Monday, January 31, 2005

Inquire Within

In Land Desktop some users accessed line and arc data from the "Inquiry" pulldown by selecting "Line/Curve/Spiral". After selecting an entity they would see the object's data.

Today, in Autodesk Civil 3D 2005, the same data is accessible from the "General" pulldown, select "Inquiry" then select "Line and Arc Information". Surprisingly, it takes one click more than it used to.

Wednesday, January 26, 2005

Workflow Guides

Civil 3D 2005 has something new in help. It contains "Workflow Guides". These guides provide overviews of how to perform common tasks, and contain links to relevant procedures. They include:

Points Workflow Guide
Surfaces Workflow Guide
Grading Workflow Guide
Parcels Workflow Guide
Alignment Workflow Guide
Profile Workflow Guide
Sections Workflow Guide
Corridors Workflow Guide
Labels Workflow Guide

The guides tend to be a little more specific at guiding users with the use of the product.

To find them just type "workflow guides" on the "Search" tab in help. The No. 1 ranked topic listed will be "Using the Workflow Guides". The "Parcels" link is broken. But, you will find the rest at this location.

Grading Slopes

I recently revisited one of the enhancements to Grading in Civil 3D 2005. It is the ability to force a slope direction for instances where the first solution would be opposite of my desired cut or fill slope.

What this means is that traditionally if a grading object was in a depression or valley but still above a surface it could only grade "DOWN" to the surface because it is above the surface. Now I can force it to grade "UP" and catch the sides of the depression or valley. This ability, is of course, a very welcome addition.

Monday, January 24, 2005

Free VBA Gold

James Wedding P.E. is highly respected in Land Desktop and Civil 3D user circles. He taught at Autodesk University. He also just presented the January 21st Civil 3D webcast.

James has posted on the Civil 3D Discussion Group a VBA app that has three very worth while capabilities. They are called "SetPoints", "PointsToSurface", and "AlignStyleChange2"

"SetPoints" allows you to set points in plan view based on an elevational difference from a profile. Many users have used similar tools to set lot elevations based on centerline profiles.

"PointsToSurface" allows you to select a Point Group and a Surface. It then modifies the points to reflect their elevation on the surface.

"AlignStyleChange2" allows you to change one or many alignments' styles at once.

Together the 3 tools are very useful in enhancing Civil 3D. I highly recommend you download and try them out. The specific thread is titled "C3D Webcast DVB File". For anyone wishing to explore VBA they can be very helpful in understanding some of the basic procedures.

Click here to connect via you internet browser.

Click here to choose newsreader access.

Thank you James!

Monday, January 17, 2005

SP1 & Subassemblies

One of the nice changes that you get when you install Service Pack 1 for Civil 3D 2005 is that several Subassemblies get updated and now have a new capability.

Specifically, LaneBrokenBack, LaneInsideSuper, LaneOutsideSuper, LaneTowardCrown: Added a runtime logical assignment that allows the user to tie the elevation of the outside edge-of-lane to a profile.

Occasionally, I found that I wanted to use the old versions but without the ability to attach them to a profile they had slightly limited use.

The issues resolved were good to have. But, this was a nice little surprise.

By the way, I had no problem installing the Service Pack.

Friday, January 14, 2005

Service Pack 1 is Here

Service Pack 1 is now available for download for Civil 3D 2005. Click on the title above to get to the download page on the Autodesk website.

This update is currently only available via download. The Communication Center does not yet notify users that it is available.

There have been a few users with installation problems that Autodesk is currently trying to resolve.

Thursday, January 13, 2005

Case-Sensitive Names

I found it interesting that in Civil 3d, object names and style names are case-sensitive. This means that you could have an Alignment named "A1" and another named "a1".

Friday, January 07, 2005

Parcel Layout Suggestions Wanted

In the Civil 3D discussion group, Dave Simeone the Civil 3D Product Manager, asked for input in order to validate a requirement for parcel sizing. This is our opportunity to comment on capabilities the software should have in order to best address our needs. If parcel sizing is important to you, you may want to be heard regarding this matter.

Click here to connect via your internet browser.

Click here to choose newsreader access.

Service Pack 1 is Coming

Dave Simeone, the Autodesk Product Manager for Civil 3D, announced today, in the Civil 3D Webcast, that Autodesk expects to make Service Pack 1 available for Civil 3D 2005 sometime next week (the week of the 10th-14th).


If you watch the Autodesk Civil 3d Webcasts on Friday, have you wanted to re-see or have the Powerpoints that they use. You can download PDF versions of them while you are watching.

Let me explain. During the Webcast if you enter "Ctrl+P" or select the "File" pulldown in the "Live Meeting" screen then select "Print to PDF", a PDF file of the Powerpoint will load on your machine. You can then either print or save it to a file.

This allows you to revisit much of the important content from the session.

Wednesday, January 05, 2005


I have often been asked how does one share an Autodesk Civil 3D 2005 (C3D) drawing with someone with "basic" AutoCAD.

There are three most common results possible:

1. Share the dwg as is. It can only be opened in AutoCAD 2004 or 2005. They will see the C3D objects as Proxy Graphics

2. Share the dwg as is with someone who has the Civil 3D Object Enabler installed. It can only be opened in AutoCAD 2004 or 2005. They will see the "objects" as they are and can get properties and information from them.

3. I can use one of the two "Export To AutoCAD..." commands. These commands create a new drawing and explode all of the Civil 3D Objects into Basic AutoCAD entities per their appearance at that moment in the view in which the command is run. The commands are "EXPORTTOAUTOCAD2004" and "EXPORTTOAUTOCAD2000". These commands can also be found under the "File" pulldown > "Export to AutoCAD" flyout. The ...2000 version creates a 2000 format dwg which can be opened in AutoCAD's 2000, 2000i, 2002, as well as 2004 & 2005.

Tuesday, January 04, 2005

Roadway Reconstruction

This Friday the Autodesk Civil 3D Webcast is titled "Civil 3D for Road Reconstruction". The webcast takes place from 9am to 10am Pacific time. I find these webcast very useful for understanding the software.

To view click the title above or the link below.

You must phone in to hear the audio.
Audio Information:
USA Toll Free Number: 888-593-9101
USA Toll Number: 1-773-799-3910
Leader: Heather MacKenzie
Passcode: Civil 3D

Monday, January 03, 2005

Swapping Edges = Flipping Faces

As I have tried to equate capabilities in Autodesk Civil 3D 2005 to how Land Desktop worked, I find I like many of the new terms better.

When needing to fine tune a surface in Land Desktop we often used the "Flip Face" command. This command name was often misinterpreted.

Now the command is called "Swap Edge". I feel it is slightly more meaningful. We access this command by going to the Prospector Tab expanding the "Surfaces" collection, expanding the surface to edit, expand "Definition", Right-click on "Edits" and select "Swap Edge".

Note: You must have triangle edges visible in your surface style in order for the command to activate.