Revit 2024 – Best Strategy for Coordinates in South Africa


One of the most important components of an AEC project is the real-world coordinate system that is assigned. When you operate in the southern hemisphere, like we do in South Africa, then our local (more accurate) coordinate systems are prone to issues (especially in Revit), because the X and the Y axes are rotated through 180 degrees. X is pointed South, and Y is pointed West. The Northern Hemisphere have X as East and Y as North.

For South African coordinate systems, the interplay between Infraworks and Civil 3D does not pose f a challenge, because the platforms can handle many Southern Hemisphere coordinate systems and share the same coordinate definition database. The Civil 3D file can be developed into an AutoCAD file (with the correct coordinate definition), which can be Revit, however, is a completely different prospect.

There are two approaches that one can take with Revit. They have different outcomes.

The one I would NOT recommend, is to simply acquire the coordinates from the AutoCAD File. It places the link by shared coordinates of CAD drawings out by 180 degrees. That is because the axes are maintained at positive values, while north is rotated by 180 degrees.

I would instead link in a DWG, then set the coordinates manually, working in a negative direction sense – is the traditional South African workaround. This way the AutoCAD files can be linked in by origin without translation or rotation. That said, the published topographies will not integrate with Revit. It must be a CAD import. We usually just extrude the topographies, explode them, and then recreate the topographies in Revit.

Autodesk, Micrographics, Civil 3D, Infraworks, AutoCAD, Revit 2024, Coordinate Definition, South Africa, AEC Integration

The only alternative, the one in which all the software seamlessly integrate, is to use an inaccurate (Northern Hemisphere) global coordinate system like UTM. One can then either acquire coordinates or use the shared reference point tool. In either case, it you will then be able to just inset shared topographies exported to the cloud from Civil 3D.

If you need help adopting the AEC Collection or the Autodesk Construction Cloud in your practice or if you are looking to invest in hardware, please contact Micrographics so that we may be of assistance.

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