Tuesday, May 16, 2017

Statistics Tab

This post shows how to get the Statistics Tab back in Windows File Properties. The first step is to type Default Programs at the Windows Start Menu.


Then select Choose default apps by file type.


Then select the AutoCAD DWG Launcher as the app to launch DWG files.


Now the Statistics Tab will show up.


Sunday, April 30, 2017

Setting the Working Folder and Data Shortcut Project

Well a long time request has been to have the ability to set the working folder and/or data shortcut folder in Civil 3D via a code solution. Well after a long exhaustive search on how to even get the current working folder and data shortcut folder I’ve finally figured out the secret handshake.

The first thing to do is read the text file that contains the Working Folder and Data shortcut information. It is stored at:

C:\Users\Christopher\AppData\Roaming\Autodesk\C3D 2017\enu\Project Management\ShortcutFolders.xml

Replace Christopher with the current user’s name and 2017 with the current version of Civil 3D. There are plenty of examples online on how to read and process XML files, so I will leave that part out of this post.

Then modify the contents of the file, here is my current file contents.

<?xml version="1.0"?>
    <WorkingFolder path="C:\Users\Christopher\Documents\Delete" current="-1">
        <ShortcutFolder path="C:\Users\Christopher\Documents\Delete\Blah" desc="TestDescription" current="-1" uuid="Blah-0BF7567C-C01F-43dc-BA3B-93F604ACDFBD"/>
        <ShortcutFolder path="C:\Users\Christopher\Documents\Delete\asdf" desc="" current="0" uuid="asdf-F1F190A5-253C-4edc-A3C0-038919899515"/>
    <WorkingFolder path="C:\Civil 3D Projects" current="0"/>
    <WorkingFolder path="C:\Civil 3D Projects\" current="0"/>

Change the current=”0” to current=”-1” to indicate which working folder and data shortcut you want current and set the current=”0” for the data that you no longer want current.

Then save the file.

In Civil 3D run the REFRESHSHORTCUTNODE command at the command line and Civil 3D will read the XML file and update Civil 3D to the current state of the XML file.

Note that this workflow isn’t foolproof. If you have two instances of Civil 3D open they will both updated the XML file. This leads to problems of order if you are reading the file trying to figure out what the current working folder and data shortcuts folder is current.

Monday, April 03, 2017

Missing Layer State Icons

I’ve found that I was missing the Layer State Icons in the Layer Properties.


Now I rarely use the buttons now that I work on mainly small projects. But sometimes I do find it comes in handy to save layer states, especially when working with older drawings. So to get the missing layer state icons back I had to collapse the filters panel and then the icons show up.


Once collapsed and re-expanded the layer state icons stay visible.

Unfortunately, the change doesn’t stick, and the next time you restart AutoCAD you have to do the steps again.

Tuesday, March 07, 2017

Draw Order Based on Layer

I just found a new command to me. I suspect it's been in Civil 3D for a while. While it doesn't solve the issue of things being in the wrong draw order, it does provide a way to quickly put things in the correct draw order by layer. The command is called aeclayerorder (LayerOrder also works) and is an AutoCAD Architecture command. Civil 3D is built on top of AutoCAD Architecture so it has the command.
Here is the help file of the command:
Essentially type aeclayerorder at the command line and then order the layers in the list to the desired order. The layers you want to be on the bottom go to the bottom of the list. Then pressing OK will reset the draw order of objects. So easy to control draw order by layers!

Before, hatch is in front of line:


After, hatch is behind line:


Once the layers are ordered it takes like 3 clicks to get everything back in order.

Civil 3D–Hardware Evaluation NVIDIA Quadro P2000

So the question is has hardware finally caught up with poor Civil 3D architecture?

It appears that it has. I recently went to Stanford University, Center for Integrated Facility Engineering, to test out newly available hardware. NVIDIA has recently released a new line of video graphics based on the Pascal architecture and I was able to get my hands on a new P2000 video card.


The Center for Integrated Facility Engineering studies BIM and other related topics. The researcher, Forest Olaf Peterson, I was working with is interested in BIM and workspace planning in relation to Heavy Civil Construction.  The data set is a from a project modeled from a Caltrans project in Merced County that includes a bridge, retaining walls, ramps, and mainline reconstruction. The purpose of the research was to see how well modeling could be used to do workspace planning.


To start we need a benchmark of testing. I’ve got a fairly recent Dell Precision Laptop (7710) with an older NVIDIA Quadro M3000M. Using the same data set I’m seeing worse performance than I saw with the new graphics card. The drawing took longer to open and navigating the model ended up with more pauses and freezing. My laptop has a XEON CPU E3-1505M v5 @ 2.8GHz which uses turbo to increase the CPU up to 3.4 GHz.


The data set is quite old. It was started around 2013 and at the time computers had a hard time keeping up. The researcher tried out numerous video cards, computers, memory, and settings to try to get something to work. Unfortunately he spent more time waiting on Civil 3D then doing his actual research.

The video card was tested on a rebuilt computer. It had an older AMD FX-9590 @ 4.78 GHz processor on a new mother board, new memory, and a bigger cooling system. The performance was decent. The drawing opened in a relatively quick time of 1 minute and 30 seconds. The panning and zooming was improved over my laptop. There still was the freezes that occur in Civil 3D, but it was manageable to navigate the model without much of a headache. The researcher noted that performance was way better than previous hardware setups. Here is a video of the computer in action.

Here is a link to the computer specifications.


Overall the new video card performed well, better than I expected. I expected no change and was pleasantly surprised that it performs so well.

Also while I was there was a server that had been setup to try out some new technologies. The specs for the server is located here. The server setup is a bit pricey at about $35k, but it provided improved performance. The server is a SuperMicro Superserver 1028GQ-TRT + 4xM60 Design with  2x E5-2699 V4 2.2Ghz 22Core CPUs, 256GB Memory, 2x Intel S3520 150GB SSD SATA, 4x NVidia M60, DP 10GB Ethernet, 2P 8GB FC HBA, 3 Year Warranty. The server provided improved performance over the workstation. At the time of testing there was only one user on the server, so there might be some degradation of performance at full load. The server was less laggy and had improved navigation ability. Here is a video of the server in action.

The NVIDIA Tesla M60 video card in the server is based on a different technology than the NVIDIA Quadro P2000.

The video cards come out starting this month at OEM suppliers. I might see about upgrading my card when it becomes available more widely.

Note NVIDIA supplied me the P2000 video card without charge. One of the occasional benefits of being a blogger.


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