, with each layer containing specific details for things such as existing grades, proposed grades, building details, etc.  Because of this, CAD files can be quite large.

Elevated Polylines.   Objects in CAD files are drawn in two dimensions.  An optional value, referred to as an elevation or Z value, is normally assigned to features such as spot elevations or contours.  Contours generated from contouring programs are polylines and normally have a Z value automatically assigned.

Convert 2D lines to 3D.  CAD operators hand drawing proposed contours in the CAD environment sometimes do not bother to assign an elevation to each contour.  Instead, they write the elevation as a label.  Contours imported into InSite must have assigned elevation values.  Elevations can be assigned to two dimensional contours using this CAD import tool. 

Almost every CAD file is beneficial.  Keep in mind that you can combine an image (PDF, TIF, JPG, etc.) and CAD import.  So even if all the features are not importable, most files will allow some time savings.  A file suitable for a complete "paperless take-off" needs the following.

  • Site plan drawn to scale in AutoCAD DWG of DXF file.
  • Elevations (Z value) assigned to the Existing and proposed surfaces. IF the elevations are not assigned, the values can be changed in InSite SiteWork.

The good news, is that you don't need to know anything about CAD files to successfully import them into InSite SiteWork. The CAD import module explodes blocks, automatically stitches exploded polylines together, maintains the coordinate system so revised files don't need to be re-aligned, etc.

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