Sunday, February 27, 2011

Station Label Tick

Not quite sure why I never noticed this before, but if you have an Alignment Station Label and add a Tick to the label, the tick stays at it’s correct location on the alignment. The tick stays in the correct location even if you drag the label. In addition any label component attached to the tick will stay in a non-dragged position. If you want the components to drag away from the alignment then you have to make sure they are not attached to the tick.


Tuesday, February 22, 2011

Convert String to ObjectId

A comment I added to the Through the Interface Blog, in case something happened to it there.

Kean, how about a post on the new way of getting an ObjectId from a string using the IntPtr?

Well if you don't, here's a bit of code for those looking how to do it:

Dim objIdPtr as IntPtr
objIdPtr = New IntPtr(CType(id, Integer)
Dim ObjId as New ObjectId(ObjIdPtr)

Your post seems to be the only relevant one that comes up in a Google search, thought I'd add it here so I can find it the next time I looked.


Thursday, February 17, 2011

Inlet Mistake

This week I’m taking the State of California required Qualified SWPPP Developer course. In the parking lot of the facility 100_1329I noticed an inlet that just didn’t look correct. It appears that the top of grate is a little below to a little above the adjacent curb. The grate inlet was part of a retention basin to treat water. It appears that the water from the parking lot is supposed to flow into the basin and fill up. There is a low flow inlet at the bottom of the inlet to allow the water to meter out of the basin. If the basin fills up the water is supposed to exit the basin through the grate. The flow into the grated inlet should exhibit weir flow. Unfortunately it takes some available elevation above the grate to allow an adequate amount of water to flow out, which as shown in the images below, it doesn’t have. Water is going to exit the site over the curb instead of exiting through the inlet.

Today’s post is interactive, in that I want your opinion on if Civil 3D should include a basin design feature to help prevent these type of mistakes. Now this is just for my personal curiosity and has nothing to do with Autodesk.


Wednesday, February 16, 2011

Profile Elevations At Interval Shown on Alignment

You can add a reference label component to a major station label, unfortunately setting the reference profile can be difficult. Previously I thought you had to individually select each and every major station label, but there is an easier way. Press the Ctrl+Shift keys and then window over the labels. Isolating the major labels makes it easier to select only the labels you want. Then go into properties and set the reference label.

Unfortunately sometimes it doesn’t keep the value and you have to reset the reference profile. It also provides an alternative method to my last post.

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Tuesday, February 15, 2011

How to list elevations on an EG or quick profile at specified distance?

There’s more than one way to answer this question. Here’s two of the ways I thought of to accomplish the task.

Create a polyline where you want the elevations at a the specified distance. Create Civil 3D points using the Measure Object method, using the specified distance.


While selecting the points, right click and choose Elevations From Surface..., choose the appropriate surface. Then the points will have the correct elevations. Either print out the plan view or select the points in one of the point reports or copy the information from Prospector.

You can also use Profile Major Station Labels by adding a profile elevation property to the major station label, although this won't work on a quick profile (at least in Civil 3D 2010). Of course one needs to create alignments and profiles to do this.

You can find other methods here.

Wednesday, February 09, 2011

Station Equation IDs and Civil 3D 2012

You may want to do something crazy and indicate which station equation is applicable in an alignment’s Major Station Equation with a letter instead of a number. Such as shown below, Station 5+00 is within the a station equation and Station 6+00 is within the b station equation.


To get them to show up change the station equation identifier from the default number to the appropriate letter.


Then add the Station ID label component into the label.

Now I don’t really have any news regarding Civil 3D 2012. I just thought I’d mention it to give Google something to link people to instead of the old post. Historically Civil 3D is released after AutoCAD and AutoCAD is released historically around April. So if you are looking for information regarding Civil 3D 2012 come back to the blog in April where I’ll probably have a post or two on the new features.

Adding to the Toolbox

If you work for a large organization adding a command to the Toolbox could become burdensome. You wouldn’t want to have to open each machine and manually add a command to the Toolbox. Fortunately the developers of Civil 3D have made it easy to add items to the Toolbox using an XML file.

If youimage go to C:\ProgramData\Autodesk\C3D 2011\enu\Data\Toolbox you will find the default location where the Toolbox configuration files are found. The main file is the ToolBoxCfg.xml file. This is the one that gets installed with Civil 3D. If you installed some of the country kits you will also find the ToolBoxCfg_ files. To create my tool category I copied one of the existing files and then modified it using XML Notepad. You can also create the XML file and then go into Civil 3D and use the Toolbox Editor to add tools or categories.

Now create a script to copy the XML to the appropriate computers and location. Civil 3D will recognize the file and automatically add it to the Toolbox.

Don’t have any commands to go into the Toolbox? Well you might want to create some to make yourself more productive. Or I’d be happy to create a tool or two for your organization to make you and your company more productive.

Tuesday, February 08, 2011

Deleting Corridor Subassembly

Sometimes you want to delete a subassembly from a particular corridor section. While you can do it using from the corridor editor, there is a command that will let you delete them from plan.

Type VECSDELETESUBASSEMBLY at the command line and then select the corridor and then imagethe subassembly you want to delete. How can this come in handy? Well lets say you have a transition from a 2:1 slope to  a 1:1 slope. A corridor section exists between them that is messing up the transition. Using the command you can delete the daylight subassembly from the corridor section providing for transition between them. Alternatively you could overwrite the daylight’s slope to get the same result, although deleting it may be a bit quicker.

Monday, February 07, 2011

XML Reporting

Civil 3D provides reporting methods using both XML Reporting and .NET reports. This post is imagegoing to focus on the XML Reporting. XML Reporting lets you export information from a drawing into an XML file which is  then transformed using an XSL file. The first thing you should know about XSL, is that Autodesk views them as example reports as indicated in the warnings contained within the XSL sheets.

“This is a sample report form for generating metes and bounds legal descriptions for parcels.  This report form (stylesheet) is not intended to be a replacement for a trained, experienced professional.  It is intended as a example to make the professional more productive.”

While we can wish Autodesk would put in a report exactly the way we want, it would appear Autodesk’s position is that you the professional should take the example and produce your own report that meets your requirements. So now that we know we need to modify the reports to meet our requirements, how do we do this?

First we need to know where the report files are stored. They are located here: C:\ProgramData\Autodesk\C3D 2011\enu\Data\Reports\xsl (at least in Windows 7/Vista). Each report has it’s own XSL file. The XSLstands for EXtensible Stylesheet Language and provides the instructions on how the XML file should be transformed into a report. There are XSL editors available, but I haven’t had much luck in using them. Instead I’ve been using Notepad to modify the reports.

The XSL then uses other files contained in the source folder. Each of them does different things. For instance the Conversion_JScript.xsl converts the units from Metric to English or the other way around or changing the unit types (such as feet to miles). Modifying them is as straight forward as modify the text. As the file name indicates the conversion file uses JavaScript to run the report.

The GeneralLegalPhrasings.xml file has the wording used for the legal descriptions. So if you wanted to change the wording in the Parcel reports, you’d modify the wording in this file.

This is just a brief explanation on how to modify the files, I may post more another day.

If you don’t want to modify the reports yourself, I’m available and willing to provide quotes to modify the XML reports to meet your requirements. Just Email me for more information.

Friday, February 04, 2011

An AutoCAD Tip on Tracking

The Super Bowl is this weekend, and that means its bandwagon time. You know bandwagon time right? It’s when the person you’ve known for years suddenly is wearing the logos, extolling the virtues of the team that just one the Super Bowl. Well I’m not rooting for a football team, but I am rooting for a tracking command. Lynn Allen and rkmcswain posted on tracking and I’m jumping on the bandwagon and contributing my own post.

Both of their posts focused on using the TK transparent command to track where you wanted an object to go, I’m going to post about oTrack. oTrack helps you locate where you want something to go based on a point. You can use Polar or the Extension oSnap (and probably more) with it.


In this example I’m going to be moving a vertex from it’s location to a point at the same Y that’s in line with the X value of the point above and to the right of it.


Here’s the command in action. Note that the oSnaps need to be on to get it to work.

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Here’s another example with using the extension oSnap.

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Have fun Super Bowl Sunday.

Thursday, February 03, 2011


Matt Kolberg has a post on Civil and mentions this command. I suspect as long as proxygraphics is set appropriately you can provide this command to the architect without sending them a new drawing. They can create it themselves.


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