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Tamsin Slatter

Vectorworks, Inc Employee
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Posts posted by Tamsin Slatter

  1. Morning all.

    I have had a chat with our engineer and done some more testing myself.


    For the British National Grid, if you align the User Origin, with the Easting and Northing Origin within the Geographic Coordinate System (EPSG code 27700 - the default in the UK templates), CAD drawing within that coordinate system will have the correct X and Y coordinates on export to DWG. So, if you are sending stuff back to someone who has no concept of GIS systems and their software does not use it, this will be fine.


    The issue currently, within SP1, is that there is not easy way to align the User Origin with the Geographic Coordinate System, because you can't see it and there is nothing to snap to. But there is a way to do it (details below). Even better though, from SP2, there WILL be a way to do this within the Tools > Origin > User Origin command (thank you engineering team!)


    Here's how to do this in SP1:

    1. Open a UK template - this will already have the default EPSG 27700 code to set the geographic coordinate system to British National Grid.
    2. Set the Document Units to Meters, with an appropriate precision.
    3. Import your DWG using the Document Contains Georeferenced Geometry option on the import dialog. This will import the DWG into the geographic coordinate system. Also import any Shapefiles if you are using those.
    4. Use the Geolocate tool to move the INTERNAL origin close to your geometry (just click on the drawing). This will not change any coordinates with in the Easting and Northing coordinates - it simply ensures that the geometry is close to the internal origin and avoids the traditional problems with any CAD system of placing a huge calculation burden on the system with every move of the mouse.
    5. At this point, the User Coordinate System (User Origin) and the rulers will not show anything relevant. Don't panic!
    6. Choose Tools > Origin > User Origin and choose the option to set it by next click. Click on the Internal Origin, to align it with the Internal Origin. (Again, don't panic - this is temporary!)
    7. Use the Stake tool and place a Stake on the Internal Origin (and User Origin). Set it to display Coordinate Point (E,N) in Meters with full precision.
    8. Make a note of the E and N numbers from the Stake (screenshot, write it down, or ungroup it to get the text - whichever method you prefer).
    9. Now change the X and Y coordinates of the Stake to match the E and N, but with a negative. For example: If E is 10000 and N is 5000, set X to -10000 and Y to -5000. This will move the stake to the origin of the Geographic Coordinate System, and give you a valuable snap point.
    10. The Stake should still be selected, so click Fit to Objects to find it.
    11. Now run Tools > Origin > Internal Origin again and choose again the option to set it by next click.
    12. Click on the Insertion point of the Stake. The User Origin is now aligned with the Geographic Coordinate System. The rulers will show relevant values.

    Using the above method, I was then able to draw new stuff over my DWG, and then export the drawing back to DWG. I then imported it into a blank file WITHOUT using the Document Contains Georeferenced Geometry option, and all was good. The coordinates of the site matched, and the size and position of my new stuff also matched.


    I do hope this helps clear up confusion and doesn't add to it!

    • Like 2
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  2. Yes - that's my understanding too. They won't match while you are working in a Georeferenced file, but when you export back to DWG, the E and N should just unwrap to boring old X and Y. I'm just testing a couple of things... Hold that thought. 

    (We are all going to need a large glass of wine/whisky tonight!)


  3. 3 minutes ago, lisagravy said:

    Thanks @RussU - much appreciated.


    Also thanks @Tamsin Slatter - I have tested exporting the georeferenced file to DWG and reimporting in a non-georeferenced file, and it doesn't maintain X, Y co-ordinates unfortunately.


    I think the reason is that if you geo-locate, and effectively move the user and internal origin to the project location, the export retains the X, Y position relative to this origin point. If you didn't geolocate it might retain the X, Y co-ordinates, but then we would obviously have issues with functionality of the file? The only way I can get it to work is by geo-locating, but then moving the user origin back to the equivalent of British Grid 0,0. Then the X, Y in the file looks to be representative of the E, N values... and exports and imports again ok.


    But I don't want to start doing this if there are issues with it I can't see... 🙈 

    I am checking this out for you Lisa... I will let you know as soon as I get the answer. 😀

    • Like 1

  4. Hi Lisa


    So, that's correct - and actually answers your other question too.

    If you import the DWG into the standard X and Y coordinates with no georeferencing, and make a note of the coordinates of a known point, then repeat the test with a georeferenced file, then the coordinates of that point SHOULD match in X and Y and E and N. In the georeferenced version of that import, the X and Y coordinates in the original file have been projected into the georeferenced version of the coordinate system. The benefit of this is that you can combine GIS data (such as Shapefiles) with traditional X and Y CAD data.

    Before Vectorworks 2020 - it was very difficult to combine the two. Because you could not import the DWG into the Georeferenced coordinate system.


    So, your X and Y file should definitely match the E and N file.

    However, once you are working in a georeferenced file, my point is that you should use the E and N only, as these will be the accurate numbers. The X and Y in such a file is no longer relevant.


    It is my belief that should you then export these E and N coordinates back to DWG, they will give accurate X and Y for the recipient, even if they have no knowledge of or GIS capability - but I do want my genius colleague who developed all this to confirm that.

    Hope that makes sense!

    • Like 1

  5. 6 minutes ago, bozho said:

    Thanks for filing this request! Sounds like a good idea, and not just for the site model.


    Here are some more details about it:

    The Site model is TIN-based which means that we currently model only the terrain surface. What the "3D Mesh" with "skirt" option does is to create a mesh which encloses a volume but at the end it is still a mesh and that is why when using Clip Cube or Clop Cube Viewport, it appears hollow (same is the behavior when Clip Cube works on any meshes which enclose volumes - to see it just ungroup the site model from the test file). It seems that in order to change this behavior we need changes in the Clip Cube functionality so it interprets enclosed meshes as "solids"?

    Thanks for the explanation. Very helpful, and yes, it would be great if it were possible to enhance the Clip Cube in this way.

    • Like 1

  6. 1 minute ago, lisagravy said:

    Thanks @Tamsin Slatter - I guess.... (possibly incorrectly?!) that if I move the User Origin back to British Grid origin 0,0 after geolocating my file - by firstly defining it's current Easting and Northing position via GIS stake, and then moving it to the negative X and negative Y values of this - this sets my X and Y values to be the same as the eastings and northings? And then I could use the X Y positions of the GIS stake to move? 


    The problem with that is that X and Y will never completely match Easting and Northing when the geographic coordinate system is active. You can use the Great Circle tool to look at the difference. For example, draw a 50m length line with the Great Circle and then it will give you the true length of that line in Easting and Northing. They will be slightly different. So, even if the User Origin is aligned to the origin of the British National Grid (off the Scily Isles), there will still be differences between X and Easting and Y and Northing.

    • Like 2

  7. 27 minutes ago, lisagravy said:

    @bgoff Thanks @bgoff  - I've already set my file to use OSGB 36 and the origin is set, the file is accurately positioned and georeferenced.


    My question is about whether or not I can position a GIS stake point by typing in the co-ordinate, or if point and click to position is the only method? 

    Hi again Lisa

    Yeah - Bryan and I talked and discussed your requirement in a bit of detail.

    If you are using Long and Lat within your geographic coordinate system, then the answer is YES! You can use the Set Geolocation button on the Object Info palette, with the stake selected (You can also do this with the Modify > Move > Move Geographic menu option). However, if you want to work in Easting and Northing, in Meters (as I know you do!), then it doesn't offer that option. I am going to check with the developer whether the X and Y coordinates would help, but given that X and Y generally remains true to the original equirectangular non-georeferenced coordinate system, I believe the answer will be no. But I will confirm. 


    But I think being able to move to a specific Easting and Northing in meters would be a really nice enhancement.


    Have not forgotten your other question which came through on email - and I'm getting you a definitive answer!

    • Like 1

  8. Hi Andy


    1. No, not normal to have to Force Select, but if your modifiers are on the same layer as your site model, the cursor can have a hard time deciding what it is that you want to select. For that reason, I always put my modifiers on different design layers and ensure that my model is set to be updated by either visible layers only, or a set of specific layers (in site model settings).

    2. Yes - try Pad with Retaining Edge. Then use Send to Surface to send the retaining edge to the existing surface.

    3. Nice idea.

    • Like 2

  9. Hi Kevin

    Thank you for your feedback. I can see that we have a support case open regarding the slowness problems you are experiencing, so the team will continue to work with you through that channel to attempt to resolve that.

    Meanwhile, you asked for a full list of features, which you can find here:

    New Features Listed in Help System

    2020 Additional Features


    I did want to touch on some of the points you raise in the meantime:

    • GIS Improvements. You don't need to invest in ArcGIS to make use of the services offered with this tool. It enables the easy combination of CAD and GIS data within the same geographic coordinate system.
    • List Browser Direct Editing - no, there is no way to turn this off.
    • Widget Groups - This should not affect your interaction with the software at all. The Widget groups should be open by default, and if you don't close them, everything will still be available to you without extra clicks. You mention that you have been forced to use a hierarchical display for classes since 2019. This is something that you can control within Vectorworks Preferences. Open the Session tab and uncheck Display classes in pop-up menus hierarchically. 

    The team will continue to work with you regarding the slowness you are experiencing.

    • Like 3

  10. I have just returned your file to you Kevin. 

    The 3D Polygon, when placed in the Site-DTM-Modifier class (just as it is, no conversion to any other kind of object necessary), does modify your site.

    But, the other problem I saw was that the site model was set to be modified only by the same layer as the site model. Your 3D Poly was on a different layer. So I changed the setting in the site model to 'Visible Layers Only". I also change the 3D Display to Proposed, and all was good.

  11. Good evening. I am sorry to hear of the frustration. It sounds like maybe the laptop does not have a dedicated graphics card, with dedicated graphics memory, which is essential for the software to run. 

    You can see the system requirements to run Vectorworks 2019 here:



    If the computer DOES have the required graphics card, it may be that the driver for the card needs to be updated, or have its configuration set so that it is always on when Vectorworks is running. You can find more information about graphics drivers here:

    And here:


    You may be able to improve performance by reducing the software's dependence on the graphics card, as follows:

    Tools > Options > Vectorworks Preferences.

    Click the Display tab.

    Change Navigation Graphics to Good Performance and Compatibility, or even Best Compatibility. This will reduce the smoothness of zooms, but may reduce the crashing.


    Good luck!

  12. 6 minutes ago, Kaare Baekgaard said:

    I have been working with VW 2020 for some time, and it has been a pleasant surprise.


    Modelling 3D objects has become a lot faster.


    I applaud the decision to fix errors and make basic features better.


    Thanks for the good work


    Thanks for the positive feedback. Our engineering team work extremely hard and it's nice to hear such good news.

  13. Hi Kevin

    The wish to rotate the texture on a texture bed is already filed. It is something I have done myself, so no need to re-register that one.

    As a workaround, perhaps edit a copy of the texture itself and within its settings, change the rotation? If the texture is image-based, you can edit the image shader and at least rotate it through 90º chunks (no finer tuning I'm afraid). I think the complexity here is that you are in effect trying to map a texture onto a complex mesh. But anyway, the wish is known. I can't guarantee any timescales, or even if this is possible, as I am not an engineer.


    Regarding the Site-DTM-Modifier issue, I'm afraid we are on different time-zones, so it would probably be easier for you to share your file, and I'll take a look and post back. If you don't want to share with the public forum, please feel free to share a link in a private message and I'll take a look tomorrow. If you could save the file with the correct layers active and the relevant 3D poly selected, that would save me time.



    • Like 1

  14. 9 hours ago, Kevin K said:

    Oh, and by the way.....pertaining to landmark and site modeling, did you ever notice

    that when using the clip cube tool cutting through a solid mesh of the site model, that it appears hollow??

    This alone is the reason I did not upgrade to VW 2020. I had brought this more than irksome issue 

    up to tech support many times over the years, and it has still never been addressed.

    So......as a very longtime user.....I am boycotting  for the time being, sad to say.


    Yes, this is the case with the Clip Cube. I just tested it, and it displays hollow even in a viewport. I am more than happy to raise this with our engineering team and see if it is something that can be changed, via an enhancement request.


    Of course, in a section viewport, even one created with the clip cube, it's possible to display the section plane with graphics from a selected class, but I assume you want to show in a 3D view.

    • Like 3

  15. 6 hours ago, Kevin K said:


    Actually it did not work.  Perhaps I missed something,  I tried it several times, to no avail.

    i wanted it to be a sloped pad object, that correctly reflected the solid surface under the house and inside 

    the foundation walls, as I had shown in the screenshot I had previously attached. Sorry, kinda hard to articulate

    with words.


    I'm sorry to hear it didn't work, but I am guessing something was wrong in the workflow, as I have used and taught this method many, many times. For success, you must use the class that is generated by the system - not create it yourself. The presence of any other site modifier in the file will automatically create the class - so if you have no other modifiers, create a Grade Limit, and you'll see the class created. Use this class for your 3D Polygon and it will become a modifier.

    If you still have problems, please post a link to your file, and I'll take a look as soon as I get a chance. 

    • Like 1


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