How to import manhole coordinates from AutoCAD to Causeway Flow for small drainage networks

October 12, 2023

Importing a drainage network from dedicated 3D software into Causeway Flow is relatively simple for large drainage networks. What however, is an efficient method if just AutoCAD 2D software is available and without using 3D software programs? Here is a simple but effective method:

Create drainage schematic in AutoCAD

1. Start by opening AutoCAD and import important xrefs (that are already coordinated to OS Grid) that will inform your drainage schematic, such as:

a. Topographical survey

b. Architectural masterplan showing the extents of the proposed development.

c. Proposed drainage pop ups required to be drained.

d. Proposed foundations etc.

2. Create your drainage schematic in AutoCAD informed by the above-mentioned project parameters.

3. Once the above steps have been completed, and you are satisfied with the drainage schematic in terms of manhole & SuDS feature position, then:

a) Draw a single polyline from manhole node to manhole node.

b) Hot tip: To make it easier going forward, draw this polyline in line with manhole numerical order (SWMH 01, SWMH 02, SWMH 03, etc.) & leave all SuDS features for last.

c) When it comes to SuDS features, continue this polyline by clicking on the geometric center of each SuDS feature.

d) On completion of this polyline, you should have polyline nodes on each proposed manhole and a SuDS feature location.

e) Use the “XLIST” command in AutoCAD and select this polyline. AutoCAD will provide you with Easting and Northing coordinates that match your polyline nodes. Essentially providing you with the proposed manhole & SuDS coordinates. As shown in the image below:

Red line represents proposed polyline as mentioned above.

Refining AutoCAD coordinates in Word

4. Copy and paste highlighted coordinates from AutoCAD outputs to a Word document for refining.

5. Remove all unwanted text by using the replace command (Ctrl+H), such as:

a) “ at point  X=”, and replace with nothing

b) “ Z=   0000”, and replace with nothing

c) “ Y=”, and replace with “;”, as shown below.

6.  Next step is to add revised coordinates in a table format.

a) Press (Ctrl+A) to highlight all ravined coordinates in Word.

b) While all text in the Word document is highlighted, go to the “insert” ribbon, and select “table”. Then select “convert text to table”.

c) Set parameters in the prompt box as shown in the screenshot below

       d)  Once the parameters are set, select “ok”. Word will automatically put ravined coordinates in table format, as shown below:

       e) Again, use the shortcut (Ctrl+A) to select the entire table and add to the clipboard by coping it

Refining Word coordinates in Excel.

7. Open a new sheet in Excel. Select the A1 cell and paste your refined coordinates from Word into Excel. The Word table will be copied over as is, assigning each Easting and Northing value to its own cell in Excel.

8. Adjust the column width to clearly see all text copied over.

9. Again, use the shortcut (Ctrl+A) command in Excel to highlight all text copied over and using the decimal command, adjust the values to display 3 decimal places only.

10. You should have refined coordinate information as shown below:

11. Select all refined coordinates in the above table by highlighting it. Don’t highlight any blank cells. Once all text in the table has been selected, use the copy command (Ctrl+C) to copy selected text. (Do not use the usual copy command via right clicking the mouse).

Pasting refined coordinates from Excel to Causeway Flow.

12. Open Causeway Flow and navigate to the Nodes ribbon.

13. Right click on the first blank Easting cell. Hold the right mouse button in and select the Easting and Northing cells. Hot tip: Drag these columns down to ensure more rows are highlighted then the ravined coordinates you wish to copy over.

14. Once Easting and Northing cells are highlighted, release the right button of the mouse, and use the shortcut (Ctrl+V) to paste refined coordinates from Excel. You should be left with results as shown below.

All proposed manhole coordinates are now copied over to Flow.  Following this the engineer can add the rest of the necessary data into Causeway Flow, ready to simulate.  The manhole coordinates are a large part of building a network in Causeway Flow. I hope that the above process provides a useful method to save you time when building a network model in Causeway Flow.


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