Getting Around the Surface Building Problem with GE

In my earlier post today, I pointed out that Google changed the rules and has made it impossible for Civil 3D to build a surface from Google Earth 4.3. I did some digging though, and I found a way to make it happen. Read how and learn the limitations after the jump.

From my digging around, it seems that GE has limited the amount of data that can be accessed to 5000 points. The default in the ImportGESurface and ImportGEData command settings is 100 rows X 100 columns, or 10,000 points. This is why Civil 3D gets stuck around 50%.


To fix this, go into the command settings and change the rows and columns to give you something that will result in 5000 or fewer points. (You know, like the square root of 5000.)


The surface will build. Has the resolution been affected? The only conclusion that I can come to came to me in a dream. You bet it does. Going from 10,000 points to 5,000 points means that our conceptual surface is even more conceptual. While I haven’t been able to find an official proclamation from Google on the subject, I suspect a slice in resolution might be their motivation behind the change. But what do I know.


  1. […] Getting Around the Surface Building Problem with GE […]


    thank you Dana it worked. been having that problem in 2009

  3. George Hatch says:

    Thanks Dana. I ran into this problem when I updated my google earth. And of course was in front of a client when I noticed the issue. This sollution (even if it is not ideal) worked great. Thanks for the solution!

  4. Scott Wagner says:

    Great Fix Dana. The interaction is still a little buggy, but that allowed it to go through.

  5. Michael Partenheimer says:

    Does anyone know if the 5,000 point restriction is the same for GE Pro as for plain GE?

  6. As a GE Pro user, it’s still there. Wish it would go away.

  7. Roland Jurgens says:

    Changing the settings to 70 don’t seem to fix Civil 3D 2009 when using it with Google Earth 5. Any ideas? Thanks

  8. Laura Ford says:

    I am having the same problem as Roland I have even gone to 50 and it still takes forever. I am using Google Earth Pro 5.0 you would figure for 400 a year they would give you somthing to work with. Looking for anything that works.
    Thank You

  9. kate kennedy says:

    Thank you so much. It worked.