Spot elevations: Recording existing conditions and describing new work

I’m feeling slightly insane because I’m sure other folks have been wondering this but I’ve seen no mention on the forums. You need to record spot elevations if you hope to re-create an existing terrain and understand how you’re changing it from existing. They’re also necessary for creating buildable Construction Documents.

Useful features of a spot elevation tool:

  • Allows differentiation between * existing and proposed
  • Attaches user text to the spot elevation for data like elevation, original XY coords (in case it gets moved), date recorded,…
  • Allows you to set a virtual origin / benchmark that’s below the World Origin so that the landscape can be modeled well below World 0,0,0, avoiding the annoying conflict of 3D objects with 2D curves such as leaders, property lines, setbacks, etc.
  • Deals with the problem of overlapping spot elevations.
  • BONUS but very helpful - associate the spot elevation with a Rhino object such as a terrain, polysurface, Lands wall, etc. so you can place the spot elevation object above the model, and it projects onto the model and provides you with Top of Wall, Top of Footing, Bottom of Footing, etc. This function would have to give you control over whether the top or bottom of wall is referenced. This would be a very valuable feature that other landscape /architectural packages don’t seem to offer.

From what I can tell, Lands Design doesn’t contain this functionality. Bison contains a feature, but I haven’t found workarounds that enable the “virtual origin” functionality, or for that matter, units conversion if you’re working in inches and want decimal feet output.

A similar feature for slope arrows would also be very helpful…

I’ve attached my poorly coded scripts that I currently use to achieve this functionality. Anyone attempting to use them will likely be annoyed because I have a toolbar that goes along with them, please let me know if you’d like more info on how to use. Definitely room for improvement, hopefully someone knows a simple solution, or a real programmer can make short work of crafting a ‘real’ solution. (4.1 KB)

[edit - missed a bullet point]


Yes, definetely it would be a great feature. I’m adding it to our wishlist with your vote.

About the coordinate origin, currently it is possible to define the coordinate origin geolocation but I guess you would need it connected with the spot elevations system.


Yes, that could definitely integrate nicely. I haven’t used Lands enough to know, but it seems like the positive elevation could cause some 2D drawing problems? Would I just use a negative elevation? I always model my ‘3D’ objects below ‘2D’ so that the 2D are not obscured in 2D views.

Below are my scripts that definitely work, but would benefit from the ability to choose the move up/ move down distance value, probably via Document User Text. (670 Bytes) (667 Bytes)


Which problems is it causing you? Could you share some examples/screenshots/gifs…?