Thursday, December 18, 2008

AASHTO Promotes Automated Machine Guidance

The title of this post is linked to a .pdf file provided by The American Association of State Highway and Transportation Officials (AASHTO) - Technology Implementation Group (TIG) that promotes Automated Machine Guidance (AMG). The eight page file does a very good job of stating the benefits of AMG.

Be Better!...Increase Safety.

Thursday, December 11, 2008

The National BIM Standard

I found this document to be incredibly informative regarding BIM.

BE BETTER!...Be Understood.

What is BIM?

There has been a great deal of discussion about Building Information Modeling (BIM). Most of the discussions revolve around understanding it.

The National BIM Standard is attempting to educate everyone on BIM and set the foundation for how BIM helps all sectors of the A/E/C industries.

Taken from the following page:

Here is one definition:

BIM is best thought of as "a digital representation of physical and functional characteristics of a facility...and a shared knowledge resource for information about a facility forming a reliable basis for decisions during its life-cycle; defined as existing from earliest conception to demolition. Soon, nearly every piece of information that an owner needs about a facility throughout its life can be made available electronically.

Owners are finding tremendous benefits in having models of their facilities. Once educated about the use of BIM more and more owners are requiring its use on their projects. The benefits though do not end with the owner, many stakeholders gain from the existance of a model(s).

AutoCAD Civil 3D creates models and is a BIM product.

Be Better!...Be More Realistic.

Monday, December 01, 2008

AU Day 1

Dana Probert, Jerry Bartles and I held a Land Desktop to Civil 3D Implementation Bootcamp. It seemed to go well and was a good way to start the AU 2008 week.

I am looking forward to the remainder of the week.

Be Better!...Explore Alternatives.

Monday, November 24, 2008

Paving in a New Direction

My friend Scott McEachron has moved his blog to a new address. Click on the title of this post to get to it.

Scott's blog was one of the original Civil 3D specific blogs, and has always contained very helpful information.

Be Better...A Change of Address Can Cause Just That!

Monday, November 03, 2008

What's the Difference?

There is a NEW interactive overview on the Autodesk website that will provide information about the differences between AutoCAD® Civil 3D® 2009 and AutoCAD® Civil 2009.

This should help those that need to decide which to acquire.

Click on the title of this post to launch the overview.

You can also click to it from

Be Better...Determine What You Are Capable Of! It Is Always More Than You Thought!

Tuesday, October 28, 2008

AutoCAD See the Difference

On the AutoCAD Resource Center there is now a new section titled "See the Difference". This section contains ten videos that demonstrate different abilities of AutoCAD in the past compared to how we do those actions now.

I know that this would be helpful for potential new users to evaluate what they may be able to do with AutoCAD 2009 and AutoCAD 2009 based products like AutoCAD Civil 3D 2009.

Additionally, some may look at these short videos (approximately 3 minutes) as learning opportunities.

I found them helpful to remind me of some of the improvements that I have overlooked, ignored, or forgotten. It made me a little bit more appreciative of the new stuff.

The ten videos are titled:

Working with Layers
Customizing AutoCAD
Updating Xrefs
Working with Blocks
Drafting Settings
Displaying Dimensions
Working with Tables
3D Design & Navigation

Click on the title of this post to visit the page.

Be Better...Remember and Learn from the Past!

Wednesday, October 22, 2008

Carlson Connect for AutoCAD Civil 3D 2009

I was just made aware that Carlson Connect for AutoCAD Civil 3D 2009 is now available for download.

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

Be Better...Because Times Are Tough And No Coasting Is Allowed!

Wednesday, September 17, 2008

Florida DOT selects AutoCAD Civil 3D

Here are a few links to coverage of a press release regarding the Florida Department of Transportation, and their decision to implement AutoCAD Civil 3D for roadway Design.

Be Better...Have a Better Attitude!

Monday, September 08, 2008

Update 1 - Just Like Big Brother

Update 1 for AutoCAD Civil 2009 (not AutoCAD Civil 3D, whose update 1 was already released) was made available this past Thursday (Sept. 4th). Please review the readme file for proper installation information.

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

Be Better...Just Because!

Thursday, September 04, 2008

Leica X-Change for Civil 3D 2009

Just about two weeks ago Leica posted a new download of Leica X-change that will install on both AutoCAD® Civil 3®D 2008 and AutoCAD® Civil 3D® 2009.

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

Be Better...Be more flexible!

Trimble Link Is Civil As Well

As of today, Trimble Link now installs on AutoCAD® Civil 2009, as well as AutoCAD® Civil 3D® 2009.

Prior to this latest version it would only install on Civil 3D®, not Civil.

My co-worker Jerry Bartles provided me this info.

Be more accomodating!

Friday, August 08, 2008

AutoCAD Civil 3D 2009® Update 1 Now Available

Service Pack 1 for AutoCAD Civil 3D 2009 was just posted for download.

It contains improvements in the following areas:

Corridors Design and Subassemblies
Cross Sections Views
Grading and Feature Lines
Lines Curves
Plan Production
Profile and Profile Views
Project Manager

The update also includes Hotfixes and AutoCAD Update 1.

Be Better...through continuous daily improvement!

Tuesday, July 08, 2008

Autodesk and Bentley JOINT Press Release

Interesting reading. Enough said.

Be Better... Work well with others!

Tuesday, June 17, 2008

Last Land Desktop

The title of this post will get you to the official Land Desktop Page on the Autodesk website. If you now visit that page you will find information about the current version (2009) being the LAST version of Land Desktop (there will not be LDT 2010).

Some will welcome this news others obviously will not. Which ever the case it is now official.

Be Better...Try Something New!

Monday, June 16, 2008

Simply Civil

In case you have not yet heard, we will be offering a NEW civil solution in July. AutoCAD Civil will be targeted for users that do not do Geospatial analysis, Hydraulic and Hydrology analysis, and do not need Land Desktop Companion. The title of this post gets you to the combined AutoCAD Civil and AutoCAD Civil 3D page.

The Features and Specifications page provides more details.

I have heard people refer to AutoCAD Civil as AutoCAD Civil 3D's lil brother.

Some groups will get everything they need for certain users with AutoCAD Civil, and at a lower price.

Be Better...Learn Something New!

Tuesday, June 03, 2008

Autodesk's WisDOT Official Press Release

Yesterday, we posted an official press release regarding the Wisconsin Department of Transportation's decision to implement AutoCAD Civil 3D to produce new roadway designs.

Click on the title of this post to see the press release.

Be Better...Teach someone!

Friday, May 09, 2008

New Scale List Cleanup Utility

There was a point (early 2007) where drawings were misbehaving by inheriting the scalelist from their xrefs. Excess scales could eventually degraded performance. Service packs were created (mid 2007) to prevent this behavior from continuing to happen. We could then do a manual "SCALELISTEDIT" "Reset" to fix individually affected files.

The new "Scale List Cleanup Utility" repairs files that were affected before the necessary service pack was installed.

So, if you find drawings that contain more than their original scales, you should use this new utility to correct them in mass.

Be Better... Eat your veggies!

Friday, May 02, 2008

Think of the Possibilities - Dynamic Feature Lines from a Corridor

Some of you may have heard by now that Civil 3D 2009 allows for feature lines that are extracted from a corridor to be dynamically linked to the corridor (see next two images).

This ability should lead to some very creative solutions to design challenges. I absolutely look forward to seeing the inventiveness of some users with this behavior.

To get the creativity ball rolling, I spent a little time on a proof of concept that others had suggested should be possible. Here is just one example of what can be done...

In the next image, first notice that the daylighting is accomplished via a grading as opposed to a daylight subassembly (top arrows). The orange objects are feature lines that have been extracted from the corridor, and made dynamic to it. The cyan arcs (curb return) are feature lines that I added manually, that are connected to the ends of the corridor extracted feature lines. Lastly, notice that the design profile (arrow in the lower left hand viewport) is below the existing ground profile.

The next image is the result of ONE change. That one change was editing the design profile (arrow in the lower left viewport) via a grip edit to be above the existing ground profile. the rest is the result of the corridor rebuilding, the feature lines dynamically remaining linked to the corridor and those feature lines updating the cyan feature line that I add by hand (because they share a common endpoint), and of course the gradings updating as well (2 top arrows) from cut to fill.

Big deal you may be saying. Well think about it. In previous versions I would have had to modify a curb return profile as well, to ensure that the curb lines stay aligned. In this example that was not necessary, as a matter of fact there are no curb alignments, nor profiles.

Talk about a game changer. This ability should also allow us to create cross-gutter flow lines that will auto-magically remain linked without the need for extra alignments or profiles. I also created four dynamically linked feature lines on each corridor, but I could have accomplished similar with only one feature line and gradings from that one, in the curb return area.

Where once I needed 12 alignments and corresponding profiles to do a full intersection with cross-gutters and spandrells, I can do it with only two.

Just Think of the possibilities.

Be Better... Don't do things the old way!

Wednesday, April 30, 2008

AU on an Ipod

Did you know that you can subscribe to Autodesk University 2007 audio podcasts at the iTunes store? These podcasts can then be synchronized and listened to on any iPod at convenient times. (I can hear you now, and YES, I do have a life. I also spend a fair amount of time traveling... you get the point)

As a matter of fact you can find session from 5 different tracks. They are...


Unfortunately, this list is in popularity order as listed by iTunes. Apparently, there have not been many subscribers to the Civil Sessions. Let's see if we can change that.

The first podcast that I had available was Dana Probert's "Using Civil 3D 2008 for Stormwater Management Tasks Part I". It was a 1 hour 23 minute session.

The second session was Ian McGregor's "Civil 3D Vault & Design Review: A Workflow". This session was co-presented by Jack Strongitharm, Nick Zeeben and Pete Kelsey (talk about an allstar line-up). It was 1 hour and 20 minutes long.

I mention this because I have been exploring methods of learning that may not be so obvious, but would be very convenient, such as YouTube. There are lots of ways to learn. If you have other ways that you find helpful, may I impose upon you to share them with me. One method to do so is to add them as comments. I would appreciate it.

Be Better... than the competition!

Monday, April 28, 2008

Help Select Autodesk University 2008 Classes!!

When I first read the following I thought this is awesome. What better way for Autodesk University attendees to benefit from AU than for them to have a hand in selecting the classes that will be presented.

Click on the title of this post to get to the Survey Monkey pages that list submitted classes for AU 2008. There we can select a track (Civil Engineering, of course) and then choose 15 from the approximately 185 classes submitted in this track that we would like to see.

Unfortunately, we only see the titles, application(s) covered, intended level of instruction, and the instructor's name. We may have to assume what some cleverly named classes will cover (makes me wonder if mine were clear enough). Either way, this is good.

Be Better... today than yesterday!

Wednesday, April 02, 2008

My AutoCAD Civil 3D 2009 Top Five

Among the many enhancements, and new features of AutoCAD Civil 3D 2009 these are the five items that I think will have the most impact on users, procedures, or workflows...
  1. Labeling objects through XRefs (some users will not even need to use shortcuts because of this)
  2. Data Shortcuts in the Prospector (a cross between the vault interface and legacy shortcuts)
  3. Memory Managed Surfaces (if over 2 million points, users get the option to save surface to .ssm file - external to drawing, freeing up memory)
  4. Dynamic Feature Lines from Corridors (can be used as baselines for gradings, replacing daylight subassemblies in certain cases)
  5. Criteria Based Design for Alignments and Profiles (displays warning markers if criterion is violated e.g. AASHTO values)

Deserving of honorable mention (due to southwestern US design requirements) is the "Stacked Profiles" or 3-Line Profiles (can actually stack upto 9 profiles). This has been a MUCH wanted ability around these here parts.

Honorable mention also goes to expansion and compaction factors in earthwork volume calculations and volume surfaces.

There are many other items, these are just what I think will rise to the top on user lists.

Be Better!

Thursday, March 27, 2008

WisDOT's Thoughts

I first saw a reference to this document at Louisa Holland's Blog "Civil 3D for Beginners" (Thank You Lou). I found it very interesting and thought that others might think so as well.

This 4 page report summarizes WisDOT's selection of AutoCAD Civil 3D as their design software replacement for the future.

Be Better!

Wednesday, March 26, 2008

AutoCAD Civil 3D 2009 Documents

I ran across these today on the Autodesk website Civil 3D product pages. These are the first of many new bits of information that are becoming available.

AutoCAD Civil 3D 2009 Product Brochure (6 pages)

AutoCAD Civil 3D 2009 Questions and Answers (13 pages)

AutoCAD Civil 3D 2009 New Features Workshop

Hey just found tons of 2009 documents (lots to read here e.g. Getting Started Guide, User Guide, Tutorials, and my personal favorite, Best Practices Guide, etc.).

I hope this will help those of you that have been curious.

Be Better!

Friday, March 07, 2008

AU Needs U!

It is that time of year again. The 16th Autodesk University (AU) will be held again this year at the Venetian Resort Hotel in Las Vegas, Nevada in November.

Currently, the event staff are accepting proposals from potential presentors. Anyone who wishes to submit a proposal to present a class for Autodesk University 2008 can do so by clicking on the title of this post.

AU is an outstanding event to learn, network, and to help advance our collective industries. If you feel that you have technical abilities combined with communication skills you should definitely consider submitting one or more proposals. Most presenters that I have talked to mention how very rewarding presenting at AU is.

The collective knowledge in our industry is growing in leaps and bounds. The number of civil engineering companies looking for AutoCAD Civil 3D knowledge is probably growing faster. The need for instructors willing to share that knowledge is substantial. Please take a moment to consider it.

Proposal Guidelines and Resources can be found here.

The deadline to submit is April 27 2008.

Be Better!

Wednesday, January 16, 2008

Northern Pacific Civil Consortium - Open House

Next Thursday, January 24, 2008, from 5:00 pm until 8:00 pm, the Northern Pacific Civil Consortium (NPCC) will host an "Open House" meeting in Sacramento, California. The NPCC's main focus is to "Educate, Enhance, and Enlighten its members in the effective application of Autodesk software products".

At the open house meeting there will be two primary sessions. I will be presenting "Civil 3D - Grading on a Dime" where I will demonstrate Civil 3d's grading capabilities that anyone can use with VERY LITTLE OR NO TRAINING! Additionally, there will be a CAD Manager's Tips & Tricks session, where knowledge to improve our AutoCAD productivity will be shared.

Pizza and soft drinks will be served and there will be door prizes. The grand prize is an iPod NANO (you must be present to win).

I encourage you to consider this opportunity to network and learn with our peers. This is a great way to start 2008, investing in improvement.

Contact Doug Matchell at to RSVP.
Be Better!

Monday, January 14, 2008

New Hydraflow Extensions

I was told that beginning today, January 14th, subscription customers would be able to download both of the other Hydraflow applications, Hydraflow Hydrographs and Hydraflow Express, as extensions to Civil 3D 2008 from their subscription center sites.

Hydraflow Hydrographs give us the ability to do watershed analysis and detention pond design.

Hydraflow Express is a collection of calculators that solve hydraulics and hydrology problems for culverts, inlets, channels, and weirs.

Please inform the appropriate internal personnel to acquire these extensions.

Be Better!

Friday, January 11, 2008

User Groups

Last night, I was at the Autodesk Civil Engineering Solutions (A.C.E.S.) User Group of Southern California.

The Hydraflow Storm Sewers Extension was review by a member, Dave Couch of Walden Associates, and there was a presentation about "Civil 3D Do's and Don'ts". The meeting ended with a very imformative discussion about Civil Engineering Industry Trends. Some very wise members shared their thoughts and advice about dealing with the current economic environment.

There are many groups that are being either being created or are experiencing growth in memberships at this time. Some of the interest is by those wishing to participate in the Civil 3D knowledge swap. Other growth is due to the downturn in certain market segments (i.e. Land Development) and companies and individuals are investing in themselves while they have some breathing space.

If you are interested is attending a user group you may wish to begin by contacting your reseller. You can also do a search for User Groups in the Civil Engineering Community website on the "Events" tab. Select "User Group" in the "Event Type" dropdown. You can also specify a "State/Province" and "Product" to refine your search.

A quick search for "User Group" "CA" "AutoCAD Civil 3D" returned the following groups:

Northern Pacific Civil Consortium (I happen to be presenting at their next meeting)
City and County of San Francisco Autodesk User Group

I am aware of, and try to attend meetings of the...

Hawaii Civil User Group
North Bay User Group
Civil 3D Users Group - Los Angeles
Inland Empire Civil 3D User Group
San Diego Civil 3D User Group
Orange County Civil 3D User Group
Palm Desert Civil 3D User Group

If you are familiar with a civil engineering related user group in California, Nevada, or Hawaii that you would like mentioned please let me know.

Be Better!


I had not yet used the RECOVERALL command. Actually, it is a command I had forgotten about. I recently saw a it mentioned and was greatful for the reminder.

Here is how it works. When you type RECOVERALL at the command line the following dialog box appears.

Pressing the "Help" button provides further information.

If you run Civil 3D as AutoCAD or have generic AutoCAD this command can be found on the menu at "File" > "Drawing Utilities" > "Recover drawing and xrefs..."

Be Better!

Thursday, January 10, 2008

Las Vegas Civil Users Group

Last night, I had the pleasure of presenting to the Las Vegas Civil Users Group. The members represent public agencies and private engineering and construction firms in the Las Vegas, Nevada area.

They are dedicated to...
An equal exchange of knowledge and experience for the benefit of all members and to Networking

The topic of my presentation was "Civil 2008 - Grading on a dime". I explained what can be done immediately, with VERY LITTLE training, that will help companies with their grading design challenges. Many in the group are Land Desktop users and were very surprised with what WE designed together in 1 hour and 15 minutes.

A secondary theme was "Don't Leave Money on the Table" by doing things in an inefficient manner.

I will initiate an "...On A Dime" series of posts that will help those that have not yet transitioned to full use of Civil 3D where they will find things that are possible with no, or very little, training.

I will close this post by thanking the members that were present yesterday. I had a GREAT time.

Be Better!

Two New Civil 3D Knowledge Base Entries

These two entries recently were added to the Knowledge Base. I am sure that some will be helped by them...

Running Survey Link from Civil 3D

Adding Survey Link to Survey menu in Civil 3D

The second item is the same Survey Link that is launched by the C3D Extensions CUI that my co-worker Jerry Bartels created and has shared. Pete Kelsey recently blogged a link to Jerry's CUI and Tool Palette additions.

Be Better!

Thursday, January 03, 2008

Skill Builder

I am not certain when this particular Skill Builder became available, but there is one available titled:

Managing an AutoCAD Civil 3D 2008 Project with Autodesk Vault

This Skill Builder is a 20 page .pdf file that demostrates how to set up a AutoCAD Civil 3D project using Autodesk Vault, how to modify project structure with Vault, and contains some best practices.

For those that are just starting down this road this can be very useful. For others this can be a good refresher.

Be Better!