Site Context


Understanding the context in which a building is to be placed is important in allowing others to visualize the impact it will have on its surroundings and visa-versa.

By using Enscape’s Site Context feature a site model of the area a building is proposed to be placed, including low poly buildings, streets and topography can be imported to your project to facilitate this important stage in architectural visualization.

It is important to note that an imported site context model will only be visible in the Enscape Viewport and not in your host design application.

Start by opening the Site Context feature using the associated button in the Enscape Viewport toolbar.

Site model button in renderer

Site model button in renderer

Once you’ve clicked on the Site Context button (or by pressing the short cut key [O]), the Site Context panel will open to the left of the Enscape Viewport.

Site context Menu

Site context Menu

Add Site Context

The first step is to select and add the site context. To do this click on the Add Site Context button in the Site Context side panel.

After clicking on Add Site Context window will open:

In it you will find:
Search – here you can enter an address or coordinates.
Current Location – the location of the pin on the map
Site Context Data – allows you to toggle the visibility of parts of the site model
Map and current area – the current area is bound by an adjustable orange box
Zoom, Go to Location and Fit to Location – allows refinement or repositioning of the location
Import – imports the site model from Open Streetmap

Site context Menu

Site context Menu

To search for a location, simply enter the street name, city, postal code, or coordinates. The default location is always set by the host CAD application.

Once the desired location has been selected, press [Enter] or click on one of the search results if more than one result is returned.

In some instances, the exact location or address needs to be entered in the search field.

Import Site Context

Once the location has been determined, the area and position of the model needs to be determined. By default, an area of 1000 x 1000 meters is set.

To determine the site area, the following options are available:

Resize – simply drag one of the sides of the orange bounding box that defines the area intended to be imported. The size will be indicated in meters.
Rotation – hover the mouse cursor near a corner, until it changes, at which point you can click on the corner and rotate the area by moving your mouse
Translate – move the pin to the desired location, and click on Fit to Location

Once the site model has been imported, its position can be updated later.

The orange pin icon in the map indicates where your CAD project model will be placed in the site context model to be imported.

The location of the CAD model can be translated / rotated by dragging the pin / hovering on the circular arrow symbol (you may have to zoom in on the map to be able to see this symbol) respectively. When you hover over this circular arrow to rotate the CAD model, the mouse cursor will  change accordingly. Click and hold on the circular arrow symbol, and drag the mouse up/down to rotate the CAD project, releasing the mouse button when you’re happy with the adjustment.

In the lower left corner of the map viewport you will find four buttons:

Zoom tools (+,)  – allows you to zoom in and out (or simply use the mouse wheel)
Go to Location – centers the map on the pin location
Fit to Location – centers the area selection around the pin and sets its dimensions to 1 Km x 1 Km. The model rotation is also reset.

Minimum area size is 100m x 100m.
Maximum area is 9999m x 9999m
If the area is greater than 5000m x 5000m a warning will be prompted.

Site Context Data

Located at the base of the Site Context panel the Site Context Data options can be toggled on and off to control the visibility of the following:

Buildings and Landmarks
Streets and Sidewalks

These options can also be adjusted after the site context model has been imported.

Buildings and Landmarks and Streets and Sidewalks can be toggled off completely or individually from the menu. It is also possible to do so by right-clicking on elements directly in the Enscape Viewport and clicking on Hide Selection.

The entire site context model can be toggled off by clicking on the eye symbol next to the Map Data.

Site Context Data options

Site Context Data options

Map Data Options

Clicking on the Hamburger menu icon next to Map Data will provide a menu with the following options:

Update Site Context – will open the initial Site Context window, enabling the user to update the location and imported area
Edit Site Context – allows repositioning and rotation of the site model
Hide Overlapping Data – site context model data overlapping with the CAD model will be hidden
Reset Visibility – all hidden data will become visible once again
Remove Site Context – removes the current site context model from your project.

Hamburger Menu Options

Hamburger Menu Options

Clicking on Edit Site Context allows the following options:

Translation [T]: allows horizontal repositioning of the site model.
Rotation [R]: rotation of the site model can be performed by moving the slider or by entering a value in degrees (°).

To confirm changes click on the Confirm button, or the Discard button to cancel.

If elements are intersecting with the CAD model after translating the site context model, those site context model elements will be toggled off. If the CAD model is moved to a different position, site context model elements will remain hidden until you click on Reset Visibility via the Hamburger menu.

Site Context Translation options

Site Context Translation options

The CAD model’s lowest point will be used as the base touchpoint with the site context geometry. So, if you find that your CAD model is floating above the site context model you can check and adjust the CAD model for possible extruding geometry (for example, sub-surface geometry elements).

Asset Placement

Both Enscape Assets and Custom Assets can be placed on the site context model.

Surfaces in the site context model that can accommodate asset placement are topology, streets, and the tops of buildings.

– To place assets on topography, the topography needs to be toggled so it is visible.
– When selecting topography to place assets on via the bucket tool, the whole site context model will be considered.
This can result in potential performance impacts with high asset density and a large site context surface hogging the GPU’s VRAM and affecting Enscape performance.

Video Tutorial

In this video, we summarize the contents of this article, showcasing the Site Context feature, as well as showing some other useful tips & tricks.

Important Notes
– Depending on the amount of geometry in the area selection, a 10km2 area can increase VRAM usage by approximately 1GB. Furthermore, the download time of the site context model may be increased significantly
– Geometry clipping will occur at 17 kilometers from the camera
– Holes in the project will be covered, if they intersect with the site context model’s topography
– A site context model cannot be inclined and parts of the site context model could be displayed in the air, away from the expected ground plane
– When sharing a CAD model, the site model will be available but not editable
– Site context models are supported in the Enscape Standalone Executable and Web Standalone files
– If you encounter issues with the map itself, we recommend that you contact Openstreet Maps support

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