Share Autodesk Civil 3D surfaces with Revit via Autodesk Docs

In previous blog posts I have looked at a couple of ways of using Civil 3D surfaces in Revit projects, most of these processes do not use a dynamic link between the Civil 3D TIN surface and Revit. A couple of years ago a new workflow was made available by Autodesk to use BIM360 to host a Civil 3D surface. The main issue with this workflow was that most did not have access to BIM360.

With the inclusion of Autodesk Docs within the AEC Collection, many of you will now find that this workflow is a realistic proposition, especially when you need to ensure coordination between groundworks and structural elements such as foundations.

Let’s first take a look at the software requirements to use this workflow. You will need the following installed on both the Revit and Civil 3D PCs:

  • Autodesk Desktop Connector.

You will also need access to Autodesk Docs, of course, if you are collaborating within your own companies then you can create a new Autodesk Docs project just for this purpose. The desktop connector simply connects integrates Autodesk Docs into your standard windows explorer which makes it very simple to navigate and use. In the below image you can see my Autodesk Docs folder below. The folders will appear as the image shown on the right. These are the folders within Autodesk Docs.

Autodesk Civil 3D Process

In your Civil 3D model, mark the location of the Revit project base point with a circle. It is also useful to place a label at the origin, so you have a physical readout of the coordinates. On the Annotate Ribbon click the Add Labels tool.

In the Add Labels dialog, configure the feature as Surface, the label type as spot elevation and ensure that you are displaying the elevation and coordinates as shown below.

Your label should look similar to the image shown below.

When you have a civil 3D model with one or more surfaces, you can then publish this to your Autodesk Docs project. On the Collaborate ribbon, select the Publish Surfaces command.

You will then see the Publish Surfaces dialog. The easiest thing to do here is use the Pick from drawing button on the bottom left of the dialog.

You then need to specify the output file. This will allow you to select the relevant project and folder within Autodesk Docs.

You will then see the following dialog box. This is just ensuring that the correct surface style is in use. Click the ‘Publish the surface with the updated style’ option.

Your surfaces are now being published to Autodesk Docs.

Autodesk Docs

You can view the progress of your upload in Autodesk Docs. The file will take a few minutes to upload and process depending on the number of surfaces published and the size. The image below shows that the Civil 3D shared surface is still processing. You will need to wait until the processing is complete before using this surface in Revit.

Autodesk Revit

While the file is uploading to Autodesk Docs you can begin to prepare the Revit model. The first thing to get setup is the coordinate system. Remember that the coordinates and units in Civil 3D are likely to be in meters, your Revit model is probably in mm (assuming you are from the UK). The units are automatically resolved when you link a Civil 3D surface. However, you need to ensure that your project base point has the coordinates set in mm.

Also ensure that the topography is visible and  the view range is set to enable you to view the topography.

You are then ready to link the topography from Civil 3D. On the Insert ribbon, click the Link Topography tool as shown below.

In the Link Topography dialog, browse to the relevant folder, you will then see the published Civil 3D surfaces if the upload has finished processing.

Once the surface is linked you will have a Revit topography element. You can control the materials and other aspects in the usual way. The manage links dialog will allow the reloading or removing of the surface.

In summary, the inclusion of Autodesk Docs in the AEC Collection brings this functionality to most users of Revit and really helps when you are required to have surfaces within the Revit model.

Hope this helps,


4 thoughts on “Share Autodesk Civil 3D surfaces with Revit via Autodesk Docs

    1. Not with BIM360 but it is possible using Dynamo. I am sure that other workflows will be available now that Autodesk have acquired microdrainage.

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