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How To Export A Model With Terrain From Revit?

This article explains how users can bring CAD models with Terrain or Topography into SimScale from Revit.



For city massing models with relatively flat terrains, users can decide if the topography is relevant for analysis. To export just the buildings from Revit, follow the article about “How to export a model from Revit to SimScale?”

In case of an uneven topography, performing an wind anlaysis with the terrain model is preferred. Revit models the topography as surfaces. To know more about Revit Topography, follow the link here – Revit Toposurfaces

Although a direct export from Revit with terrain is not possible, there are some work arounds to do this.

Exporting Models With Terrain From Revit

A possible workaround for exporting topographies is to export them as DXF CAD format. To export the entire project as a DXF file (along with buildings), please make them active in the current viewer. Then export it to a DXF file from File —>Export —> CAD Formats —> DXF.

In the following dialog box, select “<current view/ sheet only> option for export and press Next, thereby saving the model to a desired location.

dxf export from revit
Terrain export from Revit

Working with DXF files

To import this model with terrain into SimScale, an STL file should be created out of the DXF. In this article, this is explained using Rhino.

To open the DXF file in Rhino, select Open —> select the DXF file from Revit —> open.

opening dxf file in rhino
Opening DXF file in Rhino

Select the “Convert wide polylines to surfaces” option and set the Mesh to Automatic at the import.


While importing the dxf file into Rhino, please make sure that the units are appropriate. For example, if the model is exported in meters from Revit, then select Meters while importing into Rhino. This might affect the topography file if set wrongly.

rhino dxf import options
Rhino import options

With Rhino, you can simply export the DXF file as an STL as shown in the image below.

To know how to upload an STL file into SimScale, click here.

To find out how to extend a terrain using Rhino click here.

Last updated: January 21st, 2021

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