Tuesday, November 30, 2004

AU 2004

I am attending Autodesk University for the first time. I have had a very good time learning new things about Civil 3D 2005.

The most interesting thing I saw today was a side-by-side competition between Land Desktop and Civil 3D. For creating Alignments and Parcels Civil 3D won easily. But, when it came to editing Alignments and Parcels Civil 3D was far and away easier and quicker. It was not even close.

Monday, November 29, 2004


Most Fridays from 9:00 am to 10:00 am (Pacific Time) Autodesk holds free Webcasts that highlight features and offer tips and tricks for Autodesk Civil 3D 2005.

This Link (click here) not only allows you to view the webcasts (You must phone in US Toll free to 888-593-9101 to hear the audio), but you can also view previous recorded sessions.

These sessions can be valuable at demonstating the product's current capabilities.

I will be at Autodesk University. I hope to post a report on Monday, December 6th.

Wednesday, November 24, 2004


Labels exhibit several very interesting characteristics in Autodesk Civil 3D 2005.
1.) All text related to objects can update in size when the drawing scale changes.
2.) They can be set to world orientation or view orientation.
3.) Bias controls at which angle they flip. Unlike LDt they can flip at a user specified angle, i.e. 110 degrees, instead of only at just past 90 degrees.

When viewed through a viewport...
1.) Labels can appear horizontal in different views, even though those views have different orientations.
2.) Labels can appear the same height in different views, even though those views have a different zoom scale factor.

The ramifications of these two last capabilities is a user only creates one set of labels. But, those labels will appear correctly in drawings with different scales and orientations.

Tuesday, November 23, 2004

By Style or By Layer? That is the Question.

When creating a new drawing in Autodesk Civil 3D 2005 we must first make a decision as to how we will control the appearance of the objects, and the components, that we will be creating. The software uses two method to accomplish this.

The first method is referred to as "By Style". This method controls the appearance of an object by a style that is assigned to that object. The style sets for the object and it's components how they will appear. The layer of the object does not play a role in it's appearance. This method overrides any layer properties for the object.

The second method is referred to as "By Layer" This method assigns the components of an object to specific layers. The properties of these layers i.e. color, linetype, etc. control the appearance of the objects. This method is similar to how most AutoCAD users have traditionally controlled the appearance of objects. This method also allows for the control of the component's appearance when it is xref'ed.

Monday, November 22, 2004

Subassemblies Part IV

I had mentioned before that Subassemblies can be thought of as Lego pieces that can be snapped together in order to create an Assembly. If I remove an interior segment of an Assembly all of the segments outside of that one, snap inwardly to fill the void left by the removed segment. This makes working with Subassemblies and Assemblies very easy, and forgiving.

Perhaps a more interesting fact is that Assemblies can exist in drawings for the intention of inserting the drawing and having the Assemblies ready for use.

Friday, November 19, 2004

Subassemblies Part III

Although there are many different Subassemblies Catalogs that ship with Civil 3D, the "Generic Subassembly Catalog" provides some of the more intriguing segments.

These segments can be used to create a wide assortment of custom links and shapes that are not provided "in the box". Links like "LinkOffsetAndElevation" which is described as a general purpose link, that can be tied to an alignment and a profile, give tremendous flexibility in addressing challenging design issues.

There are 11 different generic segments which should be able to address most needs.

Thursday, November 18, 2004

Subassemblies Part II

One of the more interesting facts about Subassemblies is that the Properties Palette is used to set the different values for the subassemblies. Items such as the roadway width, pavement depth, sidewalk width, and grading slopes are all set via the Properties Palette.

If the user must adjust the Subassembly that is used in an Assembly they simply pick on the component withing the Assembly and change the values in the Properties Palette.

Because of the dynamic nature of Civil 3D such changes can immediately update the Assembly and the Corridors that the Assembly is used in.

Wednesday, November 17, 2004


Many Subassemblies are provided "in the box" with Civil 3D 2005. They consist of several different types of roadway segments that can be snapped together, similar to lego pieces, to create a roadway cross-section.

The different types of segments include:

Medians - Primarily for divided highways
Lanes - Used for driving surfaces
Urban - These include different curb, gutter, and sidewalk types
Shoulders - For paved shoulders
Daylight - Many daylighting scenario segments
Generic - Many multipurpose links
Rehab - For Overlay sections with Milling or Leveling options
Bridge and Rail - For bridge or rail visualizations

Subassemblies have built in logic that tells them how to react, and what to connect to, under different conditions.

Tuesday, November 16, 2004


Yesterday, I mentioned that Corridors are made from Alignments, Profiles, and Assemblies. So what are Assemblies?

Assemblies are a collections of Subassemblies (i.e. Sidewalk, Curb & Gutter) that are placed together to form a roadway cross-section. Civil 3D comes with many stock Sub-Assemblies to use.

Because of Civil 3D 2005's dynamic nature, even after Corridors have been built changes to an Assembly can cause the Corridor it is referenced by to update automatically.

Assemblies are applied at user specified intervals along an alignment and they connect to the next Assembly along that alignment. The image used yesterday shows the embedded Assemblies in the Corridor

Monday, November 15, 2004


Without question the best new ability in Civil 3D 2005 is the addition of Corridors. This is an "easy to use" way to create a 3D Road Model.

At the bare minimum all a user needs is an Alignment, a Profile, and an Assembly. Together these items are used to create the Corridor.

Corridors can be used to address in a few steps what used to take many in Land Desktop (LDt). The Dynamic nature of Civil 3D also allows lightning fast adjustments to data as compared to LDt.

Corridors can also be used to address design challenges that were very difficult in LDt such as Cul-de-sac's, Knuckles, and Intersections. See the image above.