GreenSpider - The Autodesk Revit point clouds plugin

Latest release and download page

Scritto da Silicon_Simon, Giovedì 14 Febbraio 2013, 3:37 pm.



Latest GreenSpider free download is here!

GreenSpider 2.1 GreenSpider is a little piece of code developed to narrow the gap between computational concept design, terrestrial laser scanning and Building Information Modeling. Even if it’s still very primitive, GreenSpider is a free Autodesk Revit plugin developed by Simone Garagnani, taking advantage of Revit API, .NET libraries and C# programming language. GreenSpider conveniently parses ASCII text files representing 3D vertexes, whether generated by computational modeling software or terrestrial laser scanning equipment.

Once installed through this installer package on Windows-based pc's, GreenSpider 2.1 can be accessed in Revit mass modeling environment.

In order to import geometries, especially in form of decimated point clouds, some files called points.gsp (GreenSpiderPoints extension) have to be prepared: gsp format is basically an ASCII text file format where XYZ numerical values, in form of array, represent geometric vertexes dinamically sorted and separated by semicolons, while commas are used for decimal marks. Correct .GSP files are arranged by GreenSpider Translator 1.2, a module which now can be directly invoked inside Revit. The Translator opens XYZ plain files with no normals, recognizes and parses them in correct format. Importing different set of point clouds is now easier since the Translator can be initialized each time through the Reset button, erasing previous .GSP and temp files already acquired in Revit.

GreenSpider 2.1 is way much easier to use than any other previous release! Now users can choose where to store .GSP files, which are to be prepared for single translations no more. Now file can be browsed allowing multiple translations with different names for different slices.

GreenSpider 2.1 icons

GreenSpider is still a prototype, even if it reached its 2.1 release; it allows to run two commands identified by two different drop-down icons in Revit add-ins menu: GSpoints and GScurves. The first one simply imports vertex point cloud as reference points in mass modeling environment, while the second traces a spline interpolation among imported points sorted through a TSP process, in order to build surfaces after recursive .GSP imports.

GreenSpider Translator r1.2 can now perform two different kinds of point sorting, along X and Y axis, in order to allow a better tracing for GScurves command.

GreenSpider was first introduced on May 2012 and extensively described by this scientific paper, in which some case studies are presented. The math behind its sorting algorithm is mostly based on TSP, the travel salesman problem, a well-known case in combinatorial optimization studied in operations research and theoretical computer science.

In fact, since Revit API's NewCurveByPoints(ReferencePointArray) instruction works only with properly consecutive traced reference points, some generic XYZ point clouds are translated into a text file in which sections are represented by values sorted by the nearest neighbor method, along the x-axis and y-axis, as it proved to be effective in TSP solution.

Decimated laser scanner point clouds are imported this way in Revit as many times as needed (using a reset function every time in Translator module), and generated curves can be used to originate surfaces very close to their real geometry. For this achievement, pages on Jeremy Tammik's blog were fundamentals.

However, GreenSpider has to be considered as a concept tool useful to import existing buildings morphologies inside the BIM process, since Revit splines are, as clearly exposed in this illuminating post by Nathan Miller, NURBS with specific knots management, not fully compatible with discrete poligonal modeling influenced by laser scanner devices.

GreenSpider 2.0 (old release) in action.

Installation notes

TC Project and S. Garagnani are not affiliated, or endorsed, or sponsored by Autodesk Inc. Autodesk Revit is a trademark of Autodesk Inc.

The brand new 2.1 installer is more sophisticated than its predecessors. Since the plugin was written taking advantage of RevitAPI2013, it works on both Revit 2013 and 2014. Please choose the right version during the install process.

Warning: Some WinXP/7/8 machines running under DSA or remote login authentication could fail during the install process; in this case, if any error should occur, warning messages from the installer can be safely ignored and this file can be copied in Windows home directory called C:\Users\USER\AppData\Roaming\Autodesk\Revit\Addins\2013 or C:\Users\USER\AppData\Roaming\Autodesk\Revit\Addins\2014.

This software is provided "as is" by S. Garagnani ( and any expressed or implied warranties including, but not limited to, the implied warranties of merchantability and fitness for a particular purpose are disclaimed. In no event shall S. Garagnani be liable for any direct, indirect, incidental, special, exemplary, or consequential damages (including, but not limited to, procurement of substitute goods or services; loss of use, data, or profits; or business interruption).

TC Project and S. Garagnani are not affiliated, or endorsed, or sponsored by Autodesk Inc. Autodesk Revit is a trademark of Autodesk Inc.

GreenSpider releases timeline:

GreenSpider 2.1b (June 16, 2015)
GreenSpider 2.1 (May 25, 2013)
GreenSpider 2.0 (February 15, 2013)
GreenSpider Translator 1.0 (Novembre 26, 2012)
GreenSpider 1.0.2 (May 22, 2012)
GreenSpider intro (April 30, 2012)

Licenza Creative Commons
GreenSpider Revit plugin by Simone Garagnani is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribuzione - Condividi allo stesso modo 3.0 Unported License. Based on a work at



Dal 2004 questo piccolo angolo di rete raccoglie gli interessi di ricerca e i lavori di sperimentazione digitale di Simone Garagnani in materia di cultura geek, ma soprattutto di Building Information Modeling, rilievi digitali ad alta risoluzione e computer graphics legata al mondo dell'architettura, dell'ingegneria e delle costruzioni. TC Project, è presente anche sul social network Facebook.


Welcome to these pages that host since 2004 Simone Garagnani's personal blog, a collection of nerd notes and geek experiences focused sometimes on Building Information Modeling, terrestrial laser scanning, digital photogrammetry and computer graphics applied to the AEC world. The TC Project is also available on Facebook.

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GreenSpider plug-in for Autodesk Revit

Free download here (latest release)



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