Importing Topographical Information
There are a number of ways you can import topo information into a PowerCADD drawing.

Paolo Rossi's Topography Tools has the ability to import topo survey data in .xyz files. These are standard ASCII text files with five columns of data in CSV (comma separated value) files.

Import and Export ASCII Survey Coordinates
We have a similar capability in TopoTools that uses the same files.

Import and Export ASCII Survey Coordinates to PowerCADD Import and Export menus to handle the import and export of total station coordinates. These handle topo point objects in TopoTools and Topography Tools and use the U.S. standard NEZ and European standard XYZ format.

The files are comma-separated-value (CSV) text files with five fields for item number, X, Y, Z and description. Item number and description are optional, but there must still be five fields, even if these two are empty. As an example of the contents of the file:

1,189.509142,315.943628,100.000000,BENCH MARK
2,208.914727,330.469605,98.855000,S RWSTAKE
3,189.067363,319.880290,100.997000,n RWSTAKE

To Import ASCII Survey Coordinates:

Open the file and confirm that is has five comma-separated values as shown above.

Add a .txt file extension to the file if it does not already have this file extension.

Set up the coordinates of the current drawing to the desired coordinates for the survey data, which is typically decimal feet or decimal meters. The X, Y and Z coordinates imported will be interpreted as these units, the same as if you typed the coordinates in the Edit Window.

Set the font and font size for the Topo Point tool. These will be used in creating the topo point objects, so if you want the text size to be small, say three points, then you will want to set the text attributes for the Topo Point tool before you do the import.

Set the Topo Point tool to the marker style you want used in the import, as well as the choice for displaying Z or XYZ and the number of lines of text these are displayed on.

From the PowerCADD File menu, choose Import, and then select ASCII Survey Coordinates. Click the Options button and choose whether the data is in the U.S. standard NEZ (which is really Y, X, Z) or European standard XYZ format. Choose if you want to place the topo point objects of TopoTools (WildTools) or Topography Tools (Paolo Rossi). Paolo's objects offer more options for editing after the objects are placed, but you will need Topography Tools -- highly recommended -- for that. All of the tools in TopoTools work with Paolo's topo point objects, and they are effectively the same as far as TopoTools is concerned.

To help you check things, the first ten points are traced with an orange polygon with a round arrow at the start of the polygon.

If you have Topography Tools, please continue to use the included Import XYZ file capability, which is similar to this and which offers more options.

At this time. Import ASCII Survey Coordinates is a work-in-progress and may need more work in dealing with objects that will not fit on the page and setting a global origin to match the imported points.

Inport GPX and Import KML
There are now two import commands to handle GPX and KML files. These show up in the menu in the Import window as "Import GPX - WildTools" and "Import KML - WildTools" and are named this way so you can identify the commands and use the right ones. (Paolo Rossi also has a similar importer for GPX in Topography Tools that handles Z heights.)

GPX and KML files are the two most commonly used file formats for GPS coordinates, and they are produced by many iPhone apps such as GPS Kit, EveryTrail Pro and myTracks. There is also a Mac app for myTracks in the Mac App store. It's an inexpensive program, and you can bring any of these types of files into the program.

These two commands open the files and create a polygon that is placed in the drawing. If the polygon is too big to fit on the drawing, then a new layer is created with a custom scale that is sufficient to handle the objects, which can be very large. In this case because of the change in scale, the polygon is red to alert you to the problem. If the polygon fits on the drawing, then it will be in the Normal line style of Style Tools.

There is a minor problem that these importers will not work if you have an 16-bit unicode character in the file name or anywhere in the file path. If the importers will not open the files, look to see if you have such a character anywhere in the file chain and eliminate it. Or just move the file to the root directory of the computer.

These file formats include the Z height. While these two import functions read the Z heights from the files, they do not yet place objects in the drawing with the Z height. This can be done, but it creates a messy display with all the topo point objects, and it's questionable whether this is of any use.

The KML file will handle multi-geometry tracks, but these are not yet handled by Import KML.


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