Upload 3D DXF layer for visualization & Cut/Fill analysis

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3D Visualization is available for Advanced, Teams, and Enterprise subscriptions. 


In this article, we will explore: 


Supported File Types

  1. From your desktop CAD program (i.e. Revit, Civil 3D) export your DXF in a published coordinate system (the same EPSG code as the DroneDeploy Project-CRS)

  2. Only the following entity types within your DXF are supported for visualization: 3DFACE, LINE, CIRCLE, LWPOLYLINE, POLYLINE



What is a DXF and how can it apply to my DroneDeploy project? 

A DXF is a commonly used file type for the exchange of CAD information. They can contain both vector polylines and/or triangle mesh surfaces. DXFs can be geo-referenced for automatic alignment. 


Additionally, they often contain rich layer metadata surfacing even more valuable context within the platform (such as system and construction element names, i.e. “high voltage electrical”, “gas supply”).


During the open beta you can now visualize underground utilities, 3D design and grading files layered on top of your 3D aerial data in DroneDeploy.

How to add the 3D DXF as a Layer in a Project: 


  1. Navigate to the relevant project, in the Layers pane select Add



  1. Select Model/Design Surface


  1. Select DXF for upload.



  1. Select whether or not you would like this DXF to be processed to be made available for Cut/Fill comparison (see limitations section below for greater detail). 

  1. Select Upload (DroneDeploy will attempt to infer CRS and automatically align the 3D overlay.
  2. Navigate to 3D view 


  1. Under overlays, toggle on the desired DXF to be viewed. 


  1. From the Layer detail view, toggle on/off the individual layers of the overlay to get the precise visualization you seek. 

  1. Select a line or surface by clicking on it to display useful layer metadata.


FAQs/Known Limitations

  • The DXF file must be geo-referenced, please export DXFs from your CAD application in the same coordinate system as your project.


  • Today, DXF visualization is only supported in the 3D view. 


  • Occasionally, if a DXF contains a surface mesh higher in elevation than the DEM, it can block the view of DEM.
    • We have applied a default light opacity to all DXF triangle meshes to limit occlusion of the DEM.

  • The user must designate whether or not the DXF is intended for Cut/Fill comparison.
    • Not all DXF files can be converted into a design surface that is suitable for cut/fill comparison
    • DroneDeploy has supported DXF format for Cut/Fill comparison for some time. 
    • In the case of a DXF file that contains elevated contour polylines, but no surface, DroneDeploy can often process that file into a surface model suitable for Cut/Fill comparison against the DEM.
    • As an alternative example, a DXF containing polylines of as-built underground utilities has great value as a coordination and visualization tool, but cannot feasibly be converted into a surface suitable for Cut/Fill comparison.



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