Autodesk Civil 3D 2006 is using a new procedure called a "Data Shortcut" to allow for the collaboration/sharing of Surfaces, Alignments, and Profiles.
Autodesk refers to a shortcut producer as the person who has a source object's drawing open, and then creates the shortcut. The shortcut consumer is the person who uses the shortcut to create a read-only lightweight reference to the source object. This process still allows the consumer to apply local object styles, annotation, limited analysis, and access to the objects properties.
The Autodesk Civil 3D webcast on Friday April 1 will be focused on this capability.