Data Integration: Civil 3D

LiDAR Scanning


Point clouds are a crucial part of transportation planning projects, capturing 3D data points to represent the surface of an object or environment. offers affordable mobile mapping LiDAR systems for capturing point cloud data, while Autodesk Recap and Civil 3D are powerful tools for processing and working with the data. This blog post will guide you through the process of importing a point cloud from Recap into Civil 3D and using it to streamline transportation planning projects.

Step 1: Collecting Classified Point Cloud Data

Whether your team is working on a highly complex highway interchange project or a simple pedestrian crossing redesign, it's important to collect accurate and classified point cloud data using a mobile mapping LiDAR system, such as the one offered by's mobile mapping system uses advanced LiDAR sensors and computer vision algorithms to accurately capture and classify objects in the real world. The system generates 3D point cloud data in real-time and stores it securely on the cloud, making it accessible for download via the web platform.

By using's system, you can be sure that you are starting with high-quality, accurate, and classified point cloud data, which will allow you to get the most out of your data preparation and analysis workflows.

Step 2: Preparing Point Cloud Data in Recap

Before importing point cloud data into Civil 3D, it's essential to prepare it in Recap. This includes cleaning and organizing the data to remove duplicates, noise, and any extraneous information. Once the point cloud is ready, export it in a compatible format such as .rcp, .rcs, or .las.

Step 3: Importing Point Cloud into Civil 3D

Create a new project in Civil 3D and use the "Insert Point Cloud" command to add the point cloud data. Then, align the point cloud to the project's coordinate system and adjust it to fit, if necessary, using the "Point Cloud Settings" command.

Step 4: Using the Point Cloud as a Guide for Drawings and Linework

Establish the coordinate system of the point cloud and use it to create reference planes and alignments in Civil 3D. Using these reference planes and alignments, trace over the point cloud data to create accurate linework. Tools such as the Survey Point Creation tool, Line and Curve Creation tool, and Surface Creation tool can be used to create linework that follows the contours and elevations of the point cloud.

Step 5: Measuring Elevations and Grades of Linework

Once the elevations of the point cloud have been adjusted to match the project requirements, use the "Profile" and "Section" tools in Civil 3D to create profiles and cross-sections based on the point cloud elevations. Calculate grades using the "Profile" tool and create profiles and cross-sections based on the linework grades.

Step 5: Creating Layouts and Drawings

Using the linework created in the previous step as a foundation, create layouts and drawings in Civil 3D. These can include plans, elevations, cross-sections, and details, providing a comprehensive overview of the transportation planning project.

Benefits of Using and Civil 3D for Transportation Planning Projects

Using Civil 3D for transportation planning projects offers significant time and cost savings compared to conventional, manual, boots on the ground surveys. Real-world examples of this include the construction of highways, bridges, and tunnels, where accurate and up-to-date data is essential to ensure the success of the project. With Civil 3D, transportation planners can quickly and easily process point cloud data, create accurate drawings and linework, and create comprehensive layouts and plans for their projects, saving time and resources in the process.

In conclusion, using Civil 3D for transportation planning projects is a valuable tool for analyzing and producing comprehensive data. With its powerful features and capabilities, Civil 3D can help transportation planners achieve their goals more efficiently and effectively, making it an essential tool for modern transportation planning projects.