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    By Trevor Clayton

    I am a great advocate of making the most of what is easily available, especially if it’s free! When you start to research free or “Open Source” data you will be surprised how much is out there. In this article I am just going to focus on using open source data to create my surface in AutoCAD Civil 3D 2018. This is the starting to point for any project and can allow you to progress your project far quicker.

    The data I am going to use for my surface has been created and supplied by the Environment Agency and is available from:


    It is self explanatory when you get onto the site and by using the search field you can easily search by name or post code.

    Once the search is complete it will zoom to the area and select the correct tile for you. Below the map you will see a list of all the available data that you can download.

    A word of caution here! When you download the data it will split it up into smaller tiles, I find it useful to go to:-


    This allows you to identify the specific tile you require:-

    Selecting the smaller tile you require will enable you to identify the particular tile you require once it has been downloaded. In my case I have selected Su6310.

    Creating the surface follows the usual procedure within Civil 3D. The image below shows that I import the surface data by way of DEM files:-


    Remember that the surface has been created using 1m grid, it will therefore be very graphic hungry and may switch to Level of Detail mode. I find it easier if I use contours as my default style in this case.