How can I import a Google Earth image in Infraworks?

In this short tutorial, we will show you how you can import an image from Google Earth to Infraworks, in just a few simple steps. Note that you can follow the steps below from within plain AutoCAD, without the need of Civil 3D and RasterDesign.

Infraworks is a planning and design platform that enables engineers to convey preliminary design intent in a real-world, contextual environment.

By using Plex.Earth in conjunction with Infraworks and Civil 3D (or even plain AutoCAD) can boost your productivity and design workflow making easy to connect Infraworks to Google Earth, and other satellite imagery, map and terrain sources.

If you don’t have Plex.Earth yet, you can start a free trial here.

Step 1: Open Google Earth and locate your project area. Plex.Earth has a bunch of tools that can help you zoom to the area of interest easily, or automatically synchronize the view between AutoCAD and Google Earth. You can find all of them in the "Quick Google Earth" section of the Plex.Earth ribbon.

Step 2: Open Infraworks and create a new project or use an existing one, and specify the desired coordinate system.

Step 3: In Civil 3D (or AutoCAD), find the "Plex.Earth" ribbon, and click the Georeference button. This will show up the "Project Georeference" dialog where you should specify the same coordinate system you selected in Infraworks, and then click OK. Note that you may skip this step the next time, since Plex.Earth saves your preferences.

Step 4: Import the current image of Google Earth in AutoCAD, in a couple of seconds, by selecting the "Basic Image" command from within the "Quick Google Earth" section of Plex.Earth ribbon.

Step 5: Now, return to Infraworks and select to add a new Data Source. From the list of available data sources, select the Raster option.

Step 6: You will be prompted to specify the location ("Select File" dialog window), of the image you imported previously in AutoCAD with Plex.Earth. If you don't know the location of the file, select the image in AutoCAD, right-click and select "Image" -> "Information..." from the menu.

Step 7: The image is now added in the list of data sources. Right-click on it and select Configure to open the "Data Source Configuration" dialog. Then select the model's coordinate system from the list.

Step 8: The Google Earth image is imported into Infraworks.


Note that the initial steps 1-3 of configuration can be skipped the next time, so you can expect that with this process you can import a Google Earth image to Infraworks in less than a minute!

Plex.Earth is the preferred solution for thousands of engineers around the globe to connect Google Earth with AutoCAD and Civil 3D. Its unique capabilities boosts your productivity and streamlines your design process, in any type of civil engineering, environmental or energy project, by enabling you to:

  • Insert high-resolution satellite imagery from Google Earth and other map services (WMS, TileServers etc)

  • Import detailed terrain meshes, contours and perform terrain analysis with elevation data from Google Earth, your own surveys or other sources

  • Import your 2D and 3D CAD drawings into Google Earth

Furthermore, with our new Timeviews™ feature, you gain access to the best and most up-to-date satellite imagery from Airbus, Maxar Technologies (DigitalGlobe) and Planet.

Haven’t you tried it yet? Download and start your free trial now!