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Loading Coordinate
Survey Files


The objective of this TM Note is to illustrate the process of loading

xyz coordinate files into TERRAMODEL software.

Developed by:

Stephen J. Moran
Karen S. Dvorsky
Robert E. Sullivan

Revised by:

Karen S. Dvorsky
Charles E. Schmitt

January 1995

Revised by:

Jason Sall

November 1998

Edited for Version 10.60 by:

Stacy Modelski

June 2009
TERRAMODEL Note 3 - Loading Coordinate Survey Files

A coordinate survey file is needed to follow this TERRAMODEL Note. TERRAMODEL Note
2 describes how such a file can be developed from a topographic survey. An existing
tutorial file named TUTORIAL.PTS can be used to follow the loading process if you don’t
have a project you are already working on. The point loading process will include:

1. Loading a coordinate file into TERRAMODEL--without breaklines.

2. Loading a coordinate file into TERRAMODEL--with breaklines.

3. Saving a project file.

The TERRAMODEL program is started by double-clicking on the TERRAMODEL icon that is

on the desktop when you start the computer.

TERRAMODEL will start up and the drawing area will be gray because no project has been

Choose [File]-[New…] from the pull-down menu. This will bring up the New project dialog

Choose the appropriate directory to store the project in.

In the File name window, enter a meaningful filename for the project.


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1. Loading a Coordinate File--without breaklines

The coordinate file will be loaded with the Import command.

The default input format (P N E Z D) is the format required to load a coordinate file
created with the Ohio SSRP or XSEC programs which have been formatted for
TERRAMODEL using OHIO2TM (Ohio Engineering Menu, Option F, Format data
files for TERRAMODEL). See TM Note 2.

To import a points file:

[File]-Download/Import-[ASCII points] This will bring up the first file import

dialog box, Points source file.

If ASCII points is not a listed choice:

[File]-Download/Import-[Import script manager…] and check the box

next to ASCII points.


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[Browse] to the directory where the points file is located, then choose the
correct file either by highlighting it and hitting [Open], or by double-clicking on
the file name.

Keep the default template (Generic Points.lgr)


Figure 3-1

The next dialog box, View file contents, lists the contents of the file you are
importing. The data order should be P N E Z D.


Figure 3-2

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On Template specific, check the box for “Allow ‘space’ in description”.


Figure 3-3

Choose the starting point number, the undefined elevation, the layer that you
want the points on, and what to do with duplicate points on Point settings.
Choose whether or not you want the last description repeated for undefined
points and if you need to clip points using a boundary.


Figure 3-4

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You will not need to check the “Expand point descriptors” box on Point
descriptor expansion unless you used numeric point descriptors for your


Figure 3-5

Finally Import summary shows the selections you made on the previous
screens. Look through these to make sure everything is as you intended and

Figure 3-6

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You will then see a message telling you how many points were added,
renumbered, etc. [Detailed report…] will give you a file you can save or
print for your records.


Figure 3-7

The points may be concentrated in a small portion of the screen. The All command
changes the display so the data points occupy the full screen.

[View ]-[All]

Note: If the points do not represent the surveyed landscape and are a "mirror
image", the points should be reloaded with the N and E switched in the Format
window of the Import points dialog box.

Note: If you did not go through every dialog box listed in these instructions, your
import script for ASCII points may have some of the boxes “unchecked” to show the
page at run time. To modify the script:

[File]-Download/Import-[Import script manager…]

Highlight ASCII points and then [Edit…]

The default settings for this script can be set here; each dialog box can be reviewed
separately by choosing the file tabs. Each tab has a box at the bottom to check or
uncheck for “Show this page at run time”. Once you have the script set up in the
default format you want to use on your projects, [OK] on the ASCII points dialog box
and [Close] the Import script manager dialog box.

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2. Loading a Coordinate File--with breaklines

This section has not been written yet. For now you will have to put the breaklines in
the drawing by hand.

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3. Saving the Project File

The points can be saved as a project file for future manipulation and processing.
The Save command will save the job in the directory that you chose and by the name
you entered when creating the new project.

[File]-[Save project]

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