Thursday, December 20, 2007

New Storm Sewer Extension Workflow Whitepaper

A new 20 page whitepaper has been published that is titled:

Using Hydraflow Storm Sewers Extension with AutoCAD Civil 3D 2008:
A Recommended Workflow

This whitepaper explains some of the basic functionality of the Storm Sewer Extension and gives some guidance on how to move data back and forth between the Extension and AutoCAD Civil 3D 2008.

If you have already downloaded the extension (available for Subscription customers only) this whitepaper can jumpstart your use of it.

If not, this paper can clarify what is being offer by the Extension.

Be Better!

Wednesday, December 19, 2007

Civil 3D, AU Online, and my Goals

As a somewhat new Autodesk employee, my attendance of Autodesk University 2007 was a very different experience for me. I was not able attend as many classes as I thought that I would, but being there was ENTIRELY worthwhile.

Now to my goals. I have told myself that I will read every Civil 3D handout available (.pdfs and a few .docs) and watch every Civil 3D Screencast that is posted at AU Online.

Let me attempt to put this into perspective. By my count there were 61 different (non-repeated) Civil 3D related classes and labs available this year. 48 of those classes have their handouts available at AU Online (actually a couple I had to download at sites related to the authors). 43 of the classes have Screencast available to be viewed (I think all 43 can also be downloaded). I believe only one of the 61 classes did not have a handout available and did not have a Screencast. That means that I can virtually attend 60 of the 61 classes in one form or another.

Every AU attendee has access to AU Online as do Autodesk Subscription customers. So many of you can do similar. :^)

I have already had the opportunity to read three of the 48 handouts that I have (This has made for good bedtime reading). I can also say that I have learned some things that I did not know. I wonder how long this will take me?

P.S. This reminds me that I did not have a chance to get one of the cd's that contained all of the handouts from all of the classes. Oh well.

Bye for now. BE BETTER!

Thursday, December 13, 2007

Storm Sewer Extension, Webpage, Discussion Group, and Recorded Webcast Available

My Outlook Express informed me that a NEW discussion group was available among the Autodesk newsgroups today. It is titled Stormwater. Well, after a little bit of poking around I found all of the following

A webpage regarding the newly available Storm Sewers Extension.

The Storm Sewers Extension is now available for download from the Subscription Center by Subscription customers.

"The Civil 3D - Stormwater" discussion group (Web Browser version) can be found here.

The recorded webcast about this extension can be viewed here.

This is all a result of our acquisition of Intelisolve recently.
This should fill a need for many. I hope that this helps.

Wednesday, December 05, 2007

My Autodesk University 2007 Thoughts

My primary thought regarding last week's Autodesk University was how relatively smooth things appeared to have run. Place about 10,000 people anywhere and there is likely to be some mayhem. Not so, from my perspective, last week. Although I know some things went wrong (I saw one class closed due to too many attendees), things seemed to run smoother than in previous years. There were not ridiculously long lines for meals or traffic jams at the escalators. The class I taught went as smooth as I could have hope for (thanks to all who attended it).

AU is a great event for many reasons. First and foremost, let me mention the learning of tons of information. This is done with both lectures and hands-on labs. The classes are taught by arguably the best of the best across the globe. We get to see friends that we have not seen since perhaps the last AU. We get to meet new friends. We get to network with both old and new friends, Autodeskers, resellers, new users, and experienced users for tips, tricks, recommendations, and thoughts. We get to rub elbows with the Civil 3D development team. The Venetian is a top notch place. There is all the food you can eat and the drinks you can drink. There are socials and parties to unwind at. We get four nights of accommodations. There is entertainment. There is an exhibit hall with vendors selling things and giving things away. There were competitions and puzzles to solve and prizes to win. And if all that is not enough, oh yeah, you are in Las Vegas (I heard that there may be a thing or two to do and see around town ;^) ). No wonder I returned home so tired.

If we missed anything, afterwards we can download ALL of the handouts from ALL of the classes with AU Online. We can watch many classes that were recorded with AU Online.

At around $1500 for early bird registration this year's event was WELL WORTH IT.

So, if you were not able to attend this year. You may want to start planning for next year.

Find out about the Storm Sewer Extension

As announced on the Civil 3D Live Webcasts page, this Friday Dec. 7, 2007 Dave Simeone, Civil 3D Product Manager, will be demonstrating the NEW Storm Sewer Extension for AutoCAD Civil 3D 2008. He will also describe a recommended workflow and how to get it.

Registration is required. Register now.

Wednesday, October 31, 2007

What Commands In Civil 3D Do You Use Most?

I recently saw some the results of a study of the most used Civil 3D commands. The top three were:

  1. EditSurfaceProperties (by far)
  2. GradingElevEditor
  3. EditCorridorProperties
I doubt that anyone was very surprised. I just found the information interesting.

Monday, October 22, 2007

Survey Link for AutoCAD Civil 3D 2008

There is an extension now available for AutoCAD® Civil 3D® 2008 customers on Autodesk Subscription. The extension is...

AutoCAD Civil 3D 2008 Survey Link

It allows raw survey data to be converted into an Autodesk field book file (.fbk) and then imported directly into Civil 3D 2008. No longer will we need to use Land Desktop in this process.

This downloadable extension requires that Civil 3D 2008 Service Pack 2 be already installed.

Login to subscription center to download.

Yes, it is the same as is available in Land Desktop, now directly available in Civil 3D 2008.

Service Pack 2 Update

If you receive a "1603 error" when installing Service Pack 2 for AutoCAD Civil 3D 2008, download and install the Service Pack again. Some users were getting the error which involved custom profiles. A newer Service Pack was posted and will correct those particular problems.

If you installed the original Service Pack (the newer Service Pack was posted Friday about 4 pm EDT) without any error (my original SP installed fine), there is no need to reinstall the newer Service Pack.

Thursday, October 18, 2007

AutoCAD Civil 3D 2008 Service Pack 2 Available

Service Pack 2 was posted for download. This Service Pack includes the following:

Service Pack 1 for AutoCAD 2008
Service Pace 1 for AutoCAD Map 3D 2008
Over 70 updates for AutoCAD Civil 3d 2008

Also available is Service Pack 2 for Land Desktop Companion 2008.

Friday, October 12, 2007


As I have "on-boarded" with Autodesk I have been impressed with the tremendous amount of information and the variety of training that we as employees have access to in order to do our jobs well.

I recently received information about how the Customer Error Reports (CERs) that are sent in are used. I now have understanding of some of the processes that analyze the reports.

CERs are absolutely the last thing that any Civil 3D users wishes to encounter. In my travels I have met users that say that submitting CERs is a waste of time. Nothing could be further from the truth. These reports not only help the development team identify areas of the application that need attention. They also help prioritize which problems would provide the most impact, to the most people, the quickest.

The CERs are categorized by many different common factors. Trends or consistencies are determined and the item(s) with the largest numbers get the majority of the attention. Very straight forward.

In closing, I would say as unpleasant as it may be, PLEASE! always send the CERs. This will help your organization the most by placing focus on issues that are hampering YOU of YOUR organization's users. Otherwise, the focus may go to issues that are, comparatively speaking, of lesser importance to the entire industry.

Thursday, September 13, 2007

NEW Skill Builder

On the Skill Builders page there is a new skill builder called Using Projection Grading and Feature Lines Effectively.

Download the .zip file and extract a drawing and a 20 page .pdf file. The .pdf file contains 9 mini exercises that walk us through the concepts described in the 32 page Grading Best Practices Supplement.

Friday, August 31, 2007

Data Management Server 2008 Service Pack 1

OK, Let's try again from the top.

Service Pack 1 for Vault 2008 and Productstream 2008 has been reposted.

Service Pack 1 for Vault 2008 and Autodesk Productstream 2008 fixes a variety of issues pertaining to both of these products. As always, carefully read the Readme file (it is not very big), it provides installation instructions, details of corrections, and additional information.

By the way, this service pack does apply if your are using Vault 2008 with Civil 3D 2008, Civil 3D 2007 (with ADMS 2008 Support Patch), Civil 3D Land Desktop 2008 Companion(Subscription only), and Land Desktop 2008(Subscription only).

Tuesday, August 28, 2007

AU 2007 Registration Open

I should have mentioned this earlier, but we are now accepting registration for Autodesk University 2007, to be held at the Venetian Resort in Las Vegas, Nevada from Tuesday Nov. 27 through Friday Nov. 30.

Early registration is until October 7th, and saves you $500.

Many classes will fill-up and will be closed to later registrants, so register soon.

By the way, I will be giving a 90 minutes class, CV110-2 "Cul-de-Sacs Are Not a Dead End" on Tuesday Nov. 27th from 1:00 PM until 2:30 PM.

I hope to see you there.

Monday, August 27, 2007

Data Management Server 2008 Service Pack 1 Pulled

Friday, we released Service Pack 1 for Vault 2008 and Autodesk Productstream 2008. Unfortunately, there was a problem for certain configurations. A newer service pack will be made available very quickly.

If you downloaded Service Pack 1 and have not yet installed it please wait for the newer service pack.

Check back for more information.

Tuesday, August 21, 2007

New Webcast CD

It is that time again. There is a new CD of recorded webcasts available. This CD has approximately 55 recorded sessions (that is over 1 years worth), ending May of 2007.

Additionally the CD contains white papers and custormer success stories.

I have always treasured my CDs and DVD of recorded webcast for the ability to view them anytime, anywhere.

Click on the links to get to the order page.

Friday, August 17, 2007

Purge Registry Applicatons Utility

Last month, at the Civil CADD Consortium meeting James Maeding of Hunsaker & Associates, presented a utility that would address an issue that has haunted many a CADD user over the years. The issue locally was referred to as "file bloat".

This occurs when a seemingly blank drawing is inexplicably large in file size. Well, we now know that this occurs when data is introduced from one drawing into another via one of many methed (i.e. block insert, drag-and-drop). The registered application table of the first drawing is added to the table of the second. If I use that second drawing, erase all of it's entities and save that "blank" drawing to start a new drawings, my 'template" will be far larger than I would expect. Over the years some users found that a "blank" drawing may be as large as 2MB in size. The -PURGE command's suboption "R" will purge these registered applications only within the current drawing.

Back to the original comment, by clicking on the title of this post you will be taken to the download page at Here you will find a utility (PurgeIDS 2007)that will purge the registered applications from multiple drawings simultaneously without the need of opening each file idividually. James demonstated how this can be done with dozens even hundreds of files quickly, saving a lot of time for an organization.

I want to thank James (and some Autodeskers who helped with this routine) for making this process much more streamlined.


Today, in the discussion groups user "sinc" (I believe that that is James Sincovec, P.L.S. or perhaps Richard J. Sincovec, LSI) posted a link to a URL that contains a collection of Civil 3D utilities. After briefly reviewing the list I thought that there would be Civil 3D users out there that would find them useful. A couple of the listed routines that caught my attention are...

PARCELOFFSET (alias POS) - Creates offsets at various distances around a parcels.
PT2FEATURE - Datum-adjusts existing point, based on existing linework.

This collection of utilities address: Surfaces, Parcels, Alignment, Profiles, Survey Figures, Feature Lines, Points

There is a download for 2007 and one for 2008.

As with any product or application particularly 3rd party stuff care and security should be taken when using them (typical disclaimer here...).

Thanks to James and all involved for sharing!

Tuesday, August 14, 2007

Custom Autodesk RSS Feeds

It is possible to create a custom RSS feed that notifies us when Updates, Hotfixes, or Service Packs become available for various products of our choosing.

Click on the title of this post to get to a page where we can select one or multiple products. Then press the "Create Custom Feed" button to be taken to another page where the custom feed URL can be aquired. This page also contains links to automatically subcribe our newly create custom feed into various desktop and web-based RSS feed readers.

It is interesting that Outlook 2007, Internet Explorer 7, and 2008 Autodesk products can now accomodate RSS feeds. This proves that receiving specific information of our choosing via the internet is a very import part of being in-touch with our world.

If we select multiple applications for the custom feed, and because Updates/Technical Solutions might be posted to various products simultaneously there may be some duplication of information. If our custom feed is for only one application, duplication of information typically does not occur.

Monday, August 13, 2007

Ask Lucy

When I mentioned the Civil 3D Resource Center previously I did not mention the "ASK LUCY" page. Not intented to be a replacement for technical support (clearly stated on the page) this is an avenue for an FAQ that you have not yet seen answered.

I would like to thank Lucy Kuhns, a close co-worker of mine, for all of the energy that she ( and the autodesk team that support these pages) provide the civil engineering community via this site!

Land Desktop Companion 2008 SP1

I had not yet mentioned that Service Pack 1 for Land Desktop Companion 2008 was made available earlier this month.

Thursday, August 02, 2007

Northern Pacific Civil Consortium

Last Thursday, I was fortunate enough to attend a meeting of the Northern Pacific Civil Consortium (NPCC). This is a group of CADD managers for Civil Engineering companies in the Sacramento, California area.

This group meets on the fourth Thursday of every month, to discuss issues, have presentation, and share knowledge about matters that they have in common. NPCC is modeled on the highly successful Civil CADD Consortium (C3) group in Southern California that I have mentioned before.

Subjects of this last meeting were
  1. AUGI AU Promo
  2. Educational grants of Autodesk software
  3. Autodesk software home use policy
  4. Sheet Set Manager Demonstation
Although the August meeting is a planning meeting for current members only, potential new attendees may want to place the September meeting on your calendars. It will be on Thursday, September 27th at 5:00 PM. Contact the current President David Zavislan at FirstnameDotLastnameAtNolteDotCom (Please forgive the need for this precaution) for meeting location information.

So, if you are a CADD Manager for a Civil Engineering company in the Sacramento area, and wish to be a part of such a organization, I highly recommend that you attend and/or join this group. Changes

For those that are not yet aware has a new look and some new capabilities. There is always good, new information to be found there. Drop by and see for yourselves.

I would not normally post about a cosmetic change to any site. But this site has so much good information I figured that I would take this opportunity and mention them again.

Thursday, July 26, 2007

Leica X-Change for Civil 3D 2008 Available Now

Some have been inquiring as to when this plug-in would be available.

Wednesday, July 25, 2007

AutoCAD Civil 3D 2008 Service Pack 1

Just posted on the Autodesk website is Service Pack 1 for AutoCAD Civil 3D 2008. The Readme indicates over 125 fixes in 14 segments of the software were resolved by this service pack.

Tuesday, July 24, 2007

Autodesk Vault in Wikipedia

I found the following while doing some research. I thought some might find it interesting.

Friday, June 22, 2007

New! Civil 3D Resource Center

I was a little out of the loop as to when this was officially launched, but Autodesk (yes Autodesk, I do not start until Monday) has provided a new resource for those that are just beginning to acquire information about Civil 3D. The site is the AutoCAD Civil 3D Resource Center. Toby Jutras mentioned it during today's webcast.

This site contains tutorials, FAQ's, customer success stories, whitepapers, and links to other items such as the recorded webcasts (I have tried to see every one).

I have not been through this entire site, but I hope to very soon.

Friday, June 15, 2007

More News

Charles Kettering (1876-1958) was a great invertor. He helped invent the electronic ignition system ("electric starter motor") for cars in 1911. He received patent #1,150,523 (one of over 300) in 1915 for that invention. He additionally invented other automotive ignition and lighting systems, lacquer finishes for cars, antilock fuels, freon, leaded gasoline, an electronic cash register, an incubator for premature infants, Duco paint, and helped develop the diesel engine.

Why do I mention Mr. Kettering today? Because among the many things he is famous for having said, he was quoted as saying...

"The world hates change, yet it is the only thing that has brought progress."

This statement has more than one meaning for me today. I will tell you why...

On Monday June 25th I will be joining Autodesk. I am very excited about this change, and am looking forward to the progress that lies ahead.

Additionally, I am well aware of what change means to a well established and understood workflow. But, knowing what I know about engineering design workflow, and what I know about Civil 3D, I am absolutely convinced that the change to implement Civil 3D is the road to progress. That is why I began this blog 3 years ago.

I appreciate the warm wishes, thoughts and prayers during this time of change.

On with the progress!

p.s. Thank you Mr. Kettering for what you accomplished and for your wise words.

Friday, June 08, 2007

New and Updated Whitepapers

As announced by Dan Philbrick, Autodesk's Civil 3D Software Development Manager, in the blog he shares with Dave Simeone, "The Dave and Dan Civil 3D Show" Autodesk has just released one new whitepaper and updated a previous whitepaper.

The new whitepaper is titled:

Best Practices for Working with Large Data Sets

The updated whitepaper is:

Civil 3D 2008 Project Management Using Autodesk Vault

Lastly, Dan mentions technical solution 1071001 that involves enabling Window to over-ride the 2GB limit for applications and allow Civil 3D to use 3GB of physical memory to improve performance.

All of this information is very useful and much appreciated. Thanks Autodesk.

Saturday, June 02, 2007


As of a couple of days ago, I am no longer with KETIV Technologies.

More to come...

Tuesday, May 29, 2007

"Grading Best Practices" White Paper

Autodesk has released today a document that will describe the two primary methods for completing a grading design, and more importantly this document gives us a very thorough examination of the "Best Practices" involved with their use.

"Grading Best Practices", at 32 pages, is a very important read for anyone who wishes to use these tools as they were intended and with the guidance that helps produce accurate, and stable results.

I am sure that many will find this document to be a critical new tool.

Thursday, May 24, 2007

A Couple More Blogs

I have recently run across...

Civil 3D Worldwide by Rad Lazic (a friend)


CommTech CAD Café by Brian J. Hailey and LuAnn Sims

I wish all of you success in these efforts.

Monday, May 21, 2007

Drape Image - Skill Builder

This skill builder has been available for a little while, but I had not had the opportunity to mention it yet. The 14-page "Skill Builder" titled "Draping an Image on a Surface Using AutoCAD Civil 3D 2008" shows us how to just that. This includes...

  1. Setting up a surface style
  2. exporting design data to Google Earth to locate appropriate image location
  3. Fine tuning Google Earth for suitable image
  4. Importing Google Earth image
  5. Draping image on to Civil 3D 2008 surface

Civil 3D 2007 & ADMS 2008, Service Pack

Because Civil 3D 2007 installs Autodesk Data Management Server (ADMS) 5 and Civil 3D 2008 installs ADMS 2008, and because these two items can not co-exist on the same machine, Autodesk has released for Civil 3D 2007 - ADMS 2008 Support Patch. This will allow Civil 3D 2007 with Service Pack 3 to connect to ADMS 2008.

This will solve this challenges for those that are configured this way..

Friday, May 18, 2007

LandXML White Paper

I am not certain when this white paper was released, but we can now download a 6 page white paper titled "LandXML Drawing Support".

This paper contains information about importing and exporting LandXML data in AutoCAD Civil 3D 2008.

Unfortunately, many people who would benefit from the use of LandXML are either completely or significantly unaware of how LandXML can contribute to increasing the efficiency of their design processes. This paper is a good first step to see what data can be shared to other users, applications, and agencies.

Wednesday, May 09, 2007

"Experience The Possibilities" Tour

On Wednesday May 16, 2007 we here at KETIV Technologies will be at Autodesk's North American tour when they stop in Anaheim, CA (about 5 miles from our offices). We will be available to provide lots of information about the 2008 family of products.

I hope to see you there.

Tuesday, May 08, 2007

Be Fruitful and Multiply

Here is another Civil 3D blog. Cristopher F. from San Luis Obispo, CA writes Civil 3D Reminders. He has shared several undocumented commands.

Good job Christopher.

Monday, May 07, 2007

New AutoCAD Civil 3D Blog

Autodesk's Sanay Asnani has started a Civil 3D blog called 2D to (Civil) 3D.

Sanjay is Autodesk's Civil 3D evangelist to the educational community. Sanjay's role will effect the future by contributing to the exposure of Civil 3D to engineering students across the country. Plus he has behind the scenes knowledge that we will likely benefit from.

Sanjay, we look forward to your efforts.

Wednesday, April 18, 2007

Force North Bearing

Many Civil 3D users have requested the ability to "Force North" bearings on line labels in the product for quite a awhile. As it turns out, althought there is no setting to do this exactly we can accomplish this with the use of an expression. I discussed this with a few Autodesk personel and Peter Funk, Autodesk Product Manager, put me on the right track by saying "...this should be do-able with an expression". Well, he was right the following expression, when applied in a Parcel Line Label style will accomplish just that. I created a Parcel Line Label Expression called "North Only" and defined it as...

IF(({Segment Direction} > pi/2) * ({Segment Direction} < (3*pi/2)),{Segment Direction} - pi, {Segment Direction})

Basically, this will subtract 180 degrees from lines in the second and third quadrants.

For some reason, my image capture will not upload at the moment, but this does work. Give it a try.

Tuesday, April 17, 2007

Live From Orlando

I have been in Orlando since Sunday evening. Autodesk is hosting all reseller technical personnel in what is called a "Tech Camp". Today I got my first guided instruction for Autodesk Civil 3D 2008. Among the items covered in my sessions today, my favorite had to do with working with large amounts of data. I was pleasantly surprised by how fast certain things were happening even with LOTS of data. Plus they gave us tips to make things work faster. I will share these as soon as I can organize my many notes.

The best part of Tech Camp is getting together with friends and aquantances from around the country and sharing thoughts, stories, experiences, and what we've learned.

The sessions I am looking most forward to will occur tomorrow and Thursday. I'll be back then.

Friday, April 06, 2007

Today's (OOPS Last Weeks) Webcast (3-30-07)

I thought that I had posted this. Apparently not. Sorry. ACE

One thing became apparent to me during today's Civil 3D webcast titled "Introduction to AutoCAD Civil 3D 2008", and that was that Autodesk has been listening to the suggestions, complaints, and wishes from users. There were many usability enhancements shown during the one hour webcast by Dave Simeone (Civil 3D Senior Product Manager) and Dan Philbrick (Civil 3D Development Manager).

As I have been learning about Civil 3D 2008 I have been surprised by how many little improvements were added, where I found myself thinking "Yeah, this is better. Yes, I would prefer to do that this way instead of the old way".

I am looking forward to doing more with, and learning more about, 2008. Training demands do limit my learning time, but when I do get to learn I am very pleased with the results.

"Like what?" you may ask. Well, here are a few small things that caught my attention:
  1. Extract object from surface (i.e. Contour, Boundary)
  2. Modify objects via Properties (that is the AutoCAD Properties window)
  3. "Assign Elevations" during feature line creation (from Surface or Grading).
  4. Collapse and Expand baselines and regions in Corridor Properties dialog box.
  5. "Set All Frequencies" in Corridor Properties dialog box.
  6. Boundary creation for corridor surfaces now use a jig line (like parcels automatic mode).
  7. Create Profile View now uses a wizard.
  8. Section View Group Properties (change all sections views at once).
  9. New Workspace.
  10. Move blocks to surface elevation.
Clearly, there were the more marquee improvement such as...
  1. Automatic Plan Production
  2. Vault enhancements
  3. 2-10 faster corridor creation
  4. New "Lines and Curves" menu pulldown.
  5. DWF files will include object data
  6. Google Earth import/export

Now, back to training.

Thursday, April 05, 2007

ScriptPro is Back!!

Some of you may be asking "What is ScriptPro?" Let me tell you. This utility allows users to load a group of file names into it and a script file. It will then open every listed file and run the script.

This script can be useful for changing settings, changing views, setting up drawings, or simply purging and auditing many files at once.

I ready on Shaan Hurley's Blog today that a NEW standalone (it used to be part of the Customizations Conversion Tools) version that functions with AutoCAD 2007 and AutoCAD 2008 is now available.

What I do not know at the moment is if it works with Civil 3D 2007.

On Tuesday of this week, I had been thinking about how much I missed this tool. Wish granted.

Wednesday, March 28, 2007

AutoCAD Civil 3D 2008 Launch Webcast

During this Friday's weekly Civil 3D webcast (March 30, 2007) Autodesk will officially launch/introduce AutoCAD Civil 3D 2008 (notice the name change).

The webcast is officially titled "Introduction to AutoCAD 2008". It takes place during the typical webcast time slot of 9:00 am to 10:00 am Pacific Time.

Last year the similar introduction webcast had what was likely the highest attendance of the entire year.

Registration is required. We will receive an email notification with dial-in and log-in information immediately after registering.

By the way if you are like me and missed last weeks webcast "A Sneak Peek at AutoCAD Civil 3D 2008" it is already posted for viewing.

Monday, March 26, 2007

What's New?

One of the resources that I enjoy reading in order to update my understanding of new versions is the New Features Workshop.

The New Features Workshop for Civil 3D 2008 contains 66 topics that range from 1 screen to 8 screens worth of information on that topic.

Click the links to see what is coming in 2008. I think you will find MANY good improvements.

Tuesday, March 20, 2007

My Missing Links - Autodesk's Redesigned Website

It may take me some time to correct many of the links in the left column. You may have already noticed that some will return with a "Page Not Found" message.

Why is this necessary? Because Autodesk has redesigned their website and the page links have changed. I will try to accomplish this as quickly as possible, but it may take several days before I can get to it.

I am sure that many other indivuduals and organizations will be commensing similar activities soon.
I am sorry for any inconvenience.
In the mean time check out the NEW LOOK.

Monday, March 19, 2007

Brought To You By... AutoCAD 2008

This post is in case some of this information has been missed by anyone.

All of the following should be available in Civil 3D 2008, because these items are available in AutoCAD 2008:

Annotation Scaling: Similar to automatic label scaling, but for text, mtext, dimensions, etc.
Layer Properties per Viewport: Override layer color, linetype, lineweight, or plot style per viewport.
Enhanced Tables: Co-mingle object information with Excel data easily, plus update notifications.
Text Formatting: Mtext columns support with many new options.
Multiple Leader Creation: Many ways to create multiple segment leaders from a single note.
Multiple Leader Alignment: Align and/or space multiple notes and leaders after creation.
Multiple Line Mtext Attributes: Mtext in Attributes.
DGN Support: Import, Export, and Underlay DGN 8 and XM files.

Monday, March 05, 2007

Nothing Up My Sleeve

Just like everyone else, I have been unbelievably busy. Although, I did get to try something that has me VERY excited about the future use of Civil 3D. A product will be out shortly called Advanced Road Design CORRIDOR-EZY. Some of you may have seen it at Autodesk University. This product is developed by CADApps Australia. After learning some about it here is my progress.

Step 1: Open original drawing with about 26 Alignments (see image below).
Step 2: Press one button. 45 second later drawing contains items software recognizes as "ROADS" and creates proposed profiles for them (see image below).

Step 3: Press a second button. 1 minute 5 seconds later drawing contains all curb return alignments and proposed profiles for them as well (see image below).

Step 4: Press a third button. 2 minutes and 5 seconds later a surface exists of the entire road system in a development (see image below).

4 minutes total!

Now, I do not wish to mis-lead anyone. I have not yet addressed Knuckles or Cul-De-Sacs, which this software can address along with Roundabouts. I would want to check all proposed profiles, change widths of certain collector streets, etc. But, for 4 minutes worth of work to do 33 intersections along 26 streets this is ama-za-zing stuff.

To qualify this, remember that I gave a Knuckle and Cul-De-Sacs class at Autodesk University this past November.

With some instruction we can create true Civil 3D corridors in a fraction of the time it would take with Civil 3D alone. Using Civil 3D by itself, in my opinion, a capable person could create an intersection for scratch in about roughly 1 hour (that means about 33 hours for the example above). At just about any price this product should pay for itself in no time at all.

And imagine what this will do for those involved with preliminary design and visualization, I can not think of a better tool to do that.

Oh, and I almost forgot the most impressive thing of all. Profiles of crossing streets are linked by the software. If I raise or lower a major road... ALL CROSSING ROAD PROFILES ARE ADJUSTED TO MATCH AUTOMATICALLY! Yes, all crossing road profiles. That includes the curb return profiles. We do not have to go back and adjust them manually. How awesome is that!

You may be asking, when can we expect to see this product? I understand that it should be available just about when Civil 3D 2008 is released, near April 16, 2007. If this all sound somewhat familiar that is because this is the next incarnation of Advanced Road Design INTERSECTION which has been out for awhile.

Thank you CADApps!

Monday, February 19, 2007

Windows Vista Update

In her Blog yesterday Heidi Hewitt provided an update about the support of Autodesk products on Window Vista. She states that AutoCAD 2008 and AutoCAD LT 2008 will be supported in both 32-bit and 64-bit versions of Vista.

But perhaps more importantly in the short term is that there will be in "the coming months" support for AutoCAD 2007 and AutoCAD LT 2007 on the Window Vista 32-bit version.

There has been no official word of future Vista support for Civil 3D yet.

Once again Heidi, thanks for the update.

Friday, February 16, 2007

Civil 3D 2008 Will Give You The Earth

Google Earth that is. One of the new capabilities that Civil 3D 2008 will have is the ability to import an image and surface right from Google Earth. So, if my target drawing has a Geodetic Zone assigned we will get a free starting point for projects.

That means that my two favorite applications will have bi-directional data sharing. Excellent!

Thursday, February 15, 2007

Sometimes Feature Lines Have No Style

Did you know that feature lines do not have to have a style applied to them? That makes them somewhat unique among Civil 3D objects.

In the "Create Feature Lines" dialog box we can uncheck the "Style" check box (see image). The feature line will now be place on the layer specified but will not have a style applied to it. Thus, we will not be able to apply a different style to it. It will take on the color of the layer. Although we can assign color directly to it from the properties toolbar.
All of this, though typical of AutoCAD, is very unusual for Civil 3D.

Autodesk's 2008 Preview Site

"Experience" the new 2008 family of products. Well, no. Actually, at least look at the new box art at Autodesk's official preview page.

Wednesday, February 14, 2007

Heidi Shows Us Annotation

If a picture is worth 1,000 words then a movie is worth 100,000 words. In her blog "AutoCAD Insider" Heidi Hewett talks about the new annotation scaling in AutoCAD 2008.

Plus as a bonus feature she has two links to animations about how this is done and how it will be done.

Thanks Heidi! This is very helpful information.

Autodesk's Official 2008 Press Releases

On Monday many websites carried Autodesk's official press releases about the 2008 family of products. Here are a couple as carried by Yahoo!:

AutoCAD 2008 & AutoCAD LT 2008
The item that caught my eye was the new annotation scaling capability (similar to Civil 3D labels) which will apply to things such as tables, text, and leaders.

AEC Products (Civil 3D, Architecture {new name}, & MEP {new name})
Most of the items related to Civil 3D caught my eye. Things like enhanced multiuser environment (I am assuming that this means Vault), automated sheet generation, and Google Earth interoperability.

Click on the links to read them yourself.

So this begins the official process of learning about, and then learning Civil 3D 2008.

Wednesday, February 07, 2007

Bad for Most - Good for a Few - Baby Boomers Retirement

A reality for many industries is the impact of the impending retirement of baby boomers. It is said that over 40% (maybe as much as 50%) of the industry will reach retirement age within the next five to 15 years. We all know that there is already a shortage of employees in our industry. With this mass exodus things will get worse. Those who do not have some sort of plan will be in a very difficult situation.

In the document "Offshoring: Implications for the Engineering Workforce and Profession" Ralph W. Wyndrum, Eng.Sc.D, paints some rather unpleasant scenarios. But I found a section of his "Closing Notes" rather poignant. Here is an excerpt...

The professional engineering societies... will quickly lose relevance if we don’t do a good job of enabling our members to thrive in their profession, providing them with better tools and direction to deal with the challenges posed by globalization. We have to be equipped to respond to members effectively when they ask: How can I be more “innovative?” What does it mean to be “entrepreneurial?” What technologies will I need to be versed in to stay competitive in the next five years? We also need to be able to break down our disciplinary smokestacks and move more nimbly to expose our members to the intersections of technology, where innovation increasingly occurs.

For the "glass is half full" crowd... There will be many opportunities for advancement in the coming years and those that are prepared will have lots of options.

Tuesday, February 06, 2007

Pick-a-Part...Or Not

When working in drawings with LOTS of data the selection of a subentity to a object (ie. a surface label or a single point) can significantly decrease preformance. It is possible to toggle between the ability to select subentities or the selection of the main object only. The two commands that toggle this ability are:

DISABLESUBSELECTION - Turns off the ability to select subentities.
ENABLESUBSELECTION - Turns on the ability to select subentities.

Seems like an ideal case for custom Toolbar Buttons or Tool Palette tools.

Monday, February 05, 2007

Show Me AutoCAD Entities Only

Here is an interesting undocumented command:


When this command is used a drawing will display only AutoCAD objects (non-Civil 3D objects). All intelligent Civil 3D objects will be invisible until the command is exited by pressing an Escape, Enter, or a mouse-click.

This will help us verify if we exploded (or dummied-down) certain objects.

Friday, February 02, 2007

Autodesk Design Review is Now Free!

Several Autodeskers having been pointing out that Autodesk Design Review is now FREE. Click on the title of this post to get to the download page.

If you are unfamiliar with Design Review (formerly DWF Composer) it allows users to not only open DWFs, but to markup them up. This can be used to establish a paperless revision process. The price can not be beat.

Thursday, February 01, 2007

What You See Is Not Always...

Recently, I was discussing one of my site grading drawings with a group, some of the blocks that were in my drawing caught the eye of one of the participants. These particular blocks are called Multi-View Blocks. They are different from other blocks in that they have one appearance from one perspective/view and look entirely different from other orientations. He asked if I could share those blocks with him.

As it turns out every owner of Civil 3D likely has these blocks already sitting on their computer. By default they are located at in several subdirectories found here:

C:\Program Files\Autodesk Civil 3D (version number)\Data\Symbols\Mvblocks\...

There can be found blocks that represent vehicles, landscaping items, buildings, and more. The image show two types of trees a street light, and a fire hydrant.

Wednesday, January 31, 2007

The Root of All...

I just reviewed an Autodesk document that reminders/warns users that after applying Service Pack 3 for Civil 3D 2007, four of the Templates (.dwts) that ship with the product will now contain 6 errors that will be found with an AUDIT command. The templates are:

_Autodesk Civil 3D (Imperial) NCS Classic
_Autodesk Civil 3D (Imperial) NCS Extended
_Autodesk Civil 3D (Metric) NCS Classic
_Autodesk Civil 3D (Metric) NCS Extended

This is a good time to point out that running the AUDIT command in Civil 3D drawings, or our custom templates, is ALWAYS a good idea. We should get into the habit of running this command often. Some companies have even automated the use of this command upon the opening of every file. Drawings with Gradings and Parcels are particularly sensitive to corruption and should be kept clean.

The AUDIT command is similar to visiting a doctor for a check-up. Preventative actions should contribute to the avoidance of Fatal Errors.

Monday, January 29, 2007

DWF Service Pack 1

I often create 3D DWFs with the 3DDWFPUBLISH command. I like the ability of making items (in the case of the image one of the two surfaces) transparent or perhaps hidden. I also like the small size for transmitting electronically.

I Am Moving

No, I am not changing employment. Nor is this blog changing address. But, I am relocating to a new home, which will likely impact this blog for a period of time. So, if you have noticed less activity than usual. or you do in the near future, I hope you will understand why.

I am moving exactly...

0 degrees, 00'54.78" of latitude south and...
0 degrees 00'08.35" of longitude to the west

Translation: about a mile south.

Civil 3D 2007 & Window Vista

There have already been some users that have asked the question "Can Civil 3D 2007 run on Window Vista?" Some have even gone so far as to attempted it.

The answer is, No, NONE of Autodesk's 2007 family of products run on Windows Vista.

As it becomes necessary to replace new computers the issue of operating systems must be addressed. But, everyone should be well aware that Window Vista is currently (January 29, 2007) not an option for Autodesk's production applications.

Wednesday, January 24, 2007

New Blog??

Here is a link to a new (what I think is a..) blog. It is on WordPress and seems to be about Civil 3D. The last post is about Civil 3D Point Groups.

Tuesday, January 23, 2007

Read the Labels

I have now been able to provide "labels" for the majority of the almost 400 posts of this blog.

You will notice at the bottom of most posts what Blogger terms "labels". Other applications might use the term tags. If you pick on a "label" all blog posts that have similar "labels" will be displayed. I accomplished this relatively quickly and not with a fine-tooth comb. So there may be some posts that are not perfectly "label"ed.

This was worth the effort because this can be a good method to find all posts that have to do with a particular subject, such as Vault or Profiles etc.

Give it a try, see if it helps. Feel free to comment about any posts or "labels".

I will add some of the current "labels" to this post, to kick start the process.

Friday, January 12, 2007

A.C.E.S. BIIIG Turn Out

I wish to thank everyone who took time out of their busy schedules to attend yesterday evening's A.C.E.S. User Group meeting. The turn out was awesome. About 75 attendees! One person timed a trip to Southern California from Colorado to be able to attend.

The feedback regarding the technical presentations (Raster Design, Map, Civil 3D Grading) was very positive.

I wish to additionally thank everyone who SHARED their knowledge and expertise, and those that contributed by asking good questions during the evening. It very much fulfilled the spirit of what a user group can be, and the three guiding principle of this group: Share, Network, Learn.

Last but not least, I wish to thank Eric Galvan, Autodesk, ISD-Business Development Executive-Western Region (Civil CAD Dude, inside joke) who was able to join us and provide input.

I am happy with how this group has gotten off the ground (pun), and I look forward to it's future. Based on some of the buzz this group should soar!

The next meeting is currently scheduled for Thursday, April 12, 2007. Please mark your calendars. I will keep you updated.

New Blogger Interface!

I have been waiting to be able to use the NEW Blogger site. I had not been able to until now because of the size of this blog (almost 400 posts over 2 plus years).

The new Blogger allows many additional capabilities with blogs like this (ie. tags, easier formatting). I hope to be able to revise all old post to take advantage of the new abilities and make this blog better.

With the start of 2007 this blog can enter a new era. Cool.

If you have any suggestion, of course they are all welcome.

Lets start.

Wednesday, January 10, 2007

The A.C.E.S. Squadron Blocks Out The Sun

It is possible that there may be over 100 signups for tomorrow evening's Autodesk Civil Engineering Solutions (A.C.E.S.) User Group of Southern California meeting.

The runway is clear, A.C.E.S. is on final approach, and the hanger will be nice and full.

Translation:There will be plenty of opportunity to Share, Network, Learn.

I hope to see you there.

Tag I'm It

OK, so you have probably seen that a virtual game of tag has been under way with several of the bloggers lately. Not wishing to be the one that ignores this (I understand that either my great-grandchildren would pay the price for this or I will develop an incurable ailment after the next full moon) I will contribute.

5 CAD related things that you may not know about me.

1. Actually, some may be aware that I was taught AutoCAD Release 9 by THE Lynn Allen back in October of 1987. (It is not easy taking classes from a kindergartener).

2. I taught AutoCAD to John Rodriguez (a current KETIV co-worker) back in 1990 where we worked together for the 1st time (KETIV is our 3rd different company working together. Clearly, one of us is stalking the other).

3. I wrote profile creation lisp routines that somehow were in more wide use among engineering companies in southern California than I had worked at. How does that happen? Why didn't I have a copyright or something?

4. While learning CAD, during one particular class, I created a drawing of a spider web and spider. I then modified the drawing so that when I did an undo the spider moved around the web and ate a fly. (Don't ask me why? Hey, the instructor said he had never seen that before!)

5. Creating 3D models in CAD completely correlates with my life-long fascination with miniatures.

I am going to join Anthony and tag Dan & Dave

Thursday, January 04, 2007

Congratulations Abound

As I attempt to get caught up from being away there are a few pats on the back that I would like to share.

First to the group over at, for very quickly receiving their 100,000th page view. Few groups have contributed to advancing our collective industry as has Engineered Efficiency, Inc, and for achieving this milestone I congratulate them.

Next, to the following Autodesk University 2006 instuctors. They received the highest ratings from their class attendees for the specified categories:

Louis Marcoux "Animation Rigging concepts for Advanced 3ds MAX"

John Beltran "Introduction to Dynamic Blocks"

Jay Tedeschi and Derrick Smith "Using Autodesk Inventor for Simulation"

Matt Murphy "The Do and Donts of Dynamic Blocks Revealed"

Kevin Robinson "Power Tools of AutoCAD Mechanical"

Great Job to you all!

Lastly, I congratulate all bloggers, users of YouTube, Amazon reviewers, Wiki contributors, posters to flickr, the MySpace community, bidders and sellers on eBay, iTunes downloaders, discussion group'ers, open source developers, and everyone else that helps define Web 2.0.


Because in their December 25, 2006 / January 1, 2007 edition Time Magazine made us all "Persons of the Year" for controlling the Information Age, along with all of the good and bad (spelling & grammar) that that entails.

Wednesday, January 03, 2007

Data Shortcuts Tip

I was discussing with a friend the use of Data Shortcuts. In an effort to minimize potential loss of shortcuts I mentioned the following VERY IMPORTANT steps:

1. Create your Data Shortcut.
2. Load the XML file into which you wish to save your Data Shortcuts.
3. Export Data Shortcuts to intended XML file.
4. Press "Yes" when prompted to overwrite existing file.

Steps 1 & 2 are interchangeable. Step 2 is critical, IT MUST BE DONE! Why, because if we do not load the shortcut file prior to exporting to it we will overwrite the file with only the shortcuts in the current DWG. Let me re-phrase that. Currently (Civil 3D 2007 w/SP3), exporting Data Shortcuts only writes the shortcuts in the current drawing to the XML file overwriting it with only those shortcuts present. It DOES NOT append to the shortcut file. That is how it functions TODAY (January 3, 2007).

There are other methods of shortcut management, such as maintaining multiple XML files (not currently recommended because of how shortcuts accumulate). These steps are critical for the K.I.S.S. method of all project shortcuts in one file.

Tuesday, January 02, 2007

New Year... New Blogs!

Well, here we are in 2007. I am back at the office attempting to get caught up.

I have recently become aware of some new blogs about Civil 3D. Here are the links:

"From the Ground Up" by Autodesk's Chris Berends, Ove Cervin, and Jack Strongitharm. (They are all based in Europe)
"the civil chick" by Sarah Cunningham (yes, it is all lowercase)
"billneu's Civil 3D wish list site" by Bill Neuhauser
"Avid User of Civil 3D" by Wendy Lim
"Civil 3D for Beginners" by Sami ????

Note: My aggregator now contains over 35 Civil 3D related blog feeds. Some are more active than others. Although, it all helps.

SubNote: My New Years resolution is to... "Be Better!"