Surface. Is it true that all start from the ground?

With this short article, we want to explain what is surface, how you can create it, can you edit it after creating it, and why is important to have the right survey data for creating a surface?

Let’s start from the beginning, it is true that all start from a surface (ground or topography of terrain) if you are designing new power lines. But if you design or redesign an existing power line it is not necessary to have a surface.

Example of surface created in Power Path
What is surface?

A surface in Power Path is an entity TIN surface (triangulated irregular network) that can be created from different input survey data. For each of created surfaces user has full control through the Properties panel where are options and/or previews for General overview, 3D Visualization, Data overview, TIN Visibility, TIN Contours and TIN Statistics.

Surface properties
How to create a surface?

The surface can be created From Files (external data files), from drawing data (Points/Polylines), by Placing Points, from 3D CAD Faces, from Civil 3D Surface.

Options for creating surface

- Creating a surface from Files is possible from .txt or .csv files. Values must be separated by either '',''. The file should only contain X, Y and Z coordinates. And decimal values must be separated by ''.''.

- Creating a surface from drawing data is possible from CAD entities Points and Polylines (2D or 3D entities).

- Creating a surface by Placing Points is an interactive method when the user manually defines the position and elevation of each point.

- Creating a surface from 3D Faces is creating TIN model from CAD entities 3D Face.

- Creating a surface from 3D Civil Surface is creating a surface from Autodesk Civil 3D entity Civil Surface.

How to edit a surface?

Each surface can be edited (adding a new element/entity, defining boundaries, assigning image, creating new topography, merging 2 or more surfaces into one, projecting 2D elements on the surface, etc. ). There are a lot of options for editing surfaces, but let’s show you the most used.

- If the user wants to drape an image on top of the surface, it is possible with the command Assign Image.

- If the user wants to add new entities to the surface (for example edge of roads, or any other line or point elements), it is possible with the command Edit Surface.

- If the user wants to add a new boundary to the surface, it is possible with the command Edit Surface.

- There are also available commands for deforming, merging, smoothing surface, or projecting elements on the surface.

Why is important to have the right survey data for creating a surface?

Overhead lines like other infrastructure projects start from input data recorded by survey engineers or publicly available data. That data needs to be correct (X, Y, Z coordinates of the points which define objects) because each position of the designed poles are also defined with X,Y and Z coordinate that will be used on the site for building or maintaining line, that is a reason why the overhead line engineers need the right input survey data.

If we conclude, the right input data will provide the user the correct position of the designed objects. In the example of overhead lines, the most important are positions (X, Y, Z or elevation) of the poles.

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