Combining Infraworks Models

There has been an increased interest in Infraworks lately, and with an AEC Collection subscription, access to Infraworks is included as an optional software entitlement.

One of the more recent questions I have been getting is how to “add” to a model area after the original has already been generated using the Model Builder.  In this situation, a project site may have been generated in the preliminary stages, and after some initial evaluation it is determined that we need more information about the surrounding areas.  Perhaps the project site is expanding, or we didn’t quite catch everything we needed to give us a good picture of contributing drainage areas around the project site.

Rather than starting over, we can download the additional area we need, then combine the models using data sources in Infraworks.

Combining Models: Workflow & Tips

1.  Start with a Model Builder model of the Project Site as usual

Existing Project Model (to be extended West)

2.  Create a supplemental model covering the extended area of interest

Select the same coordinate system as the original model when creating the second model to supplement the data in the original.  When possible, include some overlapping area to avoid “gaps” in the data.

3.  Combine models in Infraworks

There are two options to consider when combining models in Infraworks.  Since the Infraworks model itself is built from a .SQlite database, that is an optional data source that can be added.  In my testing, adding .SQLite database information from another model has been quite a process due to the reconfiguring of objects.  A second option is to export and import a .IMX file of the supplemental model data.  Although it is a two-step process, it seems to produce the combined model with less work involved and reduced objects to re-configure after import.  Exporting and Importing .IMX file data is the same process I would use to transfer content between Infraworks and Civil 3D.

  • Export a .IMX file from the supplemental model
  • Switch back to the original model and add the .IMX file as a new data source

When importing a .IMX file into Infraworks as a Data Source, the objects are condensed by Type (Roads, Buildings, Water Areas, Surfaces), making it much easier to manage.

.IMX Import Data Sources

By comparison, connecting to the .SQLite data source for the same model that the .IMX file was exported from produces a list of 18 objects to sort and re-configure.

.SQLite Import Data Sources from Same Model

Since our primary objective is to combine models of existing data conditions, exporting and importing the .IMX file for the supplemental model helps to streamline the process.

Once the .IMX data source is added to the original model, the four items appear in the Data Sources panel under their respective Type categories and are already listed as “Configured.”

Infraworks Model with Additional .IMX Data Sources

4.  Refresh and Categorize new Terrain Objects

A refresh of the Data Sources panel will indicate that some of the data is uncategorized.  Clicking through the dialog box will take you to the Surface Layers panel where the surface objects from the IMX file are in an uncategorized Terrain Surfaces group.  Dragging these to the Ground Surface section and turning on their display resolves the issue.