Thursday, September 30, 2010

AutoCAD WS – Not Just Mobile

While I don’t personally own an iPhone, iPod or iPad, I borrowed my wife’s iPod Touch to check out the AutoCAD WS. I found the program a bit hard to use on such a small device. The program got confused when there was numerous objects where I wanted to zoom in closer. I found the user interface on a normal desktop a whole lot more enjoyable. It was easier to zoom in and select objects for modifications.

My biggest disappointment is the lack of compatibility with Civil 3D objects. My computer which has Civil 3D is down, but I suspect if proxygraphics is set to 1 AutoCAD WS may show the underlying primitives instead of boxes.  Another nice feature is the versioning. You can make changes to the  drawings and save them back to the server. The program then allows you to go back and view older versions of the file.

As well as being installed via the Subscription Advantage Pack, the WS Plugin for AutoCAD and AutoCAD based vertical products is available from the AutoCAD WS website. It may have sounded in a previous post of mine that it would only be available from the Subscription Advantage Pack.

Monday, September 27, 2010

AEC Blogger’s Day – Subscription Advantage Pack

Master James Wedding is presenting regarding the new Subscription Advantage Pack for Civil 3D 2011 to be released in the next few days. All of the Subscription Advantage Packs for AutoCAD, MAP 3D and Civil 3D should install onto Civil 3D this year.


AutoCAD gets an AutoCAD WS plugin to take the drawing from the computer to the mobile device. Formerly called Project Butterfly. View, edit and share from the web. WS has no official meaning. Do you have a suggestion for what it should mean?

DWG Conversion Tool – Replacement for Batch Convert

IGES Import/Export – Have no idea what this would be good for. Master John Evens indicates it has something to do with Inventor or Mechanical Desktop.


New FDO provider for ArcGIS. Access more data from ArcGIS Geodatabases which will utilize feature classes and schemas. Can directly connect directly to ArcGIS without going through converting the data to a SHP file and importing it into MAP. Can connect to databases such as the State of Utah’s or other agency databases on line, live.

Civil 3D

Style Management

Import Style and Settings command helps to bring in styles and settings into a drawing. Allows you to select a DWG or DWT file with a dialog box to bring in styles only or styles and settings. Still no option to just bring in a portion of the styles or settings. 918 styles and 1108 settings in the default drawing that ships with the program. If a drafter has messed up the styles, then you could overwrite the styles in the drawing with the correct ones. Not the best solution if you only want one or two styles overwritten. I’m thinking if you have to take 5 minutes trying to explain why this is good, it doesn’t really solve the problem.

Improved Point Imports

Once you select a file, a reduced list of point file formats is available based on what the file contains. So if the file is spaced by commas, comma file formats will be presented. A preview pane is also available to show you what column is assigned to which data type (not a graphic preview of where the points are going to be located at, with the existing linework show, which would be pretty cool to see if the N,E is the correct column).

Superelevation Control

Can transfer from one alignment to another

COGO Editor

Is a dialog box to help create traverses in a graphical manner. Can apply different error reports. Can change the accuracy of what the reports need to be run on. Zoom to segment, zoom to figure. Can change the input data as you go, so if you make a mistake you can go back and edit it rather then starting over. Can save the traverses into an external file and import it back into another drawing, run the dialog on existing polylines. “So simple Simeone could use it”.

DGN Import

The SAP provides the ability to import in DGN files that converts the DGN linework styles into AutoCAD linework styles. Converts the levels to layers. Need the RSC files for the DGN file in order for the linework styles to get the command to work as expected. Put the RSC file into the support file. Make sure you ask for the RSC file when receiving DGN files from others.

DGN Export

Can export utilizing the RSC files to get the linetypes to show up correctly in Microstation. Need to select a seed file that matches the file type you are sending out. Get the seed file from the requester to make things easy.

Don’t forget that Subscription Advantage Packs usually get rolled into the next version of the program.

Disclaimer: Autodesk paid for my trip and stay to attend this event live at Autodesk AEC Headquarters in Waltham, MA.

AEC Blogger’s Day – Subscription Advantage Pack Webcast



Since I don’t have an iPad, so probably not something I’ll be using, but may be of interest to some people. When it does come out check to see how Civil 3D objects are displayed. If they aren’t what you want make sure to voice what you want how Civil 3D objects to be shown.


Not quite sure how this will handle Civil 3D objects, hopefully better then the last tool for the job.


If you use Inventor or other product that utilizes IGES Import/Export you may want to check this out.



If you use Map and ArcGIS you’ll want to check out Maps SAP feature of FDO support for ArcGIS. One is able to directly link on the web a source for ArcGIS data.


Civil 3D SAP Stuff


A simpler dialog import for points, giving you a preview of the columns to see if you selected the correct file format. A graphical preview showing the points in models space would be cool to see if N/E are in the correct column. Maybe to the right of Advanced Options? Too soon for wishes?


Style import and settings, wholesale importing in of styles and/or settings from another drawing. A sledgehammer approach to bringing in style into a drawing or correcting styles which have been improperly edited. An example is in the picture below, go from bad styles with the same name to the corrected ones. Maybe have styles based on customer, with styles with the same name, to go from one to another in case the starting template was wrong.


COGO Point Editor, can edit as you type in the values for a closure, or select a polyline in the drawing. Then do a closure report. Probably will need to do some cleanup before converting the polylines to parcels since you will end up with overlapping polylines between the parcels.


Improved DGN import with support for RSC linetypes and levels. Export is improved by being able to utilize seed files to import them in. Need to make sure to get the RSC and Seed files from who you got the files from or are sending them to. DGN fidelity on exporting of drawing.


Coming soon to that thingy on the top right of Civil 3D.


Links if you want to type:


Civil Visualization

See post:

Storm and Sanitary Analysis

See post:

AEC Blogger’s Day – Vault Collaboration 2011

Vault has an updated process.

Lifecycle states through your design process to tailor to your design process.

Can declare files with permissions that are based on how far the drawing is in the design process. Be able to restrict users from the file, such as keeping engineer’s out of the file until the surveyors are done with the file.

Formalized workflow to go from work in process to accepted drawing as complete.


Work in Process >>> For Review >>> Approved

Each step can have its own permissions on who can view it. A little more to set up to create to formalize the process which can take more time and having to make decisions on how things work.

Categories, Automating Document Management. Categories assign how files are handled ie. who gets to modify it, when different user types can modify the file. Categories can be automatically assigned to drawings, say a surveyor creates a file, the file gets put in the Survey file category. Also can use file name to automatically assign the category. The category can be changed after it is created.

A trail of who opens the file is provided, so you can tell who messed up your files.

Multiple-Sites replication, it handles it in the background. Can determine what gets replicated to other offices, so not all projects need to be replicated to each office, able to pick and choose. A field office get access to their projects rather then a bunch of stuff they don’t need. Saves on bandwidth.

Vault is Files (DWG, .DOC, .PPT, .XLS) and Metadata, what the data contains or what it is about.

Probably need to get some help from your reseller to see if it will work for you, probably best suited for larger offices.

Scalable options based on your needs. Per seat license fee, get the server, pay for the clients.

Probably won’t see it in my office anytime soon.

AEC Blogger’s Day – Storm and Sanitary Analysis (SSA) Extension

Stand alone product which is a hydrology and hydraulic analysis tool. Downloadable from the subscription advantage pack.

No restriction on the number of nodes and links.

Stormwater management methods.

Water quality modeling for BMPs, TMDL and exfiltration methods. Based on EPA SWMM engine.

Import/Export from Civil 3D to SSA with STM. From SSA can export to SHP file since you can’t export from Civil 3D, but can from SSA.

SSA can fit in the process through design since it can be imported/exported back and forth. Probably not the best workflow, but better than what it was in the past.

AEC Blogger’s Day – Civil Visualization

Misses Dana Probert presented Civil Visualization.

Civil 3D visualization links:

3 am solutions

Design Visualization

White Paper

Autodesk Infrastructure YouTube Channel

6 month trial is available for new 3ds Max Design for new purchases of Civil 3D and possibly renewals.

Need to create the existing surface with holes to remove conflicts between the existing and proposed surface: See

Corridors out of date won’t show up for the Dynamite VSP exporter, need to make sure they are up to date. There is a button for that in Civil 3D 2011.


Adding cars is is easy as well as striping based on a corridor. The Civil Visualization is based mainly on corridors.

Non corridor models into 3ds Max are a whole lot of work.

Civil 3D 2011 – Update 1

Civil 3D 2011 Update 1 is out: I’m downloading it now, hopefully no nasty surprises.

Monday, September 20, 2010

Create Multiple Profiles

Do you have the need to create multiple existing ground surface profiles in a drawing? Way back I did a post accomplishing the task in Civil 3D 2008 using VBA. Here’s an update utilizing .NET and Civil 3D 2010.

' (C) Copyright 2010 by Christopher Fugitt Imports Autodesk.AutoCAD.ApplicationServices Imports Autodesk.AutoCAD.Runtime Imports AutoCAD = Autodesk.AutoCAD.Interop Imports AeccLandLib = Autodesk.AECC.Interop.Land Imports AeccLandUi = Autodesk.AECC.Interop.UiLand Imports AecUIBase = Autodesk.AEC.Interop.UIBase Imports Autodesk.AutoCAD.EditorInput Imports Autodesk.AutoCAD.DatabaseServices Imports Autodesk.AutoCAD.Interop.Common Imports Autodesk.Civil.ApplicationServices Imports Autodesk.Civil.Land Imports C3DRemindersPack.Utilities Imports Quux.C3DUtilities <Assembly: CommandClass(GetType(CreateEGProfiles))> Public Class CreateEGProfiles <CommandMethod("C3DRCreateEGProfiles")> _ Public Sub EGCreate() Dim db As Database = Application.DocumentManager.MdiActiveDocument.Database Dim tm As Autodesk.AutoCAD.DatabaseServices.TransactionManager = db.TransactionManager Dim trans As Autodesk.AutoCAD.DatabaseServices.Transaction = tm.StartTransaction() Try Dim oCivil As New AeccAppConnection Dim oC3DR As New Utilities Dim oType(0) As Type oType(0) = GetType(Autodesk.Civil.Land.DatabaseServices.Surface) Dim oSurfObjId As ObjectId = oC3DR.GetEntityWithOptions("Select Surface: ", "Surface not selected.)", oType) Dim obj As AeccLandLib.AeccSurface = oCivil.AeccDoc.ObjectIdToObject(CType(oSurfObjId.OldIdPtr, Integer)) Dim oAlign As AeccLandLib.AeccAlignment ' Get a style from the collection. Dim oStyle As AeccLandLib.AeccProfileStyle = oCivil.AeccDoc.LandProfileStyles.Item(0) For Each oAlign In oCivil.AeccDoc.AlignmentsSiteless Try 'Check to see if the profile exists, if it does it doesn't need to be recreated. Dim oProfile As AeccLandLib.AeccProfile = oAlign.Profiles.Item("ExistingGround") Catch ' The profile doesn't exist, so create it. oAlign.Profiles.AddFromSurface("ExistingGround", Autodesk.AECC.Interop.Land.AeccProfileType.aeccExistingGround, _ oStyle.Name, obj.Name, oAlign.StartingStation, oAlign.EndingStation, "0") End Try Next Dim oSite As AeccLandLib.AeccSite For Each oSite In oCivil.AeccDoc.Sites For Each oAlign In oSite.Alignments Try 'Check to see if the profile exists, if it does it doesn't need to be recreated. Dim oProfile As AeccLandLib.AeccProfile = oAlign.Profiles.Item("ExistingGround") Catch ' The profile doesn't exist, so create it. oAlign.Profiles.AddFromSurface("ExistingGround", Autodesk.AECC.Interop.Land.AeccProfileType.aeccExistingGround, _ oStyle.Name, obj.Name, oAlign.StartingStation, oAlign.EndingStation, "0") End Try Next Next trans.Commit() Catch ex As Autodesk.AutoCAD.Runtime.Exception trans.Abort() Finally trans.Dispose() ' Done with transaction End Try End Sub End Class

Sunday, September 19, 2010

Corrupt Feature Lines

Occasionally a site may become corrupt and cause a drawing to become unstable. If the feature lines are utilized to create a surface it is possible to get the feature lines back if the bak file or last backup of the drawing isn’t available. To start export the surface to XML. Then open another file and import the XML surface, making sure to import the Source Data.


This will bring in the feature lines as 3D polylines which may be converted back into feature lines and if necessary fitting curves to the feature lines. While not ideal, it can save some work by recovering some of the work that happened before the drawing became unstable.

Wednesday, September 15, 2010

Converting a Civil 3D Surface to a Revit Surface

Sometimes it’s necessary to convert a Civil 3D surface into a Revit surface.

The first thing is to change the drawing’s Proxygraphics setting to 1. This will save a copy of the linework that makes up the surface in the drawing. Make sure the major and minor contours are shown and they are on layers other than 0.

Next on the Insert Tab in Revit use the Link CAD to bring in the drawing that contains the Civil 3D Surface. Go to a 3D view and using the Massing & Site tab, use the Toposurface button to create a new surface. Then use the Create from Import >> Select Import Instance. Select the CAD drawing and only select the layers the contours are on.

Here’s the steps in video form:

Tuesday, September 14, 2010

Line Labels

Have you created your profile view and profile labels only to find that the last or first segment is missing a line label? The cause of this is often the anchor point of the text label component is set to the midpoint of the tangent.
In order to always get it to show up, and not to use a separate label style, utilize a line label component set to be hidden. For the anchors of the hidden line use the Anchor Tangent Start In View and Anchor Tangent End In View.
Now set the text label component to the middle of the HiddenLine.
Now the label will show up in all of the views.
Look in the comments for a case where this doesn't work, split profiles.

Monday, September 13, 2010

Selection Set Utility

If you miss the functionality of the Selection Set Builder in Land Desktop then you may want to check out the Sincpac which now includes this functionality.


I never used the utility in LDT, but I have read of several requests for this functionality. I’ve spent some time thinking about creating it in the past, but never got around to creating it. Now I don’t have to because someone else has done it.

The Build Selection Set is similar to Quick Select, but you can run different queries at the same time. For instance if you wanted to select all circles that are red in the drawing you’d have to run the Quick Select command twice, first to select circles and next to exclude all circles that are not red. With the Build Selection Set utility you can run the query once from the dialog box. Additionally one can select the property check marks on the left and then pick an object and the properties of the object will be populated into the current selection criteria making it easy to create a selection based on a certain object.

To find more information about the command look at this page.

Disclosure: I’ve been provided access to the Sincpac without fee, but this post was not requested by the developer’s of the Sincpac, I just thought you might like to know it exists.

Friday, September 10, 2010

Utility Access Covers of Los Angeles

The City of Los Angeles owns quite a bit of utilities such as water and power. Here are some utility manholes and utility access covers I came across in a recent visit.

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The next one is interesting, notice the manhole is slightly below the adjacent pavement surfaces. It seems that the City of Los Angeles’ utility departments do not want Public Works department hired contractors to adjust manhole covers to grade. Unfortunately it seems like the utility departments don’t want to do it either. What you end up with are manhole covers that were never raised to grade, but uncovered, or manholes that are hidden beneath asphalt pavement.

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I’m kind of surprised advertisements are allowed on manhole covers such as this one.

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A basic SD cover.

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No doubt what this cover is for.

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A decorative cover.

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Friday, September 03, 2010

Daylight Line Tip

From the Ground Up did a post today on “How to create a flood plain – Tip and Trick” and it reminded me of a post I should of done last October after the Blogger’s Day event. Essentially its an easy way to extract the daylight line between two surfaces without creating a volume surface.

Now for this post, to get the most out of it, start with the From the Ground Up post and come back to this post once you get to the part about making a volume surface (Step 4).

It all make sense? Good. Now utilize this Step 4 instead.

Go to the Analyze Tab on the ribbon and select the Minimum Distance Between Surfaces (for Civil 3D 2011, for 2010 you’ll find it in the Toolbox under subscription if its downloaded and installed). 


When you run the command utilize No and choose to draw the intersection as an AutoCAD polyline(s).


Now go back to From the Ground Up and continue on to Step 8. So the command has removed 4 steps out of the original process.

While not dynamic, chances are you are getting the flood plain elevation from the Engineer or other software package so it shouldn’t be a problem. If you do need it to be dynamic and you plan on testing a bunch of elevations out, the other method may be better. It all depends on what you are doing.

Wednesday, September 01, 2010

Visualization Boundaries

One of the problems with doing visualizations is needing to mask out or hide the portion of the existing surface which is above the proposed surface. I’m working on a quick way to accomplish the task that doesn’t include manually extracting the surface border of the proposed surface and adding it to the existing surface. The code below is a start, it only works with one proposed surface boundary. Maybe if I get ambitious I’ll look at adding the ability to account for more than one boundary. The code does do multiple boundaries, but it doesn’t do it correctly in all cases.

Imports Autodesk.AutoCAD.Runtime
Imports Autodesk.Civil.Roadway.DatabaseServices
Imports Autodesk.AutoCAD.DatabaseServices
Imports Autodesk.AutoCAD.ApplicationServices
Imports AeccLandLib = Autodesk.AECC.Interop.Land
Imports Autodesk.AECC.Interop.UiLand
Imports Quux.C3DUtilities
Imports Autodesk.AutoCAD.Interop.Common
Imports Autodesk.Civil.Land.DatabaseServices

<Assembly: CommandClass(GetType(UpdatePolylineMaskBoundary))>

Public Class UpdatePolylineMaskBoundary

<CommandMethod("C3DRUpdatePolylineMaskBoundary")> _
Public Sub UpdatePolylineMask()
Dim oUtil As New Utilities
Dim oType(0) As Type
0) = GetType(TinSurface)
Dim oSurfSourceObjId As ObjectId = oUtil.GetEntityWithOptions("Select Proposed Surface: ", "Not a surface", oType)
Dim oSurfExistObjId As ObjectId = oUtil.GetEntityWithOptions("Select Existing Surface: ", "Not a surface", oType)
Dim db As Database = Application.DocumentManager.MdiActiveDocument.Database
Dim tm As Autodesk.AutoCAD.DatabaseServices.TransactionManager = db.TransactionManager
Using myT As Transaction = tm.StartTransaction

'Get Civil 3D application, document and database
Dim oCivil As New AeccAppConnection

Dim obj As Object = oCivil.AeccDoc.ObjectIdToObject(CType(oSurfSourceObjId.OldIdPtr, Long))

If TypeOf obj Is Autodesk.AECC.Interop.Land.AeccSurface Then
Dim oSurface As AeccLandLib.AeccSurface = obj
Dim oSurfExist As AeccLandLib.AeccSurface = oCivil.AeccDoc.ObjectIdToObject(CType(oSurfExistObjId.OldIdPtr, Long))
Dim objs() As Object = Nothing
= oSurface.ExtractBorder(Autodesk.AECC.Interop.Land.AeccDisplayOrientation.aeccDisplayOrientationPlan)
Dim i As Integer = 1
For Each obj In objs
Dim oBoundary As AcadEntity = obj
"C3DRBoundary-" & i, Autodesk.AECC.Interop.Land.AeccBoundaryType.aeccBoundaryHide, True, 0.1)
= +1

End If
End Using

Catch ex As Exception
Dim oUtil As New Utilities
"Error in UpdatePolylineMask Sub")
End Try
End Sub

End Class

The program utilizes other code contained in the free version of the Sincpac and the Civil 3D Reminders Pack.


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