With the release of Civil 3D 2013, there were a few cool additions that were added. With this being said, some users were disappointed to learn that Google Earth functionality was removed from Civil 3D 2013 all together. While I am only speculating and do not have anything official to refer to, I imagine that there were some legal issues involved, but as I stated, I don’t know for sure. This has left more questions than answers and I have had alot of users asking about this. Is there any type of workaround? Can anything else be done to get that Google Earth functionality? I hope this blog will help ease some of the pain that not having Google Earth functionality may be causing you.
The first thing you can find out there is on the Autodesk Labs website. I have blogged about this site in the past but if you have not checked it out, don’t miss out any longer! The labs website has a plug-in that you can download for Map 3D or Civil 3D 2013 that allows you to connect to a Bing FDO provider so that you can pull a Bing Map or Aerial image into your drawing file. This download can be accessed at this link:
Of course, if you do not have login credentials you will need to sign up for some but it is free to do so. Once you download and install this plug-in, you will then be able to bring in the Map or aerial image via FDO. If you are not familiar with FDO, look into the functionality of it in either Map 3D or Civil 3D as it is the same in either software. After the install, when you go into the Data COnnect dialog box, you will see a new provider as seen in the image below. Once you connect, you get the three choices of Aerial with Labels, Aerial, or Roads which can also seen in the image below.
The images below show examples of each of these options that you can bring into your drawing.
There are a couple of downfalls to this plug-in that I need to make you aware of: first, it will stop working as of June 30th. This is why it is very important for users to download and use this plug in. The more feedback Autodesk receives on this tool, the more likelihood that it stays around longer or gets incorporated full time into the software. The second downfall is that there is no support for surfaces. To get around this, there are many websites that offer GIS data such as DEM files that can be downloaded and turned into surfaces in Civil 3D. This functionality will hopefully provide you with a viable workaround for the missing Google Earth functionality.