Friday, March 29, 2013

Civil 3D 2014 – Maintenance Mode

Autodesk has announced the release of Civil 3D 2014. From the looks of it Civil 3D 2014 is in maintenance mode. The existing pressure pipes have been improved with new features and some other minor fixes, but no additional BIM objects in the product. It will be interesting to see if Autodesk poured resources into improving the speed and stability of this new release.

If we don’t see any improvements in speed or bug fixes would it be safe to assume Autodesk has put Civil 3D out to pasture like they did with Land Desktop? Is InfraWorks the new replacement? Only time will tell once users start using Civil 3D 2014 in production.

Am I totally wrong and Civil 3D 2015 will be busting out of the seams with new BIM objects?

What do you think?

Thursday, March 21, 2013

Modifying Profile View Bands

Here’s how to update a band’s profile and pipe network through code. Well the part I was having trouble with. You need to Get the ProfileViewBandItems and the Set the ProfileViewBandItems. If you don’t set it, then it won’t work.

ProfileViewBandItemCollection bottomBandItems = profileView.Bands.GetBottomBandItems(); 
ProfileViewBandItemCollection topBandItems = profileView.Bands.GetTopBandItems();
bottomBandItems = profileView.Bands.GetBottomBandItems(); 
topBandItems = profileView.Bands.GetTopBandItems();

UpdateBandProfileAndDataSource(PipeNetworkObjId, prof, bottomBandItems); 
UpdateBandProfileAndDataSource(PipeNetworkObjId, prof, topBandItems);


Tuesday, March 19, 2013

Computer Specs

The Kung Fu drafter sent out a request through Twitter for the latest computer specs. Unfortunately I’m of an opinion the question has become irrelevant. It’s not irrelevant in the sense that computers aren’t getting better, but the AutoCAD, and by extension Civil 3D, aren’t developing with the hardware available. AutoCAD hasn’t joined the multithreaded software revolution. It probably never will, or at least for the product you purchase today. It appears that Autodesk has decided to skip multithreaded applications in favor of developing a replacement product on the cloud.

For instance when I went to a Dell event releasing the latest Dell Precision Workstation products; Intel presented where a small change in the code brought the time to do a complex tasks from hours to minutes using their newest processors. A truly astounding reduction in time to process. In the past year I’ve programmed some complex tools. One in particular was processing thousands of points and converting them into alignments, profiles, and labels for use in floodplain studies. The code was slow. It was largely slow because I was only able to use one of the eight cores on my computer, instead of all 8. If I was able to use all eight cores I could have done the tasks in about 1/7 of the time. The weakest link in the process was my needing to interact with AutoCAD. Since AutoCAD generally requires a single threaded interaction, my program was slower then it needed to be. All of the computations where simple math, they where just numerous.

I currently do all of my design work in Virtual Machines. Partly to be able to program Civil 3D applications in a 32-bit environment, to debug with Visual Studio, and because I’ve found Civil 3D to be unusable with Windows 8. I haven’t seen any degradation of performance from going from 8 cores to 4 cores. So my 2 year old Dell Precision laptop is handling Civil 3D just fine. I can’t see any advantage to upgrading my computer the latest hardware, because it would probably be a waste of money.

I occasionally do work for a large AEC firm doing levee modeling at one of their workstations. The levees are contained within drawings that go for a mile or two. I spend most of my time waiting for Civil 3D to build the corridor. It’s quite disappointing to have the time to look at the processor utilization and find that only one of the four cores is maxed out. The workstation is over three years old, I couldn’t honestly say it needs to be replaced.


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