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Does anyone know if it's possible to create a 3D dxf with OGR? I would like to assign the contour lines a Z value and then export them to dxf for some cad work.

PS. I know FME can do this, however I would like to try and find a free solution, and if possible do it in QGIS.

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  • Autocad map3d does this easily.
    – Brad Nesom
    Feb 7, 2011 at 14:43
  • 2
    Yeah but Autocad map isn't really free
    – Nathan W
    Feb 7, 2011 at 22:13

4 Answers 4

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Easier then I thought (thanks to BenjaminGolder for the tip):

ogr2ogr -f "DXF" Contours.dxf Contours.TAB -zfield Height

Contours.TAB is the input MapInfo tab file.

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    As far as I can tell this will work for contour lines, but not for true 3d-lines, which have a (x,y,z) coordinate for every point, and not one z value for every point of the line
    – johanvdw
    Sep 28, 2011 at 14:12
  • I have been trying this in FWTools (2.4.7) without any luck. Has anyone had any luck? I am not sure if I am missing something in my GDAL? Jul 5, 2012 at 12:25
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For the sake of completeness.

I believe this should be a comment on Regan response. But since I don't have enough reputation I'll leave it as a response.

The DXF writer supports 2.5D layers, and given a line input, should output a 3D linestring on dxf.

In the case of input POLYGONS you have to be more careful, since the driver defaults to generate a dxf HATCH with a Polyline. And by format specification, that line does not support Z coordinates, only X,Y.

If you input polygons, ogr can export dxf with 3D linestrings representing those polygons. For that you need to set up the config option DXF_WRITE_HATCH to NO.

//Bash
export DXF_WRITE_HATCH=NO
ogr2ogr -f "DXF" Contours.dxf Contours.TAB

//Windows
set NEWVAR=SOMETHING
ogr2ogr -f "DXF" Contours.dxf Contours.TAB

As far as I am aware this is not documented nor explained anywhere, it was added on revision 24991

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I've never tried it, but it should be possible. The source code for the DXF driver writes Z values to dxf if the geometry is 2.5D, which (according to the source for the shapefile reader) is what you will have if the input shape has Z values.

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  • That sounds good. Next question, how do you create a shapefile with Z values. Say I have a column called Height, is there a easy way to make this the Z value.
    – Nathan W
    Feb 9, 2011 at 0:08
  • Provided the shapefile is Z-aware, with ArcGIS, you can use a code block in the field calculator. I don't know how you would do it in Qgis. Feb 9, 2011 at 0:46
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    in the ogr2ogr documentation, it appears that you can create a 3d shapefile using the -zfield argument and then specifying a field name that holds z values. gdal.org/ogr2ogr.html Mar 25, 2011 at 1:20
  • @BenjaminGolder That sounds good. I will give it a go.
    – Nathan W
    Apr 14, 2011 at 7:14
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Did you try in GRASS the v.out.dxf command? http://grass.osgeo.org/grass64/manuals/html64_user/v.out.dxf.html

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  • I haven't tried it yet, I will give it a go. I was hoping for a QGIS option also but I could make a script to automate it in GRASS to make it easier to do.
    – Nathan W
    Feb 9, 2011 at 0:05

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