Have you imported a PDF file as your site plan? Are now ready to begin generating your existing and proposed surface using contour lines, points and breaklines? 

Contour lines, points and breaks are great to define the terrain, however, tracing these manually is time consuming. In Kubla Cubed 2021, you can extract PDF data quickly from the site plan (or another file). 

Here we guide you through extracting your data from a vector PDF file.



Having added and scaled a PDF site plan in your Kubla Cubed project, you can now extract the vector lines and points to create your existing and proposed surfaces.


To do this:

    1. Add a new Feature Surface
    2. Click the tab for the feature you wish to add (Outlines, Contours, Breaks, Points)
    3. Click the +File (Add from Site Plan or File) button
    4. Select the vector PDF file you want to use to extract data from

      (You will see the Processing message shown opposite. With most files it will only take a few seconds, rather than minutes)


Once you have selected your vector PDF, the below window will appear.

Note: this window will only display the features that can be interpreted as the feature type you have selected, for example:

    • Outlines: Only closed lines will be displayed
    • Contour Lines: Only lines will be displayed
    • Break Lines: Only lines will be displayed
    • Points: Only points will be displayed

You can inspect the layers in the file by clicking on the Layers Bar

You can toggle each layer on and off. Layers which have been turned off will not be imported.

You can also change the colour of layers by clicking in the colour box.

This is purely to help identify different layers in this window, and the changes you make will not be saved into the PDF file.
The other important setting is the units of the file which can be chosen from the drop-down. By default, the units are set to metres if the PDF file’s ‘insertion units’ are metric and to feet if they are imperial (English units).

Note: The ‘insertion units’ variable is often set incorrectly when CAD files are saved; it is important to check the value, is as you expect.

      5. Click Set From Sample.
      6. In the Original Data window, draw a rectangle across the type of line or point you want to import.
      7. View in the Extracted Data window.
      8. Click OK and you lines and points will now show in your project 2D design window.



Points in vector PDF files have different characteristics. 

Points / Cross-hairs without a ‘Z’ value, with text nearby
Points that are a number written as text

Depending on the characteristics of the points, makes a difference to how they import into Kubla Cubed. 


The points will import, however their value will automatically be set to 0.00, if the settings are not set adjusted.

1. Complete steps 1-5 above.

2. Click ‘Set From Sample’

3. Draw around your sample data (highlighted in green)

4. Kubla Cubed will find all the points that are the same and they will show in the ‘Extracted Data’ window.

5. Automatically it will identify the type of point / cross-hair you have selected. 

6. Now check the ‘Points represented by:’ in the drop down option is set to ‘Nearby Text’ (if you don’t the points will import at 0.00)

7. Click OK

8. Add an Outline, either extract from a file or manually trace

9. Click Apply and OK

The software will triangulate and a surface will be generated using the points and other features you have input or extracted.


This is the same method as extracting points without a ‘Z’ value but instead of a point there is just a number written in text. 

Follow the steps above but the ‘Points represented by:’ in the drop down needs to be changed to ‘Text Value’ 


Contour lines are extracted using the ‘Add Features From a PDF File’ method above (Steps 1-8). When extracted from a PDF, they will import into Kubla Cubed with 0.00 (zero) elevations.

To learn how to quickly set the elevations, go to How to Set Elevations for Multiple Contours using the SME tool.


  • Sometimes points / number text are created as lines in CAD and so are not identified by Kubla Cubed. You will need to add these points in manually using the draw tool.
    You many be able to extract the points and then add the value for each point in the editor menu.