Spawn the Children of Important Figures

Tags figures, linework, figure db, survey db, codes

There’s always just “one more thing” about Figure generation and the Survey Process Linework command to mention. These hidden details that are buried away in the AutoCAD Civil 3D help file are worth studying about and working through into our daily practice.
They enhance our AutoCAD Civil 3D Survey workflows.
Hopefully, you didn’t miss the last post on BESTW figures. These are related to parent/child Figure Features like kissin’ cousins.

Happy New Year

We’ve all gotten smarter this year. We learned to always keep our point data in Survey Dbs. Whether you use or get fbk files or not, we can always draw new lines in the sand. We can use Survey capabilities to our advantage or not.

Model More with Less Field Time

Remember that Survey in Civil 3D also supports the creation of multiple child figures from a single Figure parent. When standardized horizontal and verticals relationships exist in the field, these may be added to the field data during shop time. That saves time and creates richer models.
Someone did say, “It is easier to edit than to create.”

Some Special Codes

See the Linework Codes>>Special Codes page in the AutoCAD Civil 3D Help file. The special codes have not changed in a long time, but the nuances of their field and shop time usage may be easy to miss.

The following logic and rules from the Special Codes page are worth your consideration. If you miss the idea that you may create, manage, and end multiple figures at a current point, read the top part of that page again.

Use Your Words Dear

Ask yourself, “Is the current location a nexus – the place where two figures intersect?”
Put another way - the Process Linework command looks for “words” not characters like the Description Key commands do.
The command will find more than one word…How many words will it find?
I wouldn’t want to forget to mention that!

Horizontal Offset or the “H” code:

The code used to specify a relative horizontal offset for creating a parallel figure starting at the current point, or
transitioning to another offset if the active figure has a previous horizontal offset.

  • A value must follow the Horizontal offset code.
  • A negative value offsets the active figure to the left and a positive value offsets the active figure to the right.
  • Multiple offsets can be used, but if subsequent horizontal or vertical transitions are made, all previous horizontal offset or vertical offset codes must be specified for each offset.

Vertical Offset or the “V” code:

The code used to specify a relative vertical offset starting at the current point.

  • A value must follow the Vertical offset code.
  • A positive value is added to the elevation of the current vertex for the active figure and a negative value is subtracted from the current vertex for the active figure.
  • If a Vertical offset is specified with no previous Horizontal offset, the Horizontal offset value is assumed to be zero.
  • If a Horizontal offset is specified with no Vertical offset or no previous Vertical offset, the Vertical offset value is assumed to be zero.


  • If a previous horizontal or vertical offset was specified in the current point code, and if a subsequent horizontal or vertical offset is omitted within the current field code, the previous horizontal or vertical offset value is used.
    For example:
    V1 H1 H2 = H0 V1 H1 V1 H2 V1
    H1 H2 V1 H3 = H1 V0 H2 V1 H3 V1

Stop Offset or “SO” code:

The code used to specify the termination of all offsets on the active figure.

  • Only the active figure can be continued

Got it?
No one gets it all at once.
All this Civil 3D help file speak says you can and should keep a computed library of paste in arrangements of your standard structures in a separate text file as a resource.
I go with the computed parts because just like you I sometimes confuse left and right when I approach things from different directions.
You can now perform man-hour saving miracles in field time with better informed and applied shop time.
Or not…

We Continue to Connect the Dots