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Contours with Manifold GIS

Testing what Manifold GIS makes with digital models; I find that the toy does more than what we have seen for simple spatial management. I’ll use an example the model we created in the exercise of streets with Civil 3D.

Import a digital model

In this, Manifold is strongly powerful, it can imports the common formats that stores data surface, such as ESRI, ENVI,IDRISI, ERDAS, etc. Also data contained in basic formats as dbf, csv, txt


In this case, I would like to import a .dem generated with Autodesk Civil 3D; so I do:

File > import > surface

And it’s ready; it creates for me a component comment type with the properties of the original file such as projection, program in which it was created, etc. In case of being coordinate files, it requests the order in which they are entered and the numeric field type.

If you want to work data within a component, to convert them to surface, you should only do copy > paste as surface

Create Contours Level

To create a contour level, we apply:

Surface > contours

Here it can be chosen individual curves, or an incremental, place the first one and every few are added.  In this, I choose the 191 with an increment of 1.


You can also choose if the level curves or also the area between these once appear colored by default theming, as elevations. This is created as a type drawing component.

Create a 3D view

For this, the surface is created with a subcomponent called terrain, this can be viewed as 3D view, with the right button choose if you want to overlay other layers, flooded surface, texture, wireframe and exaggerated elevation.


To add a profile, create it as if it would be a component, choosing elevation. It requests for the dependence surface and then the line can be modified by adding vertexes.



It is not bad, considering that this is part of the Surface Tools extension, as any GIS tool theming is a luxury, simple to create surfaces, but remains fairly short in terms of practicality and other operations with results. At least, to create an isometric view with more freedom took me much time, it also affects that the generated objects (curves, basins, areas between curves) are not a layer’s attribute, so it’s necessary when updating the model to generate them again.

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