Civil 3D 2010 – HAPPY (google) EARTH DAY!

OK so it was really yesterday. What did YOU do to help our environment? Oprah had a segment on about the amount of trash that is ending up in our oceans – plastic, cans, refrigerators. We have GOT to be better stewards of our land or our sons, daughters, grandchildren will not have a fighting chance.

But enough about politics. I was playing around with the new Google Earth and decided to give a quick tour of its capabilities and Civil 3D 2010.
The latest Google Earth (as of this writing) is v5.0.11337.1968 and contains some pretty impressive things. You now have ocean view -you can take a tour underwater of the oceans. You can navigate to space and take a look at some of our neighboring planets – up close! You can download it here.
So what is and what isn’t Google Earth? It is a good resource for getting mapping information. It isn’t (or shouldn’t) be used for design purposes as the contour information is basically USGS – 20′ minor and 100′ majors. And when you bring them into Civil 3D, they interpolate those in-between contours. It is good for getting a feel for the land for preliminary design work, drainage area mapping. Is isn’t up to date. The view below is where I live! Note the lack of houses in that big field. And no, I don’t camp out! 🙂
I have the right amount of area shown on my image that I want to import into Civil 3D. So I simply minimize Google Earth and open up Civil 3D 2010. 
But before we get too involved here,let do some settings via the Settings. Google Earth is set by default to the Lat/Lon WGS84 projection. most of our work (in the States) is done via a State Plane. So Civil 3D has the ‘smarts’ to re project from their WGS84 into a projection set by us. Since I reside in South Central Pennsylvania area, my State plane is NAD83 Pennsylvania State Planes, South zone, US Foot or PA83-SF for the shortcut name. Once I set this information, any new data drawn, imported will be on this projection.
From the Insert tab and Import panel on the ribbon, I click on the  Google Earth icon which has a fly-out. Our options are:
  • Google Earth Image – This will import ONLY the image
  • Google Earth Surface – This will import ONLY the surface and whatever your default surface style is set to. Out of the box, it is set to Contours 2′ and 10′ (Background).
  • Google Earth Image and Surface – This will (you guessed it) import both the image and surface into your drawing.
  • Google Earth Mesh – This command seems to be broken at present. A Service Request has been filed (you DO fill those out when you find something not quite right, do you???) Edit: Thanks to Bill Frederick of Synergis Technologies, the command is wrong in the CUI. If you type IMPORTGEMESH it works like a charm, the funny thing is the correct command is on the tooltip when you hover over it! If you edit the CUI and take out the AECC, the command works fine – I can blog later on CUI editing 101.
I want the image and surface. So after I select that, Civil 3D 2010 asks me once again to verify that I want the Google Earth projected into my projection. Yes I do.
And there you have it sports fans! An image and surface that is set to my projection. I can change the style of the surface to show anything I want now. I hope this might help you in your future google EARTH DAYS.

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