Trimble Business Center

Tip #128: Create a Surface Elevation Grid

By Erin Johnson posted 10-23-2020 07:33


Good morning TBC’ers! Have you ever wanted to extract grid points from a scanned road along an alignment so the points can be staked out later on? Well, today I will be demonstrating the Create a Surface Elevation Grid command. The Create a Surface Elevation Grid command simply creates a grid that labels the elevation of a surface; the labels can be generated along an alignment. Surface elevation grids can be used in conjunction with contour lines to highlight changes in terrain.


To utilize the Create a Surface Elevation Grid command, follow these steps:


1. Make sure you have created a surface from your road scan, along with an alignment to represent the centerline of the road, prior to opening the Create a Surface Elevation Grid command: 


2. To associate the alignment to the surface, open the Properties Pane of your surface. In the Horizontal alignment box, select your road alignment from the list:


3. Navigate to the Surfaces Ribbon, and select Elevation Grid under Create:


4. Select the surface on which the grid will be based in the Surface list:


5. Select the layer on which you want the grid to reside in the Layer box, or select <<New Layer>> to create a new layer for the grid:


6. Select a style that controls for the text font, font style, justification, and size for the grid annotations in the Text style box, or select <<New style>> to define a new text style:


7. In the Grid spacing box, type a value for the uniform interval at which the grid lines or tick marks for the measurements will be spaced:


Note: The intervals of the grid spacing will be in the same units that your project units are set to in Project Settings.


8. Select an option for how the location of each measurement will be denoted in the Grid style box:


9. Select the number of decimals to use in the measurement in the Decimal precision list:


In this demonstration, I have set the number of decimals to be displayed to 0.1. 


10. Click OK:


The elevation grid is created along the alignment with a spacing of 2.5 meters. The elevation grid appears in graphic views and the Project Explorer


Here is my elevation grid with the Grid style set to ticks:


Additional properties, such as the grid’s insertion point, rotation, colors, and grid spacing can be set in the Properties pane. To adjust the grid spacing along the alignment, select the elevation grid to open its properties, then enter in a value in the Grid spacing (along alignment) box. For this demonstration, I entered in a value of 10 meters:


The grid spacing along the alignment is then updated in the graphical view to 10 meters:


I hope this tip comes in handy next time you are working with surfaces and alignments in TBC!