Tuesday, February 27, 2007

Dirt Diva Cleans Up

Ms. Santer, authress of Dirt Diva happened to ask the EXACT question I almost posted today on the discussion groups. (Actually, I would have posted but I decided to hit the local mall first...)

Here was the question:

Does anyone have any ideas on how to label interior parcels and the overall distance without having duplicate linework.

Like.oh.my.gawd! Did Melanie, like, sneak into my brain?


It is very easy to label a parcel with bearing and distance, and in the case of arcs, radius and length of curve. To do this, you simply find the Parcel menu and select Add Labels.

Previous versions of Civil 3D (and Land Desktop for that matter) required that you have duplicate parcels if you wanted to label an overall length of a line.

Today, we ha
ve the span label option in the Label Style. Yay!

On the Settings Tab, go to Parcels > Label Styles > Line. Right-click on the style and select Copy...

On the Layout Tab, set the Span Label Property to True! You need to jump into your curve label style and do the same thing.

Before Span Label------------------------->After Span Labels

Ok, now you have the two styles just in case you want to go back to the non-span type of label. However, there are some rules of thumb you'll need to follow to get them to work properly.

1. Know that the Span Labels only work on outer parcels. This starts to get quirky if you think you are on the outside, but you may have a sneaky little ROW parcel getting in the way.

2. You may need to flip the label to get the distance on the outside. (Right-click on the label and select Flip Label)

Happy Labeling!

Monday, February 26, 2007

Figures/Linework Makes Me Want to...

First: Scream
Second: Get better at VBA so that I can write a little connect-the-dots script for cogo points.

Today I taught a class and had to explain to the surveyor (my head hung in shame) that you can't translate-rotate points brought in from an FBK file once they are in the CAD graphic. (PLEASE! Correct me if I'm wrong here!) The only way to modify the points is to modify them prior to importing them. And his look of bewilderment mirrored the one I had when I first learned of this [lack of] functionality.

So far, this is the most intelligble instruction on FBK files I have found:
From the Ground Up
It is from Jan 15th of this year.
Actually, all of Chris Berends's material is excellent.

Sigh. I want a lot. I think I'll go post to the discussion groups.

Thursday, February 15, 2007

Tuesday, February 13, 2007

Cogo vs Survey Points

There is a big difference in survey point behavior depending on how they were brought into Civil 3D. Here's a little chart I made. Enjoy!

Can they be…

Cogo Points

Civil 3D Survey Points

Edited in the panorama?



Called up in other drawings?

No (but you could export to txt file)


Added to a Point Group?



Adjusted for closure?


Yes – least squares

Created or edited in CAD?



Used to create linework/Figures?


Yes – provided you use the correct format in the field.

Used as a raw data record?



Wednesday, February 07, 2007

Friday, February 02, 2007

Civil 3D Drawing Through a Network...

...is like eating stew with a straw. You can do it, but it will take a long time and make your face hurt eventually.

The following is from Russ, my esteemed colleage. Eventually, I gotta figure out how to make him a collaborator on my blog.


In the last couple of days, or weeks, I have run into several customers that are working on their drawings over a network. I mean, the file is out on the network but they don’t save it to a local drive location before working on it. I did not realize myself that this was “bad” behavior in regular ACAD. As it turns out, its VERY BAD in Civil 3D.

Objects that are accessed during the course of drawing can become unstable/corrupt as that network stored info is accessed. I have seen this in corridors in particular, but I believe recently an alignment and a surface (two different customers) fell victim to this. In all the cases the corruption was such that the object had to be completely recreated, not just “fixing” the original, and even this worked only after the file was moved to a local drive location! It’s a serious issue. Also, it may not always effect drawings. Just enough that once in a while a drawing goes really bad!

Maybe you can put that out on your blog. I don’t get enough of these ideas to maintain a blog all my own (at least not yet), but yours is doing well. Its just one of those issues that we need to disseminate as widely as possible. In every case the users have said, “really?!" So they really have never heard this. I hadn’t until I had been here at MG about 6 months!



Thursday, February 01, 2007

Key-Ins I Have Loved

Memories...all alone in the moonlight...I can smile at the pavement...I was beautiful then....

Whats better than Cats? Why, Autocad Key-ins of course!

In No particular order here are some good 'uns:

After a crash or other wierd unexpected closing of Autocad (that means Civil 3D too!) your dialog boxes will not pop up when you expect them to. When you type this in set the value back to 1.

Write an external block. I'm not sure when this functionality left the realm of being icon-worthy, but if you want to send your blocks outside of ACAD to be thier own DWG files this is how you do it.

Linetype scale. Ever draw a line that's supposed to be dashed, but you can't see the dashes 'till you zoom in really really close? Change the linetype scale to fit the scale of your drawing. A little trial and error to get things to look right is not gunna hurt a thing. Any non-negative number will work. If you are using Civil 3D to draw an antfarm, you might need an LTSCALE of, say, 0.5. In regular feet units most engineers work with an LTSCALE around 4.

Paperspace Linetype Scale. This variable asks the question, "Do you want your linetype scale to change based on the viewport scale?" If it set to 0 (zero) you are saying 'no.' If it is set to 1 you are saying "yes." To say it another way, setting it to zero forces the line to look the same in paperspace as it does in modelspace. You'll need to set this variable for each layout.

Middle mouse button pan. If you are not using a mouse with a middle mouse wheel you should stop reading this blog IMMEDIATLY. Go now! Get a better mouse. I'll wait.
If you already have a middle mouse wheel...then this is the variable that turns on or off the middle mouse wheel as a zooming and panning tool. You want this variable to be 1 or 'on.' Note: You may need to do some additional tweaking of mouse settings in the Windows control panel for everything to work properly.

Multi-view setup. This is a GREAT tool for lining up multiple paperspace viewports (a P&P sheet for instance...?).

Is not a country in Africa, but a powerful tool for MOving, ROtating and COpying objects. Technically it is an express tool, but express tools need love too.

Ok bear with me here. Type this in, then hit enter to accept the default of DVIEWBLOCK. Then type TW and to twist a viewport to the desired rotation. The good thing about this is that it will not move your UCS. Moving UCS = BAD.

Open Survey toolspace. Very handy if you can't find the survey menu. This guy is Civil 3D specific.

Don't bother digging for it. Just type.