Friday, September 18, 2015

Are you Frustrated by Using Civil 3D to it’s Fullest?

John Sayre over at BIM on the rocks as a new post asking “Are you Using Civil 3D to its fullest?”

Here are my top five things that suck by using Civil 3D that is costing you money. Evidently Autodesk thinks they should spend resources telling you how awesome there product is instead of fixing it and I’m here to tell you how it sucks when you use Civil 3D to it’s fullest.

1. Stage Storage

Well BIM is in the title of John’s blog, you’d think he’d at least mention the BIMlessness of the Stage Storage tool that is costing you time and money. Let me clue you in if you don’t use Civil 3D to it’s fullest there is NO basin object in the program. What does that mean? Instead of designing a basin that knows it’s dimensions, water capacity, and freeboard we are left with creating a surface or offset polylines. The Stage Storage tool then analyzes the ENTIRE surface or polylines you select. That means Civil 3D is wasting your time having you to either have a separate surface just to do the basin.

Want to do a design change. Yep, if you’ve used Civil 3D to the fullest then you know that you have to run the command again, export out the data from the tool, and then type in those values in a separate  analysis program. For the Stage Storage tool doesn’t actually have the ability to do those calculations. Seems to me a BIM program would have this capability, after all the Mechanical Engineers can analyze air flow in a buildings room in Revit.

2. Style Creation

If you are using Civil 3D to it’s fullest then you have experienced the nightmare of creating and modifying styles that is costing you time and money. Why not have a graphical selection of the various components to labels? Well that would be to easy. Now you get to wade through a possibly long list of items to change and often times change the wrong values.

Use Reference text and want to check what it looks like? Well Civil 3D makes you waste your time by exiting out of the dialog box, see what the change is, and then go back in make any changes. For Civil 3D thinks ??? is an appropriate look for reference text components. I think it’s wasting my time and costing me money.

3. Overly Burdensome Corridor Creation Workflow

Ever use a corridor to it’s fullest in Civil 3D? Well then you’ve probably experienced the random screw ups that the corridor costing you money. That random corridor feature line that decides it doesn’t want to connect to the next section and instead go to some seemingly random location. Or the way you can’t quite get it to go across the centerline for median work. For at sometime someone decided that feature lines shouldn’t cross the baseline which in turns costs you money and time coming up with workarounds to a common design feature in roadways.

4. Select Corridor Targets from an Xref

Sure when it works Select Corridor Targets from an Xref sounds good, but in practice not so much. Get into work and find that since you had to update some linework your targets now have a different handle and bam all of your hard work goes down the drain costing you time and money.

5. Pipe Networks

What a mess here in pipe networks costing you tons and tons of time and money. Want to place a pipe network for a sewer at 0.3% minimum slope and your road slopes at 0.5%. You’d think you would place the pipe network and then Civil 3D would follow the road. But you’d be wrong because someone at Autodesk decided the slopes need to be solved to the 1% place. That means you’ll quickly find your self manually moving pipes and structures to get the slope values you set in the pipe rules because Civil 3D will give you slopes at 0.3%, 1.3%, 2.3%, 3.3%, etc… A ton of time wasting Civil 3D is costing you money.

Want to go up a pipe run at a particular slope, a common task? Well Civil 3D is costing you money since Autodesk has decided you only need to place the pipes and structures once and shouldn’t have tools to easily change the slopes and elevations of the pipe networks. Civil 3D is costing you money.

Want to swap parts in a pipe network? Well Autodesk has decided it should cost you money big time. For you have a large project and need to change 50 pipes from 8” to 10”. Well congratulations you get to run the SwapPart command 50 times for a task that should be done in 10 seconds. Want to swap parts in a pressure network, well if you are using Civil 3D to the fullest you get the privilege of deleting the the parts and recreating them costing you money.

6. Add Feature Line PI

John provided a sixth item, so I will to. Adding PI’s to feature lines is costing you money when Civil 3D decides it cannot. Here are two posts illustrating the issue:

2008: Inserting PI into Feature Line jumps ship
2014: Feature Line - "Error inserting PI"

Yep, the issue has been costing us users who use Civil 3D to it’s fullest since 2008 and it’s still not fixed. I doubt it’s even on the list.

Want more info on how Civil 3D is costing it’s users money see and join the conversation in this forum post.

Many of these time consuming tasks have been automated by third party applications:

Steltman Tools
RedTransit Consultants

Plus you are likely to get bug fixes measured in months instead of years. Where as Autodesk and Civil 3D’s fixes are often measured in years if they are fixed at all despite a multi hundred million research and development budget.

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