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.