What's in There? Civil 3D Drawing Types and The Template

Tags customization, standards, CAD Standards, Style, Style Management, symbol, template, library

I swear even before we finished uploading The Jump Kit 4 2011 product download I got the "What's in there?" question in an email from a prospective Jump Kit customer. It's great that people are excited about the new Release 4 Jump Kit. I am too. Here's a couple of useful links for you: 
Jump Kit 4 2011 documentation
NCS 4.0 Symbol Set and Blocks Only documentation - Even includes screen shots of the NCS Blocks 

But now I have a BIG problem about all the details, but the answer to the question is straight forward:

More Civil 3D Capability Than You Will Use

Honestly, I'm not trying to avoid answering the question. Even though "What's in there?" a reasonable question on the surface, "What's in There?" just might not be the most useful question. 
"Why is there a Jump Kit at all?" might be More informative.

A short story and some basic facts might make that More clear.

At last year's Autodesk University, I talked to a friend who works inside Autodesk about Civil 3D template construction and Civil 3D CAD Standards development. He's a long-time technical Civil 3D geek. He is, I believe, genuinely interested in The Jump from the customer's perspective. (Please excuse my inside C3D pun.) He asked me a "staggering" question,

How Many Styles Do You Need in a Civil 3D Template?

Hmmm...I had to think about this some. I make a lot of Civil 3D templates and Style galore but I'm not in the business of counting the fleas per se. Counting Styles isn't something I even want to think about doing.

"Let's see in 2011 we have about 25+ Features all of them have at least a Feature Style collection and many of the More "important" core Feature have multiple types of Label Styles and then there are Sets.  

To have a decent annotative coverage for all the Features in one template you probably need 500-600. Maybe that number is high or low depending on the kind of project. A simple lot survey is one thing. Ten miles of highway reconstruction is another game entirely.

A huge number of these "Styles' are going to be things like Point Styles, Markers, etc to do all the symbology and basic annotation. A variety some kinds of Label Styles is also a practical day-to-day project reality.

But I don't think ONE Civil 3D template is a reasonable and maintainable idea in the first place anyway. It's a myth like Monty Python's Holy Grail. It's absurd. What does the knight say 'Come back and fight like a man!'

In Civil 3D 2011, we're still trapped within the old ACAD idea, but that will change. It has to." 

The AutoCAD Civil 3D 2012 new Style Management tools help with maintenance a lot. Things do get better, but they don't and won't solve all our template customization and maintenance problems either.

Even if we completely ignore the productivity advantages of task-based templates, there is a big difference between model building drawings and publication drawings. It doesn't stop there. We don't have just one kind of drawing in Civil 3D. 

If you interested here's my Drawing Type list from my public Civil 3D training webinars...

Civil 3D Drawing Types

    Create and Construct 
        Model Building Drawings 
    DREF publication 
        Share Feature Data in the Project 
    XREF and IREF publication 
        Share background Drawing Data in the Project 
    Publish Collectors 
        XREFs & DREFs 
        Plan and Profile 
        Pages of Sections 
    Sheets 
        What we Plot in Sheet Sets 
    Digital Published Deliverables 
        What we publish and export to others

There a bunch of drawing types even if you think some of the above may be duplicates or unnecessary for your current project's complexity.

Let's get back to Civil 3D templates and Civil 3D Styles... 

The real world problem many of my clients talk about is the "jurisdiction problem." This is often as much an internal problem as an external one. They must supply the same kind of work to different people with different look and feel.
Internally one engineer wants it this way and another wants it that way.  
Externally the county or township wants it this way and the local city wants it that way. The other office in another state has even more varieties and flavors to throw into your template and style mix.
The blink matters to EVERYONE.

So, Who Signs Your Check? 

We get overwhelmed for obvious reasons. The potential depth of detail in Civil 3D is genuinely infinate, but what they want isn't always possible. We learn as fast as we can. We do what we've always done before. We customize Civil 3D. We reuse the stuff we have available from yesterday. It's AutoCAD. That's what we're supposed to do. Isn't it?

I don't believe you can actually get there.
As Peter Sellers once said, "There is no There there."

Building a Standard to Build On is Possible

That's WHY we have The Jump Kit to construct templates "on-demand" and the Jump Platform itself sitting behind THAT as a continuous Style development and maintenance environment.

A Jump Kit publishes the POTENTIAL templates and their Style collections in a way you'll need to make real Civil 3D projects work. That PROCESS works for us. We build InstantOn products that way and CAD Standards templates for customers the same way. The PROCESS will also work for you.

A customer said this to me last week,

"Civil 3D Template Construction is a PROCESS not an Event"

He gets the Jump. You are welcome to reinvent the wheel. You will be a long time at it.
That's one reason why we don't have much competition in the marketplace besides the fact we have so much existing depth of content already.

We're happy to give you a leg up on all that work for an affordable price.
It's a crazy business but someone's got to do it.
What are thousands of companies and agencies going to do?
Build everything from scratch?

Let's see...and let's count the cost versus a few benefits. 

Costs & Benefits

How many man-hours does the the QA (quality assurance) pass take on More than 3500 Styles? Did you clean and build 1000 blocks of all things not Civil 3D? Did you get the right named blocks in 750 Point Styles? Do you provide multiple symbol choice? Do you include support for Land Desktop legacy symbols? Do the results all uphill to AutoCAD Civil 3D 2012 without a hitch? 
Oh Gee. That's just part of the NCS 4.0 Symbol Set and What's in There for The Jump Kit 4 2011.

Do you have separate By Feature drawings for every Civil 3D Feature? Do you have multiple depths of Style collection detail that can work together without stepping on each other? Is the Civil 3D template construction process built into all of that? Have you extended the basics of the National CAD Standard to those Style collections? Do you supply the civil engineering "missing" NCS pieces while remaining NCS compliant in detail? Are these tested and compared against other existing "CAD Standards" out there? 
Oh Gee...That's another part of What's in There for The Jump Kit 4 2011

Did you get the right Point Styles in 750 Description Keys in multiple Description Key Sets? Did you get the 250 Figure Prefixes right? Do these all work together to put the "right" symbols on the right layers and plot correctly too? How many Figure Styles do you need to handle the results of that?
Oh Gee... that's a part of a new and upcoming InstantOn Survey product - yet another part of What's in There for upcoming Jump Platform Release 4 2012.

What's in There?

More Civil 3D Capability