I have covered using FBX to access Navisworks data for downstream use. What about KMZ? This format contains lightweight geometry as well as some model structure. It is actually quite difficult to find an easy way to go from KMZ to IFC, or KML to IFC. But, it can be done!

Here’s one method:

  1. Export desired view from Navisworks to KML with “collapse” set to None. This will bring the full model hierarchy with the KML file (see help for more info)
  2. Install ArchiCAD 16 and the Google Earth import / export plugin
  3. File Special – Merge, select the KMZ (this part could take a while)
  4. File Special – IFC 2×3 – Merge to IFC Model…
  5. Select an IFC file (maybe make an empty one to merge with first, like this one)
  6. You will get geometry and some basic data, but the main thing is that the object segregation is still present
  7. From here you can import the IFC file to Revit as usual

Note: you can use 7-zip to extract a KMZ and you will see the KML file inside.


Other ideas:

Welcome to the QGIS project!
Weekly builds:
Index of /downloads/weekly

Forum post:
Importing KMZ files into AutoCAD Civil 3D 2013 – Autodesk Community

Addons for AutoCAD:
SL-King Download King.KML FDO provider

Spatial Manager™ – Download

Ryan Schultz is working on Revit–>IFC–>Revit translations, and he has created a open source page as a focus for test and sample files.  Here is the link:

Interestingly, Ryan is looking into IFC translations with ArchiCAD, Vectorworks, Microstation, Tekla and others.  The mixed environment of BIM software on collaborative projects is proving a challenge to many teams.  Ok, we can’t all work with Revit (maybe one day), but for now we have to find a way to share our models with high geometry fidelity and without losing the actual intelligence of BIM data.

I’m sure Ryan would be keen to hear from you, perhaps via Twitter or the github page.

Let’s work together to learn how to work together…


Its hard to find an unbiased comparison of Revit and ArchiCAD.  Ranting flame wars rage continually on LinkedIn…

That’s why it is refreshing to see a logical, itemised comparison of the two softwares.  Check it out at:
Scott H MacKenzie: ArchiCAD vs. Revit (part 1)
Life in a Virtual Building: ArchiCAD vs. Revit – 2D & 3D Modification Tools (part 2)

Heads-up via Shoegnome (find him on Twitter here)

It wouldn’t be a BIM blog post without inventing some obscure, never-to-be-used again abbreviation would it?  In this case, actGSACuse stands for ‘active Graphisoft ArchiCAD users‘.

I tweeted this image last Friday (from ArchiCAD 10, file:///C:/Program Files/Graphisoft/ArchiCAD 10/Help/Files/01_Configuration.2.24.html):

The tweet:

This sparked an animated discussion on Twitter that essentially boils down to this:
is it better to have all project components (ArchiCAD libraries, Revit families) living in the project, or is it better to have them residing in a central server location where they are regularly updated and reloaded?

Personally, I believe there are pros and cons to each method.  I think an important consideration is Control — if the library is Linked (ArchiCAD), do you have control over the program to say “hey, don’t overwrite this component, I like it the way it is.”  Similarly, if the components are all residing in a single project file (Revit), it would be nice to have the ability to one-click reload all updated families from a central Family RFA storage location.  I recall requesting this feature under some NDA project, but as yet, Revit can not do this without an add-in getting involved.

Along the lines of this discussion, I have created a new topic at BIMdebates:
BIMdebates: A central, live and linked component Library is better than static components in residing in a Project file

Why was I looking at an ArchiCAD 10 help file, you may rightly ask?  I was trying to upgrade an ArchiCAD 7.0 file and then export to IFC2x3.  However, I couldn’t open it directly in ArchiCAD 16, so I had to open it in ArchiCAD 10 first.  I then wanted to embed the libraries, but I think embedded libraries first came to ArchiCAD in version 14?  So I basically had to open in ArchiCAD 10, save, then open in ArchiCAD 16, then embed libraries.  Then play around with IFC2x3 settings to make things come to Revit ok.  I haven’t even looked at trying to open / upgrade / convert Plotmaker PMK files yet…

These PMK files are circa-2002.  Upon trying to open them in ArchiCAD 16, I get:
“You can only open files created by PlotMaker 3.0 or later.”

Tried same process in ArchiCAD 10 – same message.

Free Add-In developed for use by Autodesk Revit programs in the Structure and MEP disciplines. This application is recommended for use with IFC-based model exchange between GRAPHISOFT ArchiCAD and Revit applications. The Add-In for Revit applications variously enables direct import of ArchiCAD IFC models and IFC model export to ArchiCAD, or serves to optimize Revit’s standard IFC import and export functions used to exchange data with ArchiCAD.

Interoperability Downloads

The download page linked above was updated: Wednesday, August 22, 2012

Heads up – Revit3D

I am.

Ostensibly, they start along the lines of “my firm is implementing new systems, what software should we choose…”  Then, very quickly they become a mud-flinging game of mirrors, misdirected passion and other more general angst (Why does Program X hate me?)  They are littered with sarcasm, attempted yet misunderstood humour, and a few genuine users who take the time to relate their personal experience.

A great example is this ArchiCAD vs Revit discussion.  Please note that it is in the ArchiCAD group (meaning your submissions may be moderated by a pro-ArchiCAD discussion manager).


Another similar discussion:

A very reasonable, interesting and intelligent post from Steve Stafford … here is a quote of my favourite part:

Consider that Archicad would love it if we all woke up tomorrow and gave them credit for doing it all years earlier. Ahead of their time, poorly marketed, not really the “right” solution?

I don’t even care. If you do, keep in mind it’s an endless debate with no practical outcome. The fact remains that until Revit and Autodesk’s ability to focus resources on creating an obvious difference between what “we” are doing and what “we” ought to be doing…there had been little or no serious progress by any product attempting to solve problems in similar ways, not even their own other product.

If you’ve made the decision. Congratulations! You are moving forward.

Read the rest at:
Revit OpEd: Yeah But

Over at blog.gayarre.eu, there is a post that compares some of the main features of Allplan and Revit.  Judging by the review, it seems that Allplan has better PDF integration than Revit (which isn’t very hard).

I think some of his description of Revit is quite good:
Revit, Autodesk, is American.
After Archicad and Allplan, Revit was the last to arrive. Is a product of Autodesk and that, in principle, gives confidence. We can imagine that if we use AutoCAD, BIM from the same company it will be easier to learn. There will be many surprises. And it is. The learning curve is very fast. It’s very intuitive.

I like your work philosophy: everything is done in 3d and then generates the planes. This is not to make a BIM or so and then end up drawing in 2D as if we were in Autocad. It is demanding but more consistent. It requires but rewards.

Google Translate

A new whitepaper by Graphisoft can be downloaded from here.

Here are some quotes:
“It’s a pretty mature technology and it’s resolved a lot of things and
solved a lot of things along the way,” Gonzales continues. “There’s
less risk because it is a mature product. It does everything that any
other product does and has really good solutions to lots of building

Security of your data and project files is paramount, and ArchiCAD
provides a superior solution: a true relational database.

Moving to BIM is easier, less risky, and ultimately more profitable,
with ArchiCAD
– the proven BIM software that provides an elegant,
highly efficient, and fast 3D workflow environment.

What do you think?  Revit, or ArchiCAD, and why?

Lachmi Khemlani, when reviewing the whitepaper, says in her article:
Ultimately, I think that it’s going to be hard for ArchiCAD to compete with Revit’s leading position in the AEC industry and Autodesk’s might and muscle by simply being just another BIM solution like Revit.

Graphisoft’s New White Paper on BIM

Just as being overly positive about Revit leads to inflated expectations, if you are overly negative about it eventually people will realize you were wrong – and then your credibility will be in question.  Here are a few tweets from @RevitFacts – can you tell me if this is a good tweeter to follow, or perhaps someone with a particular bias?

FACT: #Revit has no Drag & Drop capability for external content like #ArchiCAD

Did you know RAM requirements are still 20 times model file size!

Did you know there is A LOT of customizing required (e.g Tags for Walls, Doors, Windows) compare to other #CAD softwares.

Revit is not compatable with #MAC :(.

Revit Facts (revitfacts) on Twitter

I guess these statements are true, in some ways – but I think RevitFacts may perhaps be trying to make us switch to ArchiCAD 🙂