Archive site for Autodesk Ecotect Analysis educational resources, notes and tutorials



Ecotect Tutorial : Adjusting Latitude, Longitude and Timezones

Synopsis

The path of the Sun through the sky varies quite significantly for different locations around the world. Thus, it is important that you configure the latitude, longitude and time-zone of your site correctly if you are going to be generating shadows or dealing with incident solar radiation.

Duration

You will need about 5 minutes to complete this tutorial.

Training and Accreditation

This tutorial forms part of the Level 1 skills you require in the Shadows and Reflections teaching package.

Resources Required

You can undertake this tutorial using one of your own models or, if you do not have one suitable at this time, you can download the following example:

If you have a standard install of ECOTECT, you should already have a copy of the required weather data file in your local Weather Data directory. If not, you can download it from:

NOTE: In general, if you do not have appropriate weather data for your particular site, you can always search our own database or obtain raw data from the ever expanding range at the EnergyPlus Weather Data site. Data conversion is done using either WeatherTool or WeatherManager which you can find in the Tools menu in ECOTECT. For more details, see Importing Data topic in the appropriate tool's help file.

Tutorial

To set the location for your model, you can either do it manually in the PROJECT Page located at the top of the tabs running down the left-hand side of the main ECOTECT window, or by loading a weather data file in the Date/Time Toolbar found at the very top near the main menu.

Options for setting the location of the current site.
Options for setting the location of the current site.

Setting the Scene

Imagine we are designing a new building on the site of Cardiff University in Wales. We already have weather data for Cardiff, so we are first going to load that and check its location data.

Using a Weather Data File

  1. In the Date/Time Toolbar, click on the button and then choose the Load Weather File menu item.
    Click on the 'Load Weather File...' menu item.
    Click on the 'Load Weather File...' menu item.
  2. A standard Window File Open dialog box should appear where you can select the weather file for your desired location. By default, ECOTECT looks in the Weather Data sub-folder of the main installation directory. If you have stored your weather data elsewhere, you will need to navigate to that directory first.
  3. Next, click on the file UK-CardiffW.wea displayed towards the end of the list to select it and then on the Open button.
    Opening the 'UK-CardiffW.wea' weather data file.
    Opening the 'UK-CardiffW.wea' weather data file.
  4. A new dialog box will then appear asking if you want to update the global position of your site to match that within the weather file. Click Yes and you have now successfully configured the location of your ECOTECT model to somewhere in Cardiff.
    Click Yes to update the global position.
    Click Yes to update the global position.
  5. You should now be able to see the current site location details on the right-hand side of the Date/Time Toolbar. You should see latitude set to 51.8 deg, longitude to -3.3 deg and a time-zone of +0.0hrs GMT, as shown in the image below.
    The location data obtained from the Cardiff weather file.
    The location data obtained from the Cardiff weather file.

Checking the Location

There are many ways you can obtain the exact latitude and longitude for your site. However, with the increased use of Google Maps and other similar web-based services, it is possible to navigate directly to the actual centre of your site and obtain its location data with an accuracy of 5 decimal places.

  1. To see how close this is, open our own embedded Google Map in the Get World Location topic and enter the search term Cardiff University, then press Go.
    The location data for Cardiff University according to Google Maps.
    The location data for Cardiff University according to Google Maps.
    This should show a data balloon with the actual location according to Google Maps.
  2. This shows a latitude value of 51.483532 deg (as opposed 51.8) and a longitude of -3.148303 deg (as opposed to -3.3).

Obviously the weather station is in a slightly different location to the actual University campus. This slight variation will likely prove insignificant, however as we now have the exact details, we may as well use them.

Setting the Location Manually

  1. To set the location data, first select the PROJECT Page.
  2. Enter 51.48353 in the Latitude: edit box and -3.148303 in the Longitude: edit box, as shown below.
    You can also configure the longitude and latitude manually if required.
    You can also configure the longitude and latitude manually if required.

That's it, once you change to a different page, the new values in location will take effect.

Ecotect Tutorial : Adjusting Date and Time
Ecotect Tutorial : Assign Solar Reflectors

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