TECHNICAL TIP ~ Contour Smoothing

I've wanted to do this tip for a while now because I often wonder how many people are really cognizant of the implications, or even consider the subject matter of this tip. This is even more insidious (oooh . . .  big word ; ) because of the fact that it's possible to be completely unaware of this since it's not directly within plain sight. What is it? Contour - Smoothing?

Follow along:

First I placed a handful of random points in a surface model.

I placed them at even elevations (99, 100, 101, 102, 103 and 104)

Then I triangulated them and viewed the Triangles.

These are the Contours

The contours are displayed at a 1' interval and you can see that the contours all tie right into the random point locations.

When you really look closely, there is no doubt that the contours tie into the random points just as they should.

It's a little clearer without the triangle display.

Now, when viewing contours, most people just go to Surface > View Surface > Contours, pop open the dialog box, maybe click on the Preferences button, take a quick glance at the Main tab and then click Apply; pretty easy.

But there are other tabs on that dialog, and other settings. The subject of this tip is a specific setting on the Advanced tab, Smooth.

Now, whether this is on or off is up to you, or up to the way the Preference for that tool is stored. It's just a simple toggle switch that can make a significant difference in the display of your contours.

The previous contour display had that toggle turned off. When it's turned on, this is the result.

Are you seeing what I'm seeing? So I ask you - When should you 'smooth' and when should you not smooth? Are you picking up what I'm putting down?

Do you know if you are 'smoothing' or not? Knowledge is power!!

Let me know what you've concluded! I'm very interested to know if you understand this and can figure out what it means to your day to day InRoads usage. 

Zen Engineering

3786 La Crescenta Avenue, Suite 107
Glendale, CA 91208 USA

Phone: (818) 957-7939


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