Thursday, August 13, 2015

Why Should Land Desktop be Brought Back? Because Civil 3D and Infraworks are Broken

Over at BIM on the Rocks Karen Weiss argues why Land Desktop shouldn’t be brought back. This blog post is why she is wrong and Land Desktop should be brought back.
The main reason to bring Land Desktop back is that both Civil 3D and Infraworks are broken when it comes to production work. Why go to products that are inherently broken? Civil 3D often causes more rework than it initially saved in having dynamic labels. Infraworks is broken because it is a predominately a Garbage in Garbage Out product that makes pretty pictures.


When you placed a label in Land Desktop it stays at that location with accurate contents. Sure if a design change happened you had to change the label. After using Civil 3D for nearly a decade I’ve often been bit by Civil 3D deciding the label where I placed originally should be moved. So now Civil 3D has decided my 2% minimum slope label needs to go label an area where it needs to be 1% minimum or in a profile I need to label a begin curve PVI from plan geometry and I simply add a PVI to indicate a mid point on  a plan view curb and magically my profile label has moved down the profile in the middle of line making my BC label look way out of whack. At this point Land Desktop has Civil 3D beat.
Another example is if I decide to modify my curb width in a parking lot surface with having them stay the same elevation, guess what I have to do in Civil 3D? If you guessed move each and every TC/FL/FS label then you have guessed correctly. I change my surface, now I have to go back and move each and everyone of those $#)@!#L$5 labels. Even though Karen says model based design is necessary, Autodesk has clearly forgotten to implement the model based design. For if Autodesk had a model based product wouldn’t my labels automagically move with the design change?
Surely if Civil 3D or Infraworks was a model based design then those labels would be tied to the model I’m supposed to be creating to save me time? If it’s just killing my time, then it obviously not worth the time to learn Autodesk’s supposed model based design.


Ever print a large set of plans from Civil 3D? Want to live in the 1990’s for printing speed? Then go ahead and use Civil 3D. A large plan set from Land Destop can be printed in a time frame measure in minutes. Well Civil 3D? Well you better hope you don’t have any changes, such as adding sheets to the plan, because you’ll be measuring your print time in hours. Like you just missed your deadline by days because it takes 4 hours to print your 90 page set of plans.

Model Based Design

I’m not seeing model based design in Civil 3D or Infraworks. Just yesterday I helped a novice Civil 3D and Infraworks user move his design from old AutoCAD (not even Land Desktop) based workflow to Infraworks. Not once did I say you need to turn this into a pavement object, or this into a stripping object, or this into an inlet, or this into a PCC Pad, or sidewalk. It was take your contours turn them into essentially a Land Desktop surface and then bring that surface into Infraworks. You know that pavement you want to see in Infraworks. Yeah, your parking lots are just dumb polylines indicating the area of materials to be applied and just show the surface as a different material called a coverage area. Now, why would you expect an Civil 3D/Infraworks MODEL to have pavement thicknesses to calculate accurate quantities? Well of course because Karen is writing articles for model based design on software that doesn’t really do model based design. So the lesson here is you don’t even need Civil 3D to bring design data into Infraworks, yes AutoCAD is just as good as Civil 3D in creating a model in Civil 3D. This should show you how little modeling there is required in Civil 3D and Infraworks.
I’m fairly certain he didn’t even need to convert the polylines to a Civil 3D surface. He could have just brought in the polylines as coverages not draped to a surface and they would have created the surface in Infraworks.
Why move to Civil 3D and Infraworks? I guess the real question is why not move to Land Desktop and Infraworks? Because there is little difference between a Civil 3D/Infraworks pair and a Land Desktop/Infraworks pair.
If Autodesk wants to change my mind then they need to give us all the ability to model with actual objects we are designing. Curbs, pavement, gutter, sidewalk, landscaping, etc…. Until then please stop posting about these imaginary model based products Autodesk has for site civil engineers. If they do this then I’d probably stop posting about Autodesk not having Model Based software products.
I really would Autodesk would focus on the Model and not empty marketing.

[Edit: This post is mostly tongue in cheek.]


Wes Ashworth said...

Well said. There really is a huge opportunity for someone to create a MODERN Model based civil design program. As I've been saying for the past four years, Autodesk has all but abandoned development of Civil 3d.

Thanks Christopher.

Wes Ashworth

Anonymous said...

Hurrah! I'm glad I'm not the only one who feels like Civil needs a major overhaul.

My main complaint with Autodesk products is that they are constantly adding new features, which never work correctly, and then they spend more time making new features instead of getting the old features working like they should. Insanity.

Chuck Lamping, PE said...

But Civil 3D has what engineers crave - it's dynamic!

Anonymous said...

How did you read my mind??

Joe Bouza said...

Funny stuff Chris. Sad but funny

Joe Bouza

Joe Bouza said...

Funny Stuff Chris. Sad but funny


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