Shared Coordinates Between Platforms

Trouble with your coordinates in other platforms? No worries—a solution has been provided.

In March, I caught a wonderful webcast on coordinate sharing between Civil 3D, Revit, Navisworks, and InfraWorks. So, I thought I’d sum up what I learned and share it with you, my readers, who may not have caught that webcast and who may still be struggling with getting projects to line up in the correct coordinate system.

Getting Started

First off, in order to start coordinate sharing with Revit, be sure to set your drawing settings in Civil 3D to the correct coordinate system. Then, head to your Autodesk account. Once you log in, select Product Enhancements.



Buried in Product Enhancements are the Productivity Tools for Civil 3D 2017. Now, realize that this is year-specific, so if you are using 2016, look for the same file for 2016. Once you have found the correct Productivity Tools, select the Global-Autodesk Shared Reference Point Installer for Civil 3D, or for Revit if you have Revit on your machine. This is the tool you need to install in both Civil 3D and Revit. So, if you’re the Civil user, install the Civil 3D one, and if you’re the Revit user, then install the Revit one.

Once you both have installed the Shared Reference Point Installer, then you can create an XML of the shared points and send that XML to the Revit user. The Revit user can then use that XML to orient their building to your coordinate points. And then…



The coordinate location issue is resolved. It’s that simple, really.

Okay, to be thorough, there are a few things to note:

In Revit:

First, the orientation of the Revit model is really important. Make sure the points you select in Civil for the structure are clearly communicated to the Revit user. They must know if the points are representative of the NW, NE, SW, or SE corner of the building. Also, they must know the order in which the points were selected, such as NW then SE, or SW then NW. That way, the Revit designer will know how to apply the points you send them to their project structure. Their structural model may be 180 degrees in rotation from how a Civil user places it in the model.

In Civil 3D:

Once you install the Shared Reference Point installer in Civil 3D, you’ll find the command in the Toolspace > Toolbox > Shared Reference. Once you execute it, you’ll need to set the Origin point (or first point) along the building sketch you were given, and then set the second point. Remember exactly where these two points are (NW, NE, etc.) and how you chose them. That information needs to be relayed to the Revit user. Also, the building polyline must be elevated to your final surface elevations, as that information will also be translated in the XML file and imported into Revit.

TIP: If you see 0.00 for the elevation in the dialog before saving the XML, back out of the command, elevate the polyline, and restart the command.

Once you have the XML, send it to your Revit designer. Again, make sure you tell them where Points 1 and 2 are exactly, and let them know the elevation that was set.

Back in Revit:

Now in Revit, once the Shared Reference Point installer is installed, you’ll find the command on the Add-ins tab. Click the Import Shared Reference Point command. Pick Points 1 and then 2 that were told to you by the Civil designer. Then select the XML file that was also sent to you from the Civil designer and confirm. This will set the coordinates of your project to match the exact coordinates and orientation of the Civil site that the building or structure is placed on.

site1-1From here you could double check this by exporting a 2D DWG file and send it back to the Civil designer. Notice I didn’t say 3D. Why? Because 3D can be a huge DWG file once it’s created, as compared to a flat 2D file. When you export the DWG, be sure to check the settings and set the Units to Coordinate System Shared and the Solids to ACIS solids. Then, send the 2D DWG back to the Civil designer.

Back in Civil 3D:

Now that you have a file to check from Revit, xref it in and see if it lands right on top of the structure that you already have in the file. It should. If it does not, then someone didn’t send the right information, or someone didn’t insert the file as they were told.

And on to Other Places:

Now that the file is correctly oriented, to import this into InfraWorks, import the Revit 3D drawing. In the Configure Data Sources dialog, set the Coordinate System to the drawing coordinate system and not the XY-M or XY-??. That is a preliminarily set. Then on the 3D tab, Preview the file in 3D to make sure it’ll come in correctly. Finally, click Close & Refresh.


Next import the Civil 3D file into InfraWorks. Make sure Civil 3D is closed when you do this, otherwise it will not import. Once it is imported, simply refresh the drawing.

For Navisworks, simply import the Revit file and the Civil 3D drawing files. Again, they should land right on top of each other, providing everyone did their job correctly.

Hopefully, this little add-on command for coordinate sharing will help out everyone get their coordinate systems to match and line up. As for me, I’m really excited to try this out

This article originally appeared in The Blast. To get articles like this delivered to your inbox each month, sign up now.


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