InfraWorks is an incredibly powerful conceptual design and visualization tool. Much of this power rests in its ability to visualize what could be in the context of what is. Put another way, with InfraWorks you can visualize not only your proposed designs, but also the context of those designs at a city scale. Although the platform itself is capable of managing large city-scale datasets with ease, that ability is for naught if you lack the data necessary to visualize existing conditions in the first place.
This is where the Model Builder functionality built into InfraWorks comes in. Similar in concept to the depreciated Import from Google Earth command formerly in AutoCAD Civil 3D, Model Builder queries publicly available data sources, and builds a 3D model for you within minutes. Unlike the former Civil 3D Google Earth functionality, Model Builder queries not just terrain data and imagery data, but also road and building data for an area up to 200 Square kilometers (approximately 77 Square miles).
Because of the interoperability between AutoCAD Civil 3D and InfraWorks, the data queried by Model Builder is easily imported into Civil 3D. This means, while we no longer have the ability to import terrain information from Google Earth (because of changes in Google’s policy, not Autodesk), we can get terrain data and a lot more into Civil 3D with Model Builder.