Using ref files for ortho phots


I use a lot of drone data so that means dealing with large point cloud files and ortho images. What I noticed on my current job is the time it takes to save and render views if you scroll in or out. My question would be can I place my images, point clouds and even the OG in a separate file and refence it to my design file where I create my designs and print plan sets? I am not for sure what data will be available for computations and printing.



Ortho images can for sure be placed in a reference File to keep your working project lighter weight
Your point clouds can also be in a reference file, however if you use them to build a surface, build the surface in the Reference File and then use that surface to create a Reference Surface in the Working project.

If you create a Reference Surface, you can use a reference surface in e.g. a Corridor Model as a target for Side slopes no problem or as a target for utility trench surfaces etc…

When you plot in the current project, any reference file data that is visible in the current project can be printed or PDF’d out no problem, just like any other data in the current project


Thank you Alan for clearing that up. I appreciate it. I will be doing that from here on out!


Is there a way to toggle reference surfaces from the refence file on and off in the design project? Or do you have to go to the reference file and open it and toggle the visibility of the surfaces?


A Reference Surface visibility is controlled by its On / Off state in the Reference File. The surface does not exist in the current TBC project, only a reference to the surface in the Reference File.

In TBC v5.90 released today, the Reference File can now have its own view filter that allows you to toggle the visibility of surfaces On and Off individually which is an improvement. You can also use the Copy Object command to copy the surface from the reference file into the current project should you need to do that for any reason.

When you cop[y a Surface Model it uses the VCL approach to the surface copy i.e. you get all of the source data and the surface TIN but not dependent objects e.g. Quick Contours.


Is there a way to make the objects (surfaces, utility solid entities, etc) from the reference file show up in the master file when using the surface slicer without copying it over?

Surfaces you have to create a Reference Surface in the current project using the surface(s) from the Referenced project for them to show up in Surface Slicer view - this doesn’t copy any data across, just allows the surface to be used in current project for Volumes and for Surface Slice or for Plotting Sections etc.

Solids like IFC Solids or DWG / DGN Solids and Meshes can only be viewed in Slicer view if a) they are made into a surface model and b) are either in the current project or referenced into the current project as Reference surfaces. They can be seen in 3D view etc. and can be printed / plotted as Referenced Objects.

Utilities can be visualized from the current project when they are referenced in, however they will not show up in Surface Slicer View until they are in the current project. If they are in the current project then you can see them in the slicer view in relation to Reference surfaces etc. from a Reference Project, you can also project the Trenches etc. to a Reference surface in the current project.

If you need to open the Reference File select it in the Project Explorer and right click and select Open.

I guess that TBC needs to have the ability to add Reference Utility Networks like Reference Surfaces and Slicer View needs to learn how to slice things other than Utilities and Surfaces i.e. Solids, IFC Shells, BIM Objects etc.

Yes, a Reference Utility Network will be very handy and also, the ability to be see them in the Linestring Profile Viewer.

If you want to see the Invert line of a pipe in the profile viewer or profile view of eg an alignment you can create linestrings for your utility lines using Multi Offset Line and create a line a 0,0 offset to the utility lines (all at once) and then you can add those to your Profile Viewer for a selected line using the right click and hold SHIFT Key as you select the utility linestring - this will compute it into the stationing of your selected line and show it to you - if you need to see the Top and bottom of pipe, offset the lines vertically by the pipe wall thickness (bottom) or the internal diameter and pipewall thickness (top) and select those lines in the same way - that way you can see the pipe in the profile viewer

Not ideal I know but it does work.

You can do the same thing in the Profile View by using Create Profile Proxy Command for the lines that you want to show in the profile view - that works also

Appreciate that it is not the same as slicing the pipes etc. but it helps in some scenarios


Thanks Alan. I will give this a try.