Some Shocking Confusions

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Do we get to the nuts and bolts of a numeric conversion of InstantOn Survey for AutoCAD Civil 3D after a couple asides that focused on some Process Linework nuances? Come on. This is Civil 3D. There is always more to know…
There remain a few points of potential confusion to clarify.

Points and Figures

Ease of Use and/or Capability

Civil 3D has lots of flexible Survey Toolspace capability and function built into it.
If you think, “I don’t need that.” You may be more confused.

Survey in Civil 3D is intentionally data centric. We can more easily manipulate and massage the data. Specifically, we can more easily see and change parts and pieces of the data. Survey Queries are only one newer example. Yes. This means there are more paths through the maze.

  • The User controls what is current
  • The current has many more controls and that is confusing
    As a Civil 3D user you are accountable to make and keep these control properties consistent.
  • The Create and Edit loop processes are by design more repetitive even though steps are at times not so obvious or intuitive.
    You must find and change the correct properties in the proper order.

Maybe we could say, “There is no right, because there are more choices.

People always ask, “Can you make it simple?


  1. Find and Save the Settings
  2. Identify the Create and Edit loop
  3. Properties are the key
  4. Repeat the loop more than once to do the create, edit, and quality control work
  5. Audit – Document what it is and how and why it got there
  6. Publish the results separately

This is simpler than some well-known line dances. It’s not a hustle.
The FIPRAP does makes Civil 3D easier.

"Hump? What hump?"

Somehow this famous quote the Mel Brooks movie, Young Frankenstein, seemed both appropriate and to the point when we discuss the next common confusion.

We’re told that Civil 3D is model-based.
On the surface this sounds like what we’ve been doing all along especially when we talk about things like survey point data and Surface Features. Our CAD minds say manage the “model” by our familiar Layer Management method. Some say you can even make Civil 3D work like that. But do you want to?
previous post put it this way:

“Numeric code systems were almost all built to categorize the field stuff into Layer or Level CAD management systems. You get groupings like the 80 stuff is all sanitary sewer stuff etc. Second, third, and even fourth digits may get more specific. Maybe all the #1s are manholes. But not all systems have manholes. Do they?

The coding system employed in all InstantOn products is actually MODEL management based. The KIND of PART is more important to its identification (or classification) than the TYPE of system the part is in. Simply – It’s a manhole or a vault BEFORE we nail down the system.
This model or component based approach can produce many fewer CORE codes (much less to remember) and the ability to get more or less specific about stuff (the identification) on-demand.”

Even if you employ an alpha based coding system this issue of confusion can be pretty important.

I’m not saying to MUST revise your entire field coding system in the above manner. You should recognize the limitations the old approach creates. Maybe you can compensate with some thoughtful changes.

In current Autodesk vernacular this is an example of BIM think or for us civil and survey geeks - Infrastructure Information Modeling. It is definitely not CAD standards think although standards most certainly apply. This chatter isn’t just Autodesk marketing spin. The principals are central to how the software is built.

Collection and Resolution

EVERYTHING in Civil 3D is always collected and then resolved.
We are always collecting parts into systems and Data into Buckets.
Many of the Survey parts are NODES (locations) or SEGMENTS (connections).
Well Duh.
Some are not.

You might to review this very in-depth series of posts on Parcels. They will help make these Civil 3D subtleties all the more clear. It’s something to chew on anyway.

The Survey Double Speak

We learn that Point Features are NOT handled in the same way as Figures. Two separate processes are performed. Point data and Figure data is decoded both separately and differently.

  • From the field (probably with some thoughtful shop time) we must talk to Civil 3D in a hybrid, two-level code language because a single current coding system applies.

As we discovered above, the meaning of current is for you the AutoCAD Civil 3D user to decide.
How kind.

How Shocking

Next we take stock...