Explode Surface Command

D_ExplodeSurface_600ppi   Explode Surface

Command Licensing and Default Menu Location

  • The Explode Surface command is part of the RPS Modeling Toolbox
  • The command is located on the Modeling macros menu ribbon
  • The command is located in the Surface / Volumes menu group


Command Description

Explodes a selected TIN surface model into 3D lines and points. The explode process eliminates duplicate lines. The exploded surface can then be edited to remove erroneous data e.g. erroneous triangle sides or to be combined with other data to create a new surface model. The command also allows triangle sides that have a break angle (between adjacent triangles along the side) greater than a specified angle to be formed. This provides the ability to “reverse engineer” linework from the TIN model.


Command Interface Description

The Explode Surface command dialog looks as follows

Surface:
Select the surface model that you wish to explode

Place exploded objects on layer:
Select the layer onto which you want to place the exploded data (Points and Lines)

There are three main options for exploding the data from a surface

  1. Extracting all of the triangle sides and optionally points at all triangle vertices
  2. Extracting the internal breaklines and drapelines from a TBC surface
  3. Extracting lines from the TIN model that follow features that have a break angle across the feature

Create triangle lines:
There are two options of how to extract the data.

  1. 3D Lines Only
  2. 3D Points and Lines

Create lines:
Select this option to create 3D lines along all the triangle sides of the surface model. In this case the linework is not dependent on any 3D points at the triangle vertices.

Create points and lines:
Select this option to create 3D lines along all the triangle sides of the surface model. In this case the linework is dependent on 3D points at the triangle vertices. Move the points to change the elevations of all the lines that meet at that point.


Create breaklines checkbox:
If you check this checkbox, the command will create 3D lines from the “internal breaklines” of a TBC surface model.

These are typically formed in 3D surfaces generated for corridor models or for subgrade adjusted surface models (using site improvements or takeoff work processes). You can see the breaklines in the surface model properties.

Create drapelines checkbox:
If you check this checkbox, the command will create 3D lines from the “internal drapelines” of a TBC surface model.

These are typically formed in 3D surfaces where you have applied site improvements or surface textures to a surface model in TBC. You can see the drapelines in the surface model properties.


You can also select to only create 3D lines along the interfaces between triangles that have a break angle between the faces e.g. a road pavement surface that has a 2% or ~1 degree cross slope meeting the flow line where the next triangle is the face of curb which has a 45 degree angle will have a break angle of ~46 degrees. There are two options here

  1. Create along lines where the break angle is greater than a specified value only
  2. Create along lines where the break angle falls between two specified values (a min and max value)

Only at slope break option:
Select this option if you want to only create lines from the exploded surface where the lines form a crease between two triangles that have a slope difference of greater than a defined 'Break Angle" (see below).

This can be used for example to find breaklines from a TIN surface that follow changes of slope greater than the specified angle. This will find e.g. Flow Lines, Top Face of Curb, Surface Breaklines depending on the Break Angle that you define. It can take a bit of trial and error before you find the appropriate break angle depending on the source surface and what specifically you are trying to extract. You may also need to use different Break Angles and Target Layer selection combinations to extract different types of feature from the surface model. Curb and Gutter for example would often be at an angle of 40 degrees or higher. Retaining Walls could be a break angle of 80 degrees or higher.

Break Angle:
Enter the Break Angle above which you want to extract breakline data from the surface model. i.e. a value of 10 degrees will extract breaklines between triangles that have a change in slope across the breakline of greater than 10 degrees. Lines that have a less than 10 degree break angle (as will be found on large flat surfaces or gentle terrain) will not be extracted.

You will find that relatively small Break Angles of 1 or 2 degrees will separate out a lot of data in a surface model.

Within the specified angle range option:
Select this option if you want to create lines from the exploded surface where the lines form a crease between two triangles that have a break angle that falls within a specified minimum and maximum value

Break Angles:
Specify the minimum and maximum values for the break angle range to be used. You can use the slider bars to enter the value if you prefer. Once one of the sliders is selected you can move the slider left or right using the arrow keys on the keyboard.

Example Angle Ranges:
Min 0 degrees / Max 0.5 degrees - lines that fall between many triangle pairs (no real value)
Min 0.5 degrees / Max 5 degrees - lines that follow crown lines of roads
Min 20 degrees / Max 60 degrees - lines that follow flow lines or top face of curb
Min 60 degrees / Max 90 degrees - lines that follow top and bottom of retaining walls


Apply
Executes the command with current settings and then prepares the command for a follow on process.

OK
Executes the command and closes on completion

Cancel
Closes the command without further execution.


Video Demonstration

The following video shows how to utilize the Explode Surface command




Use Case Videos

The Explode Surface command was updated in Sept 2020 - here is a video that showcases all the updated workflow in context on real world examples.

TML - Explode Surfaces Command (Full) (Sept 2020) (Update) - Help Video

Here is a second use case example - in this case I show both Filter by Alignment and the Explode Surface commands - these give me some extra thoughts on how we can make this even better as well.


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Feedback and Enhancement Requests

If you would like to provide feedback on the use of the Explode Surface command or to request enhancements or improvements to the command please Click Here

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