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Importing data

Data Import is an advanced feature which allows you to import tabular data and map specific attributes on to blocks, routes, nodes and subdivisions in your CityCAD model.

You can import data from the following filetypes:

  • CSV
  • XLS or XLSX (Excel™ spreadsheets)

Importing Data - step by step

1. Check that your data file is in the correct format

Your data file needs to be in csv, xls or xlsx format. Some or all elements (block, route, subdivision etc) in your CityCAD model should be listed on a new row in the data file, identified by name or ID.

Including column headers eg. 'Block Name' will make the task easier.

For example, a simple data file to be imported might look like this:


Tip: Export your CityCAD model as a data file first, then use this as a base for any edits or additional data.

If you have exported a data file from CityCAD, then this will generally be in the correct format.

  • If you want to change attributes such as number of storeys, then edit the relevant column directly and re-import the data file.
  • If you want to add custom parameters to elements in your model, then add a column and enter a column header with the name of the new custom parameter you want to add.

Need to import data for floors and subdivisions?

If you want to import data for floors or subdivisions, then you will almost always need to start by exporting the model as a data file, so that the IDs are correct and the elements and subdivisions are in the correct order, before then adding or editing data. (It is normally essential to map floors and subdivisions by ID as many names are usually the same eg. 'Subdivision 1').

2. Open the Data Import window

You can open the Data Import Window in three ways:

  • Go to File Menu: Import: Data
  • In the CityCAD toolbar, go to Import: Data
  • Drag a CSV or Excel file into the CityCAD window. This is quickest as you do not then need to select a file).

The data import window will appear. It is divided into three parts which are explained in more detail below.

  • Import Data into CityCAD
  • Map Data
  • Map Attributes.


3. Map Data into CityCAD

If you dragged a data file into the CityCAD window, then this will already be set. If you have imported a data file previously, then this file will be set.

If no file is selected or if you want to import a different file click 'Browse' to select the data file you wish to import.

If you are importing an Excel file with several worksheets, you can select which worksheet to use by the drop down menu. Please note you cannot import data from more than one worksheet at a time.

4. Map Data

This panel allows you to match up elements in your CityCAD model with rows in your imported data file.

You can use either 'Name' or 'ID' to do this. If you are using 'Name', then make sure that each element in your model has a unique name. Be aware that you may well have duplicate names - for example if you have cut a block in two by drawing a route, then each part will inherit the same name from the original block.

By default, the program will try to match names with names of elements in your model and will make a suggestion. Please check this - if necessary you can adjust each mapping manually by clicking on an entry and selecting from the drop-down menu. For example, a row in the data file may not correspond with any element, or you may wish to map the same row on to several elements in the CityCAD model.

Please let us know if you would also find it useful to map data by position of the elements using x,y coordinates. This is a feature that is under consideration for future versions.

5. Map Attributes

Here, you can set which columns in the data file should be added to the elements chosen in the 'Map Data' panel above.

Note there are different kinds of information that can be mapped:

  • CityCAD Properties (eg. number of storeys, net residential density or land use). This will directly edit the properties of the relevant CityCAD elements.
  • Existing Custom Parameters - if these already exist in your model, then you can update them with new values by choosing a column in the imported data file.
  • New Custom Parameters - this will create new custom parameters from a column of values in your data file. They can be text values, numerical values or a true/false value.

In the screenshot above, in the 'Map Attributes' panel, three mappings have been created - number of storeys (a CityCAD property), Interest (a new text custom parameter) and 'A Quantity' (a numerical custom value).

When 'Proceed' is clicked, the data will be imported and applied to the relevant elements in the CityCAD model.


The number of storeys of each block will be adjusted to the values in the data file, for the blocks which were mapped in the 'Map Data' panel.


New custom parameters 'Interest' and 'A Quantity' will be created, and assigned to the blocks as mapped in the 'Map Data' panel. You can quickly visualize this data by going to View Menu: Shading: Custom Parameters and select as required.


Note that if you import the data as a numerical value, then the shading will take the form of a gradient between the highest and lowest values.


Advanced Settings and Tips


Importing Number Custom Parameters

This is an advanced setting at the bottom of the data import window. It is relevant when importing numerical data which is to be used to create a new custom parameter or to update an existing custom parameter.

There are two options:

  • Adjust element totals. If you are importing a value for an element, the value will be treated as the total value of the element and any floors/subdivisions. The total for the element itself will be adjusted accordingly.
  • Apply to element + subdivision. If you are importing a value for an element, the value will be treated as the value for that element only. The total for the element will include the imported value plus the value for any floors/subdivisions.


Importing unknown land uses

When importing and mapping land uses on to floors or subdivisions, the data file may contain land uses which are not present in the Land Use Manager.

There are two options of dealing with this:

  • create new custom land use - this will create a new custom land use with a name determined by the data file.
  • keep existing land use - this will not import the land use and leave the floor/subdivision with its previous land use.

Creating new custom land uses

When this feature is used, please remember that custom land uses also have a 'Type', which can be 'Residential', 'Office', 'Retail' or 'Other'.

This affects certain outputs in CityCAD, for example the number of units contained in instances of 'Residential'-type land uses are counted as dwellings, and count towards net residential density values.

When you import and create a new custom land use, CityCAD will make a guess as to what type it is, based on a search for a few key words. For example, if you import a land use called '2-bed apartments', the word 'apartments' will be detected and the new land use will be set to a 'Residential' type. However, this system is not infallible - for example a shop called 'home' will be interpreted as a residential land use - and so please double check that newly created land uses have the correct type.

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