Friday, April 28, 2006

Civil 3D 2007 - Feature Enhancements

Aside from the "New Features Workshop" mentioned earlier the "Feature Enhancements" PDF has been very useful in reminding me what is new with Civil 3D 2007. It also contains a summary of what the new features were for previous versions.

Click on the title of this post to get to it.

New Learning Method - Skill Builders

Autodesk has been reorganizing their website. While looking around I recently saw a NEW topic within the HOW-TO section. It is called Skills Builder.

Within this section Autodesk will provide Intermediate to Advanced training on specific segments of Civil 3D.

The first set available is for learning about Superelevations. There is a PDF (the exercise) and the dataset necessary to learn the topic.

To find Skill Builders click on the title of this post or find Skill Builders in the left column of this blog.

Note: I believe that I now have to fix a couple of links in the left column. If you should find any please drop me a note.

Civil 3D 2007 - New Features Workshop

One of the very useful items that I refer to often is the "New Features Workshop" this is a Flash based interface that provides information about what was introduced in Civil 3D 2007. This is similar to what AutoCAD has had available for several releases.

The interface is broken down into four sections with multiple topics and subtopics (topics are listed below, but not the many subtopics):

Survey Data
Alignments and Profiles
Pipe Networks
Survey Data
Design Evaluation
Grading Tools
Project Management
Export Data
Labels and Label Styles
Profile and Profile View Labels
Reports Manager

I had hoped to post this yesterday, but I was out doing training all day. What do you know, this was also mentioned during today's Civil 3D Webcast.

Tuesday, April 25, 2006

Civil 3D 2007 Installation Option

As we have begun installing Civil 3D 2007 on computers around the office, one of the questions that is asked during installation is if we wish to place a "Civil 3D as AutoCAD 2007" icon on our desktop?

This will provide two icons using different Profiles on the desktop. One of them will run as plain, simple AutoCAD. I am sure that there will be those that will appreciate not having to manually create this ability.

Monday, April 24, 2006

Civil 3D 2007 on DVD

Our Civil 3D 2007 arrived today. When I opened the box I was a little surprised to only see 2 discs. My first thought was that Land Desktop was not in the box. Maybe, it would arrive separately. Then I remember that Civil 3D 2007 is shipped on a DVD. So it turned out one disc (DVD) was Civil 3D and the other was Land Desktop.

Hopefully, this will not be a problem for your organization.

Wednesday, April 19, 2006

AUGI CAD Camp Follow up

Yesterday, we at KETIV Technologies hosted an AUGI CAD Camp here in Orange County, California.

Among the many classes available, John Rodriguez and I conducted three class on Civil 3D 2006:

Pipe Networks

Based on the feedback, the classes were well received, and show that there is a significant interest in Civil 3D and how it will be adopted.

We also had a brief "Lunch and Learn" about Civil 3D 2007 where some of the more useful new capabilities were demonstrated.

Oh, and by the way, I read in the Civil 3D discussion group that someone here in California received their Civil 3D 2007 subscription fulfillment today.

Tuesday, April 18, 2006

New Civil 3D Discussion Group - Customization

There is a new Discussion Group involving Civil 3D.

Civil 3D Customization is intended as the site for...

- A place to ask questions about customization of Civil 3D
- A forum for API and customization feature requests
- A way to share and explore with Autodesk, and each other, about forward-looking functionally.

The title of this post gets you to the browser version of the Discussion Group. You will also find a link in the links section in the left column <<----.

Monday, April 17, 2006

Second 2007 Step - Autodesk DWG Trueview 2007

As of Friday April 14th Autodesk DWG Trueview 2007 was available for download.

The Documentation states...

DWG TrueView™ software is a free, downloadable product used to accurately view, plot, and publish authentic DWG™ files. Easily share AutoCAD® drawings among engineers and architects, view and plot DWG™ and DXF™ files, and then publish them as DWF™ files for quick and easy review by extended team members. DWG TrueView 2007 has new UI improvements and supports the latest DWG file format, DWF viewing installation, and 3D DWF publish.

This is the second 2007 based freely download-able utility (the first was DWG TrueConvert).

Click on the title of this post to get to the download page.

By the way, Civil 3D 2007 should begin arriving this Friday (April 21, 2006).

Saturday, April 15, 2006

Bootcamp Day Five - Three Homeruns

Thursday was my fifth and final day at bootcamp. It turned out to be my favorite one.

Why? Well, Autodesk hit three homeruns with me. One for each of the subjects that I covered that day.

Pipes: The additions to pipes were excellent. New rules for both pipes and structures. Structure properties that include pipe inverts that can be edited. Rules can be reapplied at my choosing. Create a network from a pline. Create an alignment from a network. Import LDT pipe runs. Interference checking for collisions or clearance (COOL!). New grips in profile.

Corridors: Lots here too. Many new spiral types. Constrained profiles (similar to horizontal alignments, Fixed, Floating, Free). Floating parabolic curves can now end a profile. Three new transparent commands (profile station from plan view, profile station and elevation from plan view, and profile station and elevation from plan view and point). Profile geometry point can now be labeled in plan views. Customizable markers replace hard-coded ones. Quick profiles, which can include the baseline geometry itself. Two new profile bands: Sectional data and Pipe Network data. Corridors regions can have styles (outlines). Graphical edit can be done. Individual sections can be edited. Corridor surfaces are true surfaces on Prospector tab. 16 new subassemblies. Two new tables: Total Volumes, Materials.

General Drafting: We will now have a Toolbox tab to the Toolspace. This will include reports, but can include custom created tools. Text masking can be added to ALL labels, they can also have a draw order specified. There is now a NOTE label for any text item. We can label basic lines and curves. Reference text in labels can be created from any combination of object(s). Expressions allow us to due math computation with object data (EXCELLENT!!!). We will be able to copy label components. Drag-and-Drop styles will now prompt to Overwrite or Rename. And perhaps my favorite of all EDIT INDIVIDUAL LABEL TEXT VALUES.

It was a very useful and educational week. As you can see there is much to learn, absorb, and incorporate into our habits. That being said, I am sure glad to be home.

I'll be back soon with more detailed posts.

Wednesday, April 12, 2006

Bootcamp Day Four - Survey and Grading

It has been four days, and there is only one to go. For as much information as has been shared, there is still much more to go over.

What does that mean? It means that there are a LOT of additions, improvements, and tweaks to Civil 3D in the 2007 version.

For example the new Survey capabilities. These not only replace what many may have used in the Autodesk Survey add-on to Land Desktop, but they do much more in an easier to use interface that speeds up corrections.

Take the ability to look at the observation object and see, based on the raw data, where the points will be located. Errors (busts) can be seen, easily corrected, and the fixed data converted into good cogo points.

I really enjoyed working with all of the new Feature Line tools. Considering the amount of users that do site grading that I've interacted with lately I know that these new tools will be VERY MUCH appreciated.

Like what you may ask? Certainly, the Stepped Offset command, (similar to the Create Curb command in LDT), was long overdue, but things like feature line vertex weeding, smoothing, fit curve, and filleting, to name a few, give us abilities that are easy to learn and we will want to use.

Tomorrow I will be seeing the new Corridor stuff. I can't wait.

Tuesday, April 11, 2006

Bootcamp Day Three - Vault, Map 3D, and Raster Design

Well, it was one busy day. Far too much information for just one post. Here is the smallest of tiny snippets.

The first half, 4 hours, was spent exploring Autodesk Vault. It will be like learning to ride a bike. It is not immediate. Ultimately, it is not incredibly hard, and actually can be somewhat empowering. A few will likely find it tough. But, with proper guidance it should be very useful. Remember I mentioned PROPER GUIDANCE. The fact that some will try to implement this on their own, the "We are engineers after all" group, will likely lead a few to some frustration. But then again, what does not. Even learning to tie your shoes had to be taught. There will be some change in how things are done, and some individuals and companies embrace change more willingly than others.

If we choose to embrace it (not necessary for small projects and project teams) it can be very useful. Because it is going to be new for most, and it requires certain steps and decisions that some would rather not make at this point in time, I can see some as avoiding it. But, that will be as futile as was avoiding the dawn of automobiles and aviation. Things will be different.

As for Map 3D and Raster Design. My favorite new ability was draping an image on a 3D surface with Raster Design. This definitely reminded me of Google Earth.

Bootcamp Day Two - Implementation

It turns out that instead of everyone being together in one big ISD group we have been subdivided and placed in smaller classrooms. Every session a new instructor comes to our Classroom. That means that we are learning subjects in different orders from one another. That is why other bloggers may post about different subjects.

Yesterday, my subjects were Implementation and Networking. Basically, this was a good recap of the ICE training.

Today, I will be seeing Autodesk Vault. That should be good.

Sunday, April 09, 2006

Bootcamp Day One - AutoCAD 2007

Day one: We went over the two most significant additions to AutoCAD.

They have been mentioned before. The 3D solid modeling which gets some of it's functionality from Autodesk Inventor, and the new visualization capability that inherits items from Autodesk 3D Studio Viz. Two terms that impressed me were related to visualiztion. The first was Edge Overhang and the second was Edge Jitter.

Both were used in the image above. When we want a view to appear to be hand drawn Edge Overhang makes lines extend beyond the intersection by the amount of the setting, and Edge Jitter gives the appearance of multiple hand drawn lines in place of the one perfect line. The interesting thing is we can work in this mode and Visualiztion Styles can quickly change between different modes.

Other new terms and capabilities include...

Walk and Fly for manuevering in 3D.

The creation of animations gets significantly more powerful and useful.

"Shift + Mouse Wheel" to 3DOrbit (Default in AutoCAD, not default in Civil 3D).

There are MANY more Materials that can be applied from both Inventor and 3D Studio Viz.

We can render cropped views for quick checking before actual renders.

Perhaps most interesting of all is that most of this is relatively simple to use. That is good news for Instructors, Technical Support Staff, and most importantly Users.

I hope to check in tomorrow.

Thursday, April 06, 2006

Off To Dallas

You may have read or heard that beginning Sunday (Yes, Sunday), Autodesk is holding a conclave, I mean Bootcamp for resellers. Among the many attendees, those of us that support the Infrastructure Solutions Division (ISD) (Autodesk-ese for Civil Engineering, Land Planning and Surveying) will ALL go through the same training for Civil 3D 2007, Map 2007, Raster Design 2007, and AutoCAD 2007.

We will be shown as much of the new stuff as can be stuffed into 5 days. This should include the new project management (Autodesk Vault), survey, grading, and labeling capabilities. I hope to post frequently to give glimpses and impressions.

I will be getting there a little early in an attempt to...

1. Clear my head for the arrival of new information and...
2. For some long needed R&R (suggestions needed).

I certainly am looking forward to this Bootcamp, and to seeing friends and acquaintances in the industry.

Oh, by the way, this in the 200th post to this blog, and a day or two ago the 50,000th visit occured. Thank you for taking the time to check here for information. Based on the increase in daily visits, clearly interest in Civil 3D is on the rise.

Wednesday, April 05, 2006

LandXML Revisited

What is Land XML? LandXML is a non-proprietary data standard created by a consortium of industry partners to share (import/export) "civil engineering data".

What type of data? Currently, LandXML 1.0, supports Cogo Points, Point Groups, Surfaces, Watersheds, Parcels, Alignments, Alignment Profiles, Alignment Cross Sections, and Pipe Networks. Shortly, 1.1 will addtionally support survey and corridors model data.

How do we use it? In Civil 3D from the "General" menu pulldown select "Import LandXML..." or "Export LandXML..."

What can we do with it? It can be used for any of the following:

1. To transfer data from a supported software application to another supported application (like LDt to Civil 3D).

2. To convert data from imperial units to metric or vice versa (automatically).

3. To globally translate/rotate coordinates (via settings).

4. To archive data at important milestones.

5. To generate reports about civil objects/data (via LandXML Reporting).

6. To allow 3D viewing of civil objects/data in a LandXML viewer (such as Autodesk Envision 8).

Six years after in was introduced it is amazing that MANY groups that would clearly benefit from the use of LandXML do not know of it's existance. Many people have dropped the ball on this one.

For example, I have used LandXML to export civil data from corrupt Civil 3D drawings and then imported the data into a clean new drawing. Problem solved.

Click on the title of this post to get to the website and see examples, list of support software, and other facts.

I am revisting this topic for a few reasons. The first is because I am adding information to it. The second is because when someone does a "SEARCH THIS BLOG", via the button in the upper left hand corner, for any topic of interest, the search mechanism only goes back one year and the original post was on Feb. 14, 2005 (a little more than 1 year ago). Thirdly, because it has been one of the most viewed posts of all time (within this blog of course). Lastly, I am revisiting this subject because LandXML 1.1 is within days (weeks?) of being ratified and it will include additional capabilities.

Tuesday, April 04, 2006

New Civil 3D White Paper

Autodesk has just posted a NEW white paper titled "Using Civil 3D for Hydrologic and Hydraulic Tasks".

This white paper explains the types of such tasks that can be performed with Civil 3D 2006 despite the fact that Civil 3D does not contain specific functions for hydrologic and pipeflow analysis.

This paper was written by Mark Scacco PE, president of Engineered Efficiency, Inc., who has written many white papers for Civil 3D.

Click on the title of this post to see the document.

In the left column, <<--- you can additionally find a link to the Civil 3D white papers page of the Autodesk website. This page currently contains a total of 7 PDFs.