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In my opinion modeling of soils in AutoPIPE takes to much time and could/should be simplified. For selected part of the model, including simultanously vertical, horizontal or inclined segments, there are four geometrical methods to define a terrain as a reference plain and it allows to calculate (in AutoPIPE) a height of soil above every node of piping:
First: when we can assume the terrain is flat and horizontal, one point existing in the model - „reference point” or „reference point with offset” – clearly defines „reference plain” as a terrain and position of buried piping;
Second: in case of sloped flat terrain, two points existing in the model could be used to define „reference plain” as a terrain and position of buried piping;
Third: three points existing in the model define one flat plain as a terrain and also clearly allow to calculate height of soil above every node of piping;
Fourth, the most somphisticated: a digital model of terrain could be imported into AutoPIPE model and height of soil above every piping node would be calculated individualy.
I’m aware that implementation of fourth methon from described above is very complicated, but the other three methods can (and should) be accessible in one of next versions of AutoPIPE.