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Structure Layers

Built Structure data includes buildings, fences, and other artificial structures not described by other layer types.  The native file format for Structure files is VTST files.

You can also import Structure data from Shapefiles.  The Shapefile should contains arc (polygon) data, which will be interpreted as building footprints.

If you have another source of building location/footprint data that you would like to import, please let us know.

Structures Menu

Importing Structures from Raw GIS Data

This is the easiest way to populate your terrain with a lot of structures if you already have GIS data for their locations.

  1. Use the "Layer: Import Data" command and select "Structures" as the layer type.
  2. Select your Shapefile (*.shp)
    Shapefiles with polygon data can be turned into building footprints.
    Shapefiles with arc data can be turned into fence lines.
    Shapefiles with point data can be either building centers, or instance locations.
  3. Indicate how to interpret the Shapefile (one of the above 3 meanings)
  4. Optionally, you can restrict the import to only use features that lie within your Area tool.  This is useful if you have a massive GIS data source and only care about a specific area.

The data will then import, so you can review it and save to VTST.

Attributes for Instances:  In addition to the filename file which you can specify in the Import dialog, the following optional fields will be recognized in your input SHP if they are present:

Attributes for Buildings:  Building footprints will be created with the default attributes of 1 story, flat red roof.  If there is a SHP field called "stories", it will be used for the number of stories.  There are plans to eventually extend this functionality to allow any of the fields to be mapped onto any attribute.

Remember that when you are ready to use VTST data with Enviro, you should put it in the "BuildingData" folder on your Data path.

If you want to apply a default appearance to all the buildings you import, you can use the Default Structures feature.

Default Structures

To tell VTBuilder about defaults for structures, create a VTST file with one or more structures (Buildings) which have the desired appearance.  Name this file DefaultStructures.vtst and put it in a "BuildingData" folder on your Data path.  Then, whenever VTBuilder imports structures from raw GIS data, it will look at the defaults and copy visual appearance (materials, story heights, roof types, etc.) to each newly imported structure.