When Revit exports to IFC, it typically uses the current Location (Survey Point) Shared Coordinates as Origin. You can observe this in the IFC file:


But what if you want to Export to IFC with Project coordinates (Revit origin), not Shared?

We want to do this because we have set up the import process from Tekla using this same Revit origin, here and particularly this:


1) Firstly, make a container RVT file with one Site Location, no shared coordinates. In other words, Project Base Point, Survey Point, and Revit Origin are all in one place.


2) Then, open the project you want to export, and link this ‘container’ file Origin-to-Origin

3) Transfer Project Standards:


4) Choose the Link you made, and Project Info (only):


5) Choose New Only (this will just bring in the uniquely named project location from the link):


6) Open Location dialog in Revit, under Site you will notice a new “Site“. Set it current with the Make Current button:


7) Now that the Project Origin (neutral coordinates) are set, you can export to IFC:


8) After Exporting, reset the coordinates back to what it was before with Make Current:


9) Optional: delete the IFC Export site definition if you don’t need it anymore…

I previously posted about a similar method, but it was a bit ‘destructive’, whereas the above process can be implemented into a live project more easily:
What Revit Wants: When and how to neutralize Survey coordinates for IFC export from Revit

Further reading:

Let’s face it, sometimes Shared Coordinates can be a pain. Issues may arise when trying to make small adjustments to very large numbers, and that comes up in other places in Revit too. In some cases, using “Specify Coordinates at a Point” has almost no effect, and you need to resort to workarounds like these.

In Revit, if we follow certain steps in a certain way we can solve these issues. It may seem a fiddly, but if you want to fix coordinates on an existing model, perhaps one of these methods will work for you.

Method 1 – Transfer Project Standards, Project Info
This transfers the ‘location’ data of a Shared Site…

On a real project, you will probably have a control model you can use in the workflow below. The control model needs to have some lines showing at the desired Project Base Point position, probably in a Linked View, as well as a SITE fixed named site that has the ‘correct’ shared coordinates.

  1. Open one of your models to fix
  2. Go to a Plan view
  3. Link in the COORDINATES file Origin-To-Origin
  4. Set Linked view – COORDINATES
  5. Turn on Site – Project Base Point
  6. Select it and ‘unclip’
  7. Transfer Project Standards (from the link) – Project Info
  8. Choose ‘New Only’
  9. Go to the Location – Site dialog box
  10. Set the SITE fixed to ‘Make Current’
  11. Delete your old SITE, and rename SITE fixed to SITE (we have now replaced the shared site coordinate info with that from the control model). Now, to get a moved PBP in the right spot for the project
  12. Back in Floor Plan view, slightly drag the unclipped PBP away from the two green lines (the pbp position in the control file), then move it back to exactly that point
  13. PBP should now be fixed


If this doesn’t work, you may try
Method 2 – neutralizing coordinates and re-Acquiring

  1. Select your PBP, unclip it, rightclick and “Move to Startup Location”
  2. Link in a new, blank RVT such as a NEUTRAL_COORDINATES.rvt and Acquire Coordinates from it (this resets coordinates)
  3. Save your file (your PBP should report 0,0 coordinates)
  4. Link in the control model PBP RVT
  5. Acquire coordinates from it
  6. Delete it (yes)
  7. Re-link it again (this is to get around a Revit bug, that sometimes ‘shifts’ the linked model after acquiring coordinates)
  8. Save your host file (shared coordinates are now set correctly, and the PBP can be moved into place as below)
  9. Select your PBP, unclip it, and move it to the location from the control model. You may need to set up a plan view that has PBP switched on, and view range all the way down to AHD 0.00.

Both of these methods are somewhat involved, but they may be useful to you in those situations where “nothing else works”.

Video: Matthew Miller recently gave high praise to this class, when he posted that David Baldacchino’s class AB412 Navigating Through the Storm Using Coordinate Systems in Revit “has been the best explanation of shared coordinates, that has helped me understand them.”

Matthew also provides these useful links:
Blogs Talking about Survey point in Revit
Understanding Shared Positioning in Revit

Shared Coordinates

Project Base Point Manipulation

Revit 2013 – Project Points, Survey Points, Revit Coordinates


Revittize: Set the Revit Survey Point

When exporting to IFC, you may find that Revit feeds the Survey Coordinates (or shared coordinates) to the resulting IFC file, when in fact you want it to be based on Project Coordinates.

If your project team is using origin-to-origin linking, it will be almost vital that you neutralize the Revit survey coordinates immediately prior to exporting to IFC.

This is quite easy:

  1. Make a new file based on a blank template
  2. Insert a origin locator dwg and draw a couple of model lines over the top (this is purely to give you something to “pick”)
  3. Save and close this blank RVT file (and keep it for future use)
  4. Link it into your live Revit project
  5. Use Acquire Coordinates and select the new, fresh, blank RVT file
  6. Save As this temporary RVT with neutralized survey coordinates to somewhere
  7. Now Export your IFC

Your resulting IFC file won’t be confused about which coordinate system to use – it should now Append to Navisworks and other software using the same origin-to-origin coordinate system as that in the originating Revit project.

Often, it is.  But if Project Base Point has ever moved in the life of the Revit project, then it probably won’t be.  Revit Zero affects things like FBX and NWC export (I think IFC too) when using Project Coordinates.

One way to find it is to make a DWG file with a couple of lines at 0,0,0 and link in Auto – Origin to Origin.  Another way is to make a Spot Coordinate that reports based on the “Relative” option.

You can theoretically  have 3 different coordinate records for a single geometric point, as this image shows:

You can read a bit about this at Revit Landscape.

From Geometry Gym downloads page:
Geometry Gym IFC text tree viewer, Unblock zip (right click Properties) and then unzip into a folder of your choice.

ggIFCTreeViewer.zip (4th February 2014) 
via https://twitter.com/owensharp/status/430502199429300224

EDIT Updated link as of 26 March 2014

You can also view the embedded coordinate information in the IFC, for example:

Not a great position to be in (having point clouds with different coordinate systems and no known common point), but here is some code that may help:
andymiller/FeatureBasedAlignment · GitHub

From GibHub:
The goal is to accurately register two point clouds created from different image spectrums (e.g. visual to infrared), in different coordinate systems of different scales.

Current approach is: 
– Take two point clouds 
 – Estimate normals for each point 
– Find FPFH Features for each point 
– Find likely correspondences between two models (based on FPFH) 
– Use top features to estimate scale, 
 – Run RANSAC to estimate transformation, and eliminate correspondences 
– Use remaining correspondences to run ICP for finer alignment

In a recent project, we received a DWG file and a number of point clouds, all on the same coordinate system (MGA).

To setup project initially, I followed these steps:

  1. New Project
  2. Link the survey DWG by Auto, Origin to Origin
  3. Acquire Coordinates from the DWG in Revit
  4. Link the Point Cloud (in this case, a Revit 2013 friendly PCG) by Auto, By Shared Coordinates
    Note – this 6gb came in very quickly, and worked acceptably for viewing
  5. Rinse and repeat for as many point clouds as you have.

Q.  Can you acquire the coordinate system from a basic point cloud?
No, Revit 2013 does not recognize a PCG point cloud as a valid source for Acquire Coordinates.  You can only place a point cloud by Shared Coordinates where these are already set up.

Great post on initial point cloud coordinate setup:
Point Clouds in Revit – BIM Toolbox

Interesting that centre-to-centre is often recommended as the best initial import method for a Point Cloud:
Point Cloud Processing for Revit Use

Further, you can move one point cloud and use those transforms to modify the next link:
7) Move the cloud in the X, Y & Z to align it where you want it.
8) Once you have it aligned well, repeat steps 1-4 for each cloud except Set “Positioning” pull-down to Auto – Origin to Last Placed
Laser Scanning Forum Ltd • View topic – Shared coordinate and scale in Revit

Also, some users recommended putting all point clouds in their own RVT link for easy unloading / overriding etc.  I’m unsure of the impact of snapping to such a cloud in the host project?

Further reading:
One of my team recognised that the point pattern was very similar to an error that occured in Geomagic. very similar to how Revit has issues with things being too far from project base point so does geomagic. It turns out that even though I dropped the cloud very close to the project base point for some reason Revit 2014 must be still reading the old real world coordinates and sees it as if it is still 100s of miles from origin, which is what seems to be causing the resolution problems. Hence we went back into the original registered data in cyclone and made the project arbitrary (moved it close to 0,0,0), we then re-exported to .pts bought into Revit and the results are as per the attachment, loads better than before and deffinately possible to work with now!via RevitCity.com | Revit 2014 Point Cloud Benefits/limitations?

Isolate this the selected element and then use the zoom to fit option. Now you should be able to see your point cloud / import in the center of the screen.
via Point cloud or linked file not appearing in Revit – Shared coordinates | BIMopedia

If you are working with point clouds, you are probably aware that setting up the points to be re-modeled properly within Revit is essential. When you import your point cloud by shared coordinates, you are left with a 3D model of your points.
via Setting up your Revit project to model point cloud data | BIMopedia

On Revit 2014:
The new point cloud engine uses RCP/RCS formats. The RCP format is a project file while an RCS file is a scan file. A RCP file is a group of multiple RCS scan files. If you have raw data in other acceptable formats Revit will index it in the background and let you know when the indexing is complete.

They enhanced Revit’s sensitivity to points and planes within the point cloud data. This should make it easier to sketch model elements using the underlying cloud data. Revit will detect planes that are perpendicular to the current work plane and very close to the cursor.

via Revit OpEd: Point Clouds in Revit 2014