Creating and using building polygon data from satellite imagery

Simple building footprint polygons can be created and saved in the MCS building file format using the ‘Draw -> Building’ function. Follow the steps below to create building polygons and include them in your predictions.

  1. Create a folder in your project to store the MCS building file(s).

2. Add the Bing map layer or another source of satellite imagery to the Map Layers.

3. Go to ‘Draw -> Draw Building’. Select a wall material type and enter a height value.

4. Click points on the map to draw a polygon for the perimeter of the building. Double-click the last point to snap back to the first point and create a closed polygon. Repeat steps 3 and 4 to create all the building polygons in the area of interest.

Note that if you click and unselect a previously-created building polygon you can select all the polygons before saving by going to ‘Edit –> Select all objects’.

5. With all the buildings selected, right-click a corner point on one of the building polygons and select ‘Save to file’. Save the buildings as a .MCS file in the folder you created.

Note that each MCS file will cover a rectangular area based on the extents of the buildings in the file. MCS file areas my not overlap or the software may fail to include buildings in the overlap area. For this reason it’s important to draw all the buildings in a given area before saving the MCS file.


6. Go to ‘Databases -> Buildings/Floorplans’. Select the MCS file type and set the ‘Building/Floorplan database directory’ to the folder in which you saved the MCS building file. Then click OK. You should now be able to add the Buildings map layer and see the building information on the map.

7. Before running studies, ensure that the ‘Use Building Data’ option is checked within the propagation model settings and that the model you’ve selected is compatible with building data.