I have been using Civil 3D for the past 6 years. At first it was a great, although buggy, improvement over Land Desktop, unfortunately the product has stopped evolving. The program has seen improvements in speed, but it still dreadfully slow at regenerating viewports. The hype over BIM started three or four years ago, unfortunately all it has been is sizzle and with no meat.
Some have blamed Civil 3D’s slowness on it being built on top of AutoCAD. Unfortunately I don’t think this is the case. The issue is the Civil 3D framework itself. Civil 3D Objects go through numerous checks to make sure it’s up to date when an object is asked to present it’s information. For instance clicking on a pipe object causes it to be opened and closed programmatically up to seven times. Now think about what happens when you print with a viewport with a drawing containing pipe networks. Each pipe object is opened and closed numerous times, even if it isn’t located within the viewport. Each and every object that is visible in model space is accessed. You’d think by now the programmers of Civil 3D would recognize this slowness and fixed it.
I was working on a programming project that created viewports for corresponding profile views. There were 30 profile views in the drawing. Attempting to create layouts and viewports for the profile views took up to 45 minutes, if it even got there before causing Civil 3D to crash. The horrendous performance of Civil 3D was evident in this project when the all of the layers where turned off and the layout and viewport creation took about 45 seconds. Any time savings Civil 3D provides in labeling is quickly consumed by plotting out a set. Heaven forbid a last minute sheet gets added to a project after you plot the set. Do we really deserve to take an hour or two to plot out a large set of drawings?
Now it looks like Autodesk is going to release and/or market to us about point cloud features in Civil 3D, or at least I’m guessing due to some Twitter activity. So Autodesk has spent the last three or four years marketing to us about BIM, failing to deliver any new complete features to make it a reality. Evidently they have been working on point cloud features instead of BIM features. I don’t quite get this push into point clouds. What’s the point if we only get a surface object? A surface object, if history is any indication, where we’ll have to winnow out a majority of the point cloud points to get a workable surface. If we can’t turn the point clouds into pavement, curbs, gutters, trees, retaining walls, pipes, signs, striping, curb ramps, sidewalks, and all of the other objects we design what’s the point?
I personally don’t see myself interacting with point clouds, and I suspect a vast majority of engineers are in the same boat. I do know a majority of engineers design pavement, curbs, gutters, trees, retaining walls, pipes, signs, striping, curb ramps, sidewalks, spillways, detention basins, and all of the other objects. I think I’m at the point where I don’t renew my subscription in a few months when it comes due. Maybe it’s time I’m as tight with my software budget as Autodesk is for BIM features in Civil 3D. I guess you could say I’m a disgruntled customer.
Some might indicate my rants are ill advised. But really this blog isn’t about pleasing Autodesk, or any other vendors. This blog is about reminders to myself. This one just memorializes my feelings on the state of the Civil 3D product and possibly a reminder on why I ended my Civil 3D subscription. Ultimately I’m just a consumer of a product and get to choose whether or not I purchase a product or not. The blog doesn’t make massive amounts of money for myself, and due to the small potential audience I doubt it ever will. Unless of course someone offers to to pay pre dot com crash money for the blog.