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A Civil Lobotomy for Points

Tags point display, point group, Description Key Set, Point Label Style, Point Style

I won't claim credit for creating the great term "civil lobotomy". It was tweeted to me by a new follower (thanks John) in response to my Dumb it Down to CAD post. Isn't the growth of social networking and our human language good at providing new ways to talk about poignant topics? 

Point Feature Mystery or is that a Point of Misery

For reasons that puzzle me some (but not a lot) I got More feedback about Civil 3D Point Feature lobotomies than anything else. If you are having issues here, I'd guess you are probably still holding on to older ACAD/LDT notions, perceptions, and expectations about points. Welcome to the Civil 3D model-based world. 

Remodel Your Thinking

"To dumb 'em down you got to know your Civil 3D Features."

Consider the Civil 3D Feature Truth:
Every Civil 3D Feature is a collection of components (objects) and properties. Features always represent themselves to us by a process of display resolution. Features draw themselves.
Therefore, all of a Feature's data is contained and/or specifically referenced by name within it.
How the Feature is represented and annotated (what it looks like and how it is labeled) is separately "abstracted" to independent Style and Label Style.

Who needs this mind-numbing Feature crap and Model-based mumbo-jumbo? 

Ok, I really DO know you just want to how to perform a "simple" Civil  Point Lobotomy.

May I point out that a lobotomy is really is brain surgery. If you want useful results you'd better define exactly what you want and what you're dealing with before you stick that surgical steel rod or a wooden stick in your eye. In my humble experience I'm just saying there are real world reasons why many people and organizations have issues with Civil 3D Point Features.

If the words above about Point Features don't make some sense, go to the Webinars page and watch some point related videos. Maybe while you're at it you might  get Templates Only, get the Jump project running and EXPERIENCE how Points are supposed to work. Between videos and the Jump project things should make sense faster.
If a picture is worth a thousand words, what is a real-world, constructive, personal EXPERIENCE worth?

It's priceless.

These updated Civil 3D Point posts cover things in detail:

Point Display Strategies - Part 1
Two Paths Out of the Woods - Part 2
The Point Director Method - Part 3
Point to My Match in Civil 3D - Part 4

Point Data is Data

A Point Feature has point data in it. That came from somewhere at some time. That data isn't specifically permanent - point data can be changed and/or manipulated. Many AutoCAD/LDT people think of point data as pretty permanent and unchangeable because of the limitations of basic CAD primitives and CAD technology.
Civil 3D Point Features have far fewer restraints, some annoying present day limitations, and a far more complex way of showing themselves. Fortunately, or unfortunately, you are in control of the TV Set(s). This is not the Outer Limits even if it does feel like the Twilight Zone. Civil 3D takes the data gloves off. Get with the program or get pummeled. 

Avoid performing Civil Point Lobotomies if at all possible. Send them the point data in a form they can use, check and review how they use it, and get well-paid for both.

A Basic Framework for a Civil Point Lobotomy

You will make one drawing for the symbols, a drawing for the labels, and a drawing with point data output in blocks with attributes. You post process the drawings a bit and put the result drawings back together into one dwg. You can do iterative variations on this theme to produce many different forms of lobotomized point drawings.

The Symbols Drawing

You need:
A) An Export Points DescKey Set that assigns ONLY Point Styles, optional Layer assignments, and appropriate Point Style scaling. NO Point Label Style assignments.
B) The point data either in external point files or in a Survey Db with appropriate Raw descriptions that match the above DescKey Set. No labels so Format does not matter.
C) An appropriate acad.dwt in the first found AutoCAD File resource directory - check the Files section of your current Profile. I trust you know the difference that "Working" means in your profile settings.

1) Create a drawing from a NoStyles drawing template (contains only automatically created Civil 3D Standard Styles). Set the Coordinate System  if needed. Save it.
2) Drop in the Export Points DescKey Set - this will also import Point Styles and thier associated blocks. Save.
4) Import the point data - this creates the Point Features and Point Styles are assigned. Layer assignments come from the DescKey Set
5) Optionally, make sure the ALL Points point group (or other point groups) assign an appropriate Point Style to Point Features without DescKey Set assigned Point Styles. You don't need to do this if you use the blocks produced in the other drawing as locatators. You may also find that a Point Style that uses a real block is a more acceptable marker than using Markers in the Style. Markers become disconnected linework in the process. 
6) No Label Styles should be assigned in any Point Group.
7) Use SaveAs - the command creates an AutoCAD drawing with the Civil 3D Point Features dumbed down but wrapped in blocks to preserve the graphic arrangement. This looks okay but post editing from an end user viewpoint is no fun.
8) Quick Select the blocks and Explode them all. Save
9) Clean up everything you don't need or want.
!0) Purge everything unnecessary and Save.

Point Data and optional Labels Drawings

You need:
A)  A Point Labels DescKey Set that assigns ONLY Point Label Styles if you want different forms of labels on specific Point Features. You can also employ multiple Point Groups to do the same thing.
You can skip the Point Label Style assignment if you plan to employ block attributes as labels.
You can also employ DescKey Set FORMAT changes to effectively re-Key the point data at this point from the DescKey Set
B) The point data either in external point files or in a Survey Db with appropriate raw descriptions that match the above DescKey Set.
C) An appropriate acad.dwt in the first found AutoCAD File resource directory - check the Files section of your current Profile.

1) Create a drawing from a NoStyles drawing template. Set the Coordinate System if needed. Save it.
2) Import any needed Textstyles
3) Drop in an LDT classic cogo block or construct a "point" block to hold the point attribute data appropriately. Save.
4) Set the Drawing Level or Point Feature level Label Style Defaults to assign Textstyle, Layers, etc for the Point Labels. Save.
5) Drop in the Point Labels DescKey  - This imports in the Point Label Style if assigned. If not, Drop in appropriate Point Label Style(s). Save.
6) Recheck the Point Feature Label Style Defaults and/or Point Label Style properties. Save.
7) Import the point data - this creates the Point Features the Layer assignments come from the DescKey Set. Points with Point Label Style assignments are also labeled.
8) Make sure the ALL Points point group (and/or other point groups) assign No Point Styles and do assign an appropriate Point Label Style to Point Features. The attributed blocks may supply the final labels instead or do so in part.
9) Use the Create LDT Points command to create the dumb attributed point block objects. Save. 

At this point there are point blocks with attributes AND Point Features with Labels. 
10) Wblock out the point blocks to a drawing - nothing but net
11) Use SaveAs - the command creates an AutoCAD drawing with the Civil 3D Point Features dumbed down but wrapped in blocks to preserve the graphic arrangement
12) Quick Select the blocks and Explode them all. Save
13) Clean up so you have nothing but Labels
14) Purge everything unnecessary and Save.

Combine the three drawings into a final lobotomized Point drawing using Insert with Explode chexked, Map queries, etc.

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