Rhino 5.23 [SketchUp Topography]

“Getting Topography from Google SketchUp”


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  1. Follow SketchUp 4.1a [terrain skp8].
  2. Save your topography as a SketchUp Version 7 .skp file.
  3. Open a new Rhinoceros model and Choose File>Import… and select “SketchUp (*.skp)” from the “Files of type” drop down menu.
  4. Your terrain will appear in Rhinoceros, you will likely need to zoom extents (Type “Zoom” followed by “e”). You may also wish to delete the rectangle that imports with the terrain model, though this is optional.
  5. The existing terrain object is a triangulated mesh (change the viewport to “shaded” to see this surface) rather than a smooth NURBS surface. [premium content]
  6. Now, in the perspective view, follow Rhinoceros 5.20 [contour] to create contours through your surface. Select the x-axis as the “direction perpendicular to contour planes.” For the distance between contours, make a reasonable choice based on the size of the topography/site you are working with. Generally 50′ to 100′ should be sufficient. Before moving on, change the object layer for the new curves.
  7. Repeat the contour command (Rhinoceros 5.20 [contour]) choosing the y-axis as the “direction perpendicular to the contour planes.” Estimate your distance between contours. (If rectangular, use half what you chose in step 7. If square, enter the same number as step 7.) Before moving on, change the new curves to another new layer.
  8. To create a NURBS surface from this polygon mesh, continue and follow Rhinoceros 5.24 [curve networks].

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