algorithmic modeling for Rhino



This is the first release of an add-on which enables the import of GIS data from various sources into the Rhino/Grasshopper environment, located, scaled and cropped based on an Earth Anchor Point and a clipping polygon.  Sources of GIS data include Shapefiles, USGS IMG/HGT Elevation files and ArcGIS REST Services over the web.

The add-on includes eight components in two categories:


  • ESRI REST Service Geocode. Get a Decimal Degree coordinate from an address or Point-of-Interest with the Geocode service provided by ESRI.  
  • Get REST Service Layers. Discover data layers  from various data sources on the web. If the layers are a vector type, they return data similar to a shapefile, with geometry and associated data fields.  To be used with the Get REST Vector or Get REST Raster component depending on the data type.
  • Get REST Raster. Grabs JPGs of imagery from the specified web source.  Once downloaded to a folder the image can be located and scaled to match the boundary in real world units (meters) with the use of the image frame.
  • Get REST Vector.  Queries the web source for geometry and associated data fields.  For instance demographic information from the US Census can be referenced.

GIS Tools

  • Decimal Degrees to XY.  Convert Decimal Degrees to XY coorindates based on the EarthAnchorPoint.
  • Import SHP.  Imports Shapefiles using OGR Libraries. Output is in the form of points (for now) which can then be connected to form polylines.  For Shapefiles with Multipolygons (ie building footprints with courtyards), the component reads mulitple branches of points per Feature.  To get the footprint, you will need to draw a polyline for each branch, shift the branches and use the Boundary Surface component.
  • Import Topo.  Imports IMG and (STRM) HGT files using GDAL Libraries.  Output is in the form of a mesh.
  • Set EarthAnchorPoint.  Runs a macro to set the Earth Anchor Point in Rhino.  This is important to minimize distortion translating from the curved surface of the Earth to Euclidean coordinates.

Special thanks go to the vibrant GH community, the masterful guidance of Andrew Heumann and endless patience of George Waters.

Members: 87
Latest Activity: Sep 7

Discussion Forum

How to PROPERLY install this plugin (with proper links to side sources) 3 Replies

Hello everyone,I feel rather stupid/sleepy for not being able to get this plugin work from the first try. Personally, I have never worked with GIS stuff before, so this is something new and exciting…Continue

Started by Tim. Last reply by Nader Belal Sep 7.

Heron Import SHP Error 3 Replies

Thanks so much for these tools! I'm getting an error message using the Import SHP component that has me stumped. Any ideas what this means?1. Solution exception:The type initializer for…Continue

Started by seth denizen. Last reply by August Lehrecke Apr 13.

REST Raster issue 8 Replies

Hi! For some reason the "REST raster" component is not really working for me. It might be that it has some trouble saving or loading the image I want to visualize. I am uploading the code for you to…Continue

Started by owe. Last reply by Brian Washburn Mar 27.

Errors 10 Replies

Hi! I am quite new to heron…Continue

Started by Mohammad Azhar. Last reply by AKT II Feb 7.

Comment Wall


You need to be a member of Heron to add comments!

Comment by Luis Gordillo on May 23, 2017 at 3:15pm

Hello, I am having trouble with a few components, I've used Heron in the past and it works wonders, however, with the RESTGeocode, it's returning the following error: 1. Solution exception:Input parameter index [-1] too low for Component ESRI REST Service Geocode

No matter the location I type I get no return from location or LAT & LONG.

Any idea what's going on?

Comment by Evgeny Shirinyan on February 16, 2017 at 10:46am

Hi Brian,

The first image is a comparison of the polygons from Heron (in red) and the meshes from InfraWorks (in yellow - selected)

The second image compares the polygons from Heron (in white) and the exported polygons from QGIS (selected hatches in yellow)

The CRS I have used is EPSG:32637 (the area of interest is located in Moscow). Here is the shape file with reprojected data

It would be great not to have this slight rotation. I see it originates from specific use of 3857 within the plugin. Thank you!

Comment by Brian Washburn on February 16, 2017 at 8:14am


What is the coordinate system of the original data before being reprojected?  Can you post a link to source?  What are the red lines the meshes are not matching to?  Apologies if I don't quite understand the issue.

Comment by Evgeny Shirinyan on February 14, 2017 at 2:08pm

Hi Brian!

I am back with my tiny wish list!

Here are two screenshots comparing InfraWorks export of reprojected data and QGIS one with the Heron result. A slight turn and a slight scale difference (~0.004) It would be great if Heron could switch off its 3857 reprojection and I will be able to send analysis results from Rhino to GIS!

I have checked ArcGIS Pro, InfraWorks and FME - all these tools produce meshes that are not suitable for analysis within Rhino. 

Comment by owe on February 8, 2017 at 1:26am

Anybody knows how to generate a shape file from Grasshopper?


Comment by Vittorio Paris on December 30, 2016 at 1:57am


Comment by Brian Washburn on December 29, 2016 at 1:42pm

Vittorio, Try replacing the REST Geocode component currently on the canvas with a new one from the Heron tab.

Comment by Vittorio Paris on December 29, 2016 at 3:15am


I am beginner,  I have a problem when i use heron compare this:

Comment by TJ on September 4, 2016 at 7:50pm

I am sorry to say it... the app seems to be great but, following on my earlier comments, Meerkat imports the shapefile just fine. Geometry and attribute's data trees come with same number of branches, thus no referencing errors and scaling issues occurred.

Comment by TJ on September 4, 2016 at 6:37pm

from the comment below, I noticed, my pointfeatures has more branches than the value output. There maybe a problem importing the shape file or a problem with the database but, it extrudes fine in ArcScene, with no errors.


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