Friday, December 18, 2009

I Forgot a Five Year Anniversary

Wow, time flies. August marked the 5 year anniversary of this blog. I wish that I would have remembered and marked the event more formally (I feel like a bad spouse). Maybe a site face lift would be a good gift that I can give it.

One thing is for sure, over these five years, Civil 3D has evolved tremendously.

Thanks to all the visitors over the years. I particularly appreciate those that took the time to comment and to provide feedback.

I look forward to the next 5 years.

Be Better! ...remember anniversaries. ;^)

Friday, November 20, 2009

Civil 3D & Windows 7

It is now official that Civil 3D supports Windows 7. The title of this post links to the "System Requirements" page for Civil 3D that now includes Windows 7 Professional/Ultimate/Home Premium.

Windows 7 and plenty of RAM help eliminate "Out of Memory" errors that some users experience.

There have been some users that have been waiting for this information.

For a list of Autodesk applications that support Windows 7 click here.

Be Better! windows of opportunities.

Friday, November 13, 2009

Autodesk Guide to Sustainable Design

It seems that just about every conversation that I have had recently involves either the subject of Sustainable Design or Building Information Modeling (BIM).

For those that would like a brief primer about Sustainable Design the Autodesk website includes a newly modified "Autodesk Guide to Sustainable Design for Architecture, Engineering and Construction".

This guide provides content and best practices for various phases of a "New Construction" project such as...

Requirements Development
Detailed Design
Implementation Documentation
Operate & Maintain

or for a "Renovation" project like...

Existing Conditions
Preliminary Analysis
Detailed Analysis
Operate and Maintain

...each phase contains detailed information with regards to "Design Decisions", "How to", and "Autodesk Tools".

This will provide a good understanding about how Sustainable Design can be accomplished during the life cycle of a project.

Be Better! green by design.

Autodesk Labs Provides Bridge Modeler for Civil 3D

Autodesk Labs, which provides access to previews of new technology, has made available "Bridge Modeler for AutoCAD Civil 3D 2010". This preview add-on can be installed on Civil 3D 2010 and Civil 2010.

The overview states:

"Bridge Modeler for AutoCAD Civil 3D 2010 is a Civil 3D add-in module which can create simplified bridges directly from a Civil 3D corridor object. It is a technology preview project at Autodesk Labs derived from a subset of Bridge Extension for Revit Structure 2010, a part of Subscription Advantage Pack 2010, which provides more robust bridge modeling capability and works with Bridge Modeler for AutoCAD Civil 3D 2010.

With this add-on, Highway Engineers and Bridge Engineers are treated separately to assume requirements for design practice and preference of technologies. For more information, see the Getting Started Guide (PDF).

The Bridge Modeler for AutoCAD Civil 3D expires on March 15, 2010."

The intention of a technology preview is for anyone, that wishes, to use the technology and provide feedback to help shape how it evolves.

Be Better! bridges whenever possible.

Friday, October 30, 2009

New White Paper - AutoCAD Civil 3D - Technical Note - Harnessing the Power of AutoCAD Civil 3D

While discussing White Papers and Skill Builders with co-workers today, I ran across a White Paper I had not seen before.

AutoCAD® Civil 3D® 2010
Technical Note
Harnessing the Power of AutoCAD Civil 3D

This 12 page document covers things such as...
  • Strategies to Enhance the Civil 3D Experience
  • Hardware Requirements for AutoCAD Civil 3D
  • Performance
  • Memory Primer
  • Operating Systems Primer
  • Optimizing Memory Usage
  • Operating System Recommendations
  • Model Optimization and Best Practices
  • More Strategies and Tactics

As users contemplate new equipment, changes in workflows (perhaps the adoption of a BIM workflow), and other company procedures, we should be well familiar with how to get the most out of what is in place.

Click on the title of this post or the title of the PDF file to get to this document.

Be Better! ...harness your potential.

Monday, October 26, 2009

Carlson Connect for Civil 3D 2010

I often get asked if certain third party add-ons are available yet or not. Well, I was just informed that Carlson Connect for Civil 3D 2010 is available.

Here is the description from the Carlson site:

Add-on for AutoDesk Civil 3D 2010. A collection of routines for transferring and converting data between Civil 3D 2010 and several popular data collectors. Carlson Connect runs inside Civil 3D 2010 and uses the current project data. Free utility to any Civil 3D 2010 user.

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

Be Better! ...connect with others.

Thursday, October 22, 2009

Subscription Advantage Packs

It is likely that most have heard about the availability of Subscription Advantage Packs for various products that are now available for download from the Autodesk Subscription site. But, not everyone has heard yet.

These Advantage Packs provide new functionality to these products well ahead of next year's releases.

Subscription Advantage Packs are available for:

  • AutoCAD Civil 3D 2010
  • AutoCAD Civil 2010
  • AutoCAD Map 3D 2010
  • AutoCAD 2010
  • Autodesk Navisworks 2010
  • Autodesk Revit Architecture 2010
  • Autodesk Revit MEP 2010
  • Autodesk Revit Structure 2010
  • AutoCAD Architecture 2010
  • AutoCAD MEP 2010
  • AutoCAD P&ID 2010
  • Autodesk Inventor 2010
  • AutoCAD Mechanical 2010
  • Autodesk Showcase 2010

The AutoCAD Civil 3D 2010 Subscription Advantage Pack adds most of the new features to the Toolbox tab of the Toolspace

So far, the initial reaction has been very positive. Many are looking forward to benfit from the new capabilities.

Be Better! ...take full advantage of your benefits.

Friday, October 16, 2009

AutoCAD Civil 3D Importer for Trimble Business Center

I saw this a while ago and had not had the opportunity to mention it. This utility allows direct import of Civil 3D models data into the Trimble Business Center - Heavy Construction Edition software.

This extends the capabilities of TBC-HCE to read alignments, profiles, COGO points, and corridors, natively. This means, for some, the process will be more interoperable (no specific file creation for contractors).

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

Be Better! ... share.

Thursday, September 24, 2009

AutoCAD Civil 2D 2010 Update 2 is Available

Click on the title of this post to get to the download page for the AutoCAD Civil 3D 2010 Update 2 on the Autodesk website.

As always, it is very important to read the Readme file which will contain important information about the update.

This Update resolves over 30 issues, and contains the AutoCAD Civil 3D 2010 Update 1, AutoCAD 2010 Update 1, and AutoCAD Map 3D Update 1.

Be Better! ...resolve issues.

Communication Center has Civil 3D 2010 Update 2

On a hunch, after seeing a "tweet", by Matt Anderson, about Update 2 being available I checked my Communication Center...

and noticed that an update was available.

After clicking on the Comm. Center link, I was taken to the following page to install Update 2...

Notice that it says that the original product CD will be needed (it asked me for CD #2). After pressing the "Update" button and allowing the process to complete (maybe 5-10 minutes I did not keep track), my Communication Center then displayed...

And to confirm I checked "Help" > "About" which now displays as Version 3 (original plus 2 updates).

Be Better! ...update yourself.

Wednesday, September 23, 2009

Civil 2010 Update 2 Available (Not Civil 3D)

For those of you that have AutoCAD Civil 2010 (not Civil 3D 2010) Update 2 has been posted and is ready for download.

Please read the Readme file to get the installation details and any known issues (None).

The update resolve over 30 issues and it includes Update 1 (for those that have not yet installed it).

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

Be Better! ...Update things.

Monday, August 24, 2009

Survey Regarding Help

I have long felt that the help systems in AutoCAD Civil 3D is vastly improved over the help systems of many legacy Autodesk applications.

In my opinion as a former instructor, one the most important abilities for competent users, was the ability to find help from within the product versus asking others over the cubicle walls. Finding "official" help tends to provide the exact way to use, or do something, versus someone's belief of how something works. Sometimes, pressing the F1 button was my best skill.

I was made aware that we have created a survey that requests your input regarding Civil 3D's Documentation and User Assistance system (Help). If you would like to participate please click on any of the links in this post. Below is the official invite:

AutoCAD Civil 3D User Assistance Survey

You are invited to participate in the Civil 3D Documentation and User Assistance Survey.
By participating, you are helping us understand how you use the Civil 3D documentation and providing us with feedback on how we can improve future documentation.

Click here to take the survey

Be Better! whenever you can.

Wednesday, August 12, 2009

Production Software Poll & Being Civil

On the left edge of the screen you should be able to see a poll that asks about your primary version of civil engineering design software. Please take a moment to enter your vote.

This poll will be active until August 28.

This is the same poll that you might see on the "Being Civil" blog. If you have not visisted that blog you absolutely should. There is lots of great info there. Like the post about a video titled:

"Understanding Performance using Civil 3D".

That is a 22 minute video with great information about the different memory, video and operating system considerations that impact performance.

Be Better! ...always vote.

Tuesday, August 11, 2009

Field to Finish Screencast

Similar to the "AutoCAD Civil 3D: The Road Ahead" screencast there is a new screencast titled "AutoCAD Civil 3D: Field to Finish".

This screencast contains a few vignettes that describe AutoCAD Civil 3D's surveying capabilities when it comes to gathering survey information and having that information automatically create symbology, linework, etc. in a drawing, saving significant time in a project workflow. Also mentioned are more modern techniques that can replace certain legacy procedures.

I enjoyed watching the screencast to remind myself of a few processes that I may not interact with on a day-in, day-out basis. This screencast is also good for conveying AutoCAD Civil 3D's capabilities with individuals that may be involved in the decision making process on when to implement Civil 3D.

If you are unfamiliar with what AutoCAD Civil 3D can do in this segment of a project I encourage you to view this screencast.

Be Better! ...Finish what you start.

Friday, July 31, 2009

Civil 3D 2010 Update 1 Now Available

Update 1 for Civil 3D is now available on the Autodesk website.

As always please be certain to read the README file prior to installing for complete installation Guidance.

The README states that the update includes resolutions to over 70 issues.

Note: Make sure that the page you are on shows "Published date: 2009-Jul-31"

Be Better! up to date.

Tuesday, July 21, 2009

Civil 3D 2010 Style Creation Wizard

Recently a new extension called the "Style Creation Wizard" was made available. It is intended for small companies (1-5 seats) in order to help them create fundamental styles, for the more commonly used object types (see image above), very easily.

The Style Creation Wizard will, in a simple interface, walk a user through a few screens that will generate a new simple style from their responses for layers, colors, fonts, linetypes, etc. A detailed understanding of the actual Civil 3D 2010 styles creation process is not needed, and many of the needed styles when starting with Civil 3D can be created by this wizard.

So if you or your organization... having difficulty defining needed styles or
...can't afford to hire someone to create needed styles or
...does not want to use the out of the box layers (National CAD Standards based)

...then you should try this extension.

Instructions for use:


Download the attached “” file to your machine (some may have to remove the .txt extension depending upon browser).
Extract the files from the zip file to a folder.
Double click on the “Setup.exe” file to install

Launch Civil 3D and type the command AeccXStyleWizard on the command line.
Follow the specific instructions detailed at each step of the style creation process.

Lastly, as users become more capable with the style creation process, these newly created styles can then be modified through traditional means and made more sophisticated.

Be Better! a wizard at creating styles.

Tuesday, July 14, 2009

New Skill Builders Released

There have been four Skill Builders made available since I last mentioned them here in this blog. They are:

1. Sharing Corridor Assemblies in AutoCAD Civil 3D 2009 (April 2008)

2. Adding Cut and Fill Conditions to a Corridor Assembly (August 2008)

3. Analyzing Storm Sewer Data with the Hydraflow Storm Sewers Extension for AutoCAD Civil 3D 2010 (April 2009)

4. Using Dynamic GENIO Data with AutoCAD Civil 3D Shortcuts (? 2009)

If you are not familiar with Skill Builders, they help users increase their knowledge of Civil 3D by providing advanced, solution-oriented information that build on the foundation provided in the standard user documentation. They typically include a PDF file (instructions), and DWG file (practice data), and any other necessary files.

Clink on the title of this post to get to the AutoCAD Civil 3D & AutoCAD Civil Skill Builders page.

Be Better! your skills.

Thursday, June 25, 2009

Web-Based Civil 3D Documentation

I do not know how long this has been available but the entire set of Civil 3D 2010 documentation is available in a web-based version (not as pdf's which are here).

This means that web searches should include this information.

Be Better! ...offer choices.

Web-Based Map 3D Documentation

Previously, we have been able to get to on-line pdf versions of the Map 3D Documentation. just like we can get to on-line pdf versions of the Civil 3D Documentation.

But now we can get to web-based versions of the Map 3D Documentation. For some this may be an easier way to read this information. More importantly, this means that web searches will include this information.

I highly recommend that you specifically look at "GIS Skills for Engineers" (the bottom most book). This documentation set contains animations (the "Show me how to..." links). These can be very helpful.

Do not forget that we can get to two version of the Map ribbons by changing our workspace to either:

  1. Tool-based Geospatial
  2. Task-based Geospatial

Be Better! ...give options.

Friday, June 19, 2009

Civil Engineering Resource Center is Redesigned

I must say, I like the NEW look, and feel of the Civil Engineering Resource Center. There is a great deal of information like How To's, Webcasts, White Papers, the Ask Lucy sections, and much more.

Some of the information is shown in three industry segments:
  1. Transportation
  2. Land Development
  3. Environmental/Water
It is definitely worth a look.

Be Better! more resourceful.

Tie a Ribbon around Civil 3D 2010 - the new user interface VIDEO

The title of this post is linked to a 25 minute YouTube video about the Civil 3D 2010 NEW ribbon interface. It has some great explanations, tips and answers some anticipated questions.

I highly recommend the viewing of this video!

Be Better! ...learn how things are intended to be used.

Monday, June 01, 2009

Old Styles Are Back Again

A friend just mentioned that...

AutoCAD Land Desktop Style Converter Extension for AutoCAD Civil and Civil 3D 2010

... was now available for download at the Autodesk Subscription Center

This extension converts some Land Desktop styles and/or project settings for:

Layers and text styles
Line, curve and spirals
Contours and surfaces
Alignments, profiles and pipes

and creates equivalent Civil 3D styles and settings via a wizard. I recommend that you download this extension and give it a try.

Be Better!  ...learn about the tools you have available.

Friday, May 29, 2009

Which OS Is Best? This OS I Guess.

There has been a great deal of sharing of Civil 3D tips and best practices lately. One that I recently became aware of is "Which operating system is best for Civil 3D 2010"?

As I understand it, the recommendations (in order) are:

  1. Windows Vista 64 bit
  2. Windows XP 64 bit
  3. Windows Vista 32 bit with 3GB switch
  4. Window XP 32 bit with 3GB switch
  5. Window Vista 32 bit
  6. Windows XP 32 bit (my new laptop has this)

I wish that I would have known this one month ago.

Oh, and 8 GB of RAM is suggested for Window Vista 64 bit.

Be Better! ...operate in the best environment.

A Little Birdie Told Me

I apologize for not being able to recall who made the following suggestion, I believe on Twitter (I tried but could not find the tweet), but I found this tip to be a good one.

The first time that I select a ribbon tab other than the "Home" tab, I take a moment and select all of the tabs one by one. The reason for this is that Civil 3D puts the tabs in cached memory the first time that it is used, and it takes a second or three to do that. Once cached the ribbons change very quickly.

This has helped me by preventing any ribbon switching lag at unexpected moments. I control when that happens, and it is usually right at the beginning of a drawing session before I get engrossed with the design.

I hope that some of you find this helpful.

Be Better! ...Plan ahead in order to work faster.

Wednesday, May 06, 2009

Trimble Link Is Ready For 2010

My co-worker Jerry Bartels sent me the link to download Trimble Link for AutoCAD Civil 3D 2010 and AutoCAD Civil 2010. Click here or on the title to download.

Be Better! ... Work very well with others.

Thursday, April 30, 2009

Uncover the Mask

I received an inquiry and a comment today pertaining to Civil 3D 2010 and the new setting possible to only mask the contour line with contour labels.

This breif video explains what is now possible.

Be Better! ...Hide only what should be hidden.

Monday, April 27, 2009

Civil 3D Quantifies

Here is a brief video that shows a couple of portions from the tutorials for Civil 3D 2010's new ability to assign pay list codes to objects and then generate pay item quantity reports.

This can quantify individual objects, linear objects, areas, Corridor components via corridor codes sets, and Pipe Network components via parts lists.

Be Better! ...Learn to keep good track of things.

Monday, April 06, 2009

Autodesk Pitches In

Today, Autodesk, Inc announced the Autodesk Assistance Program, designed to help displaced workers. I am sure that you will see and hear much more about this from multiple sources.

The title of this post is linked to the webpage where potential participants can sign-up and then download a 13-month student licence of AutoCAD Civil 3D (or other software), obtain free on-demand training (24-7) via Retrieve Technologies, Inc. vBooks, get information about reduced-cost (or free) classroom training at reseller facilities, and see info regarding getting a certification at an extremely nominal cost.

In this YouTube video Senior Vice President Steve Blum provides detailed information about this program. An FAQ pdf is also available.

Be Better!... Invest in yourself and others.

Friday, April 03, 2009

Take out the Trash

Today, I was pleasantly surprised when I tried the -PURGE command in Civil 3D 2010. While attempting to fix a corrupt drawing that was sent to me, I used this command and found a couple of extra options that I had never seen before (see image below). So I tried the "Zero-length geometry" and "Empty text objects" on the drawing and sure enough it reported that it had in fact removed several such items.

My first thought was, I have to remember to use this on all drawings, one never knows what we have inherited.
Be Better! ...Clean thoroughly.

Wednesday, April 01, 2009

Now Where Is It?

For most users one activity that must be addressed when a new version of any product is released is to understand how the user interface has changed. Where are our most commonly used commands?

Civil 3D 2010 now primarily uses a new user interface called the Ribbon. Users that wish to know where the command that they need is located have a new tool called "Where is My Command?".

We can get to this tool from either the "Help" icon pulldown in the extreme upper right hand corner of Civil 3D 2010...

or from within Help itself.

I did a search for the "Import Google Earth Image and Surface" command and was shown exactly where to find it.

The logic of the Ribbon is very user friendly and finding things the second time is very intuitive.

Be Better! ...know where to find things.

Tuesday, March 31, 2009

The Ribbon's Length

I wanted to begin discussion about Civil 3D 2010 with a brief one regarding "The Ribbon". The Ribbon is a new user interface that provides a consistent look and feel for users across various products. Civil 3D 2009 had the AutoCAD 2009 ribbon (off by default), with no Civil 3D commands available on it.

The New Civil 3D 2010 ribbon contains a combination of Civil 3D commands and AutoCAD commands co-mingled to provide very logic groupings of these commands on Panels visible by selecting various Tabs. The Map commands are also available on a different workspace. There are quite a few YouTube Videos about the ribbon available for viewing already.

Today, I wanted to point out something that my co-worker Jerry Bartels mentioned during last Friday's Civil 3D webcast. That is that the Ribbon's appearance will change depending upon the resolution (or whether the application is maximized or unmaximized). Below is the ribbon I see by default when my screen resolution is set to my typical maximum resolution of 1400 x 1050.

Notice that some of the icons have desriptive text that assist with the identification of the proper button/command.

Next is the ribbon when my screen resolution is set to 1024 x 768 (I often project at this resolution).

Notice that there are fewer descriptive text. Some will see this and may be challenged to find things as fast as those that have more of the descriptive text.

That is all I wanted to point out today.

Be Better! ...find the best resolution for yourself.

Friday, March 06, 2009

AU 2009 Speaker Proposals

Yes, it has already begun. The initial steps toward AU 2009.

There will be a few changes this year. Most notably, AU 2009 will be held at the Mandalay Bay Hotel in Las Vegas, Nevada, December 1-4. There should be over 600 class sessions and there is confirmed space for over 9,000 attendees.

For those of you that are interested in submitting proposals to teach class sessions, you can learn more at the Call for Proposals webpage at the Autodesk University Online Website. The deadline for submitting proposals is April 30th. Speakers and sessions are announced in early July.

This is obviously a great way to share your industry and product knowledge.

Be Better!... teach a class.

Thursday, March 05, 2009

Civil 3D "The Road Ahead"

This post is linked to a webpage that contains a series of snippets about different portion of Civil 3D. It can help explain Civil 3D to those that are not very familiar with it. It can help provide some additional propective to those that are somewhat familiar, and it can provide some cool eye candy to those that are very familiar.

Additionally, the page has links to series of upcoming road design webcasts and to the Transportation page of the Autodesk Government Resource Center which contains many "How To's" videos to learn from. I have found these to be very helpful in learning portions of the software that I had not used a great deal.

Be Better!...get your message across.

Friday, February 27, 2009

Update 2.1 for Civil 3D 2009 is Now Available

Update 2.1 is now available. The title of this post is linked to the download page.

As always please review the Readme file to see how to best install and use this update.

Be Better!...simply that

Tuesday, February 24, 2009

FEMA Flood Hazard Areas in Google Earth

The title of this post is linked to a FEMA Mapping download page where we can download two KMZ files that show flood hazard areas and related info in Google Earth.

We have previously seen that Google Earth data (image and 3D surface) can be easily brought into Civil 3D.

Many will find this information very useful.

Be Better! ...Stay high and dry!

Wednesday, February 18, 2009

Dana's New Blog

There have been many people that have, and that do, blog about Civil 3D. Collectively, everyone has shared a tremendous amount of knowledge, best practices, how to's, and much, much, more.

One of my favorite Civil 3D bloggers has been Dana Probert. She has always found creative and humorous ways to give her valuable insight to the rest of us.

Well, she has begun a NEW blog titled "BIM on the Rocks". I highly encourage you to visit this site and see what she has to say (and how she says it).

I particularly like the title because BIM is changing the way many leading companies are doing their work. (Oh, and the title is not "Bimonth eRocks" which was how I first read the address. Sorry Dana.)

I am currently subscribed to over 70 different Civil 3D related blogs. Unfortunately, quite a number of these are no longer active, but I do not unsubscribe because some of the info in the newsreader is still very helpful. I have not added most of the links to the list on the left (time limitations, sorry). If you know of a Civil 3D related blog that you would like Civil 3D users to know about add a comment to this post.

Be Better!... Share Knowledge.

Thursday, February 05, 2009


Today, Shaan Hurley and many other bloggers have been given permission to blog about AutoCAD 2010. click on the title of this post to get to Shaan's blog.

Look for his post from yesterday (February 4) to see a link for a sneak peek webcast for tomorrow (February 6) for AEC products (Civil 3D among other).

Be Better!... Look as far forward as possible!

Tuesday, February 03, 2009

Google Earth 5

There are some interesting new features in the new Google Earth 5 Beta (click on the title of this post to get to the download page). One that I found interesting was the ability to use/load past imagery. I was able to see what the nearby vicinity looked like in 1994 as compared with today.


The present

We can also now see underwater features. I was able to see the seabed between the coast and Catalina Island. I was able to import the seabed data into Civil 3D 2009 and the image was draped on the surface as expected.

Check the somewhat new "Being Civil" blog to see how to get this to work fine.

Be Better!...Remember the Past.

Thursday, January 08, 2009

Civil 3D Interface Basics- A Bite Size Video

This is my first test of posting a video via Blogger.

It is intended for those that wish to see the most basic information of the Civil 3D Interface.

Again, this is the first video and basically a test.

Be Better!...One Video is Worth...