Symbol Set 4 AutoCAD Civil 3D 2012 questions.

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Symbol Set NCS Questions and Answers

Tags Symbol Set, symbol, Blocks Only, NCS, ncs 4.0

On release day I got couple of NCS 4.0 Symbol Set 4 AutoCAD Civil 3D 2012 questions.

I thought the answers might be useful for others. I love good questions :).

Symbol Set Q&A

Wondering if this is just the Symbol Set from the old Symbol Manager Library of the 'Days of Yore'.

Especially, when you write, "This civil engineering collection of National CAD Standard, Autodesk Land Desktop, and Jump Platform AutoCAD blocks are all cleaned, standardized, documented, and Ready to Run." cleaned? standardized? documented?
So far, we haven't had many problems with using the Symbol Manager files from Land Desktop. Obviously, new users are out of luck, since Autodesk failed to include them Civil 3D.
I have been waiting Autodesk to release them for Civil 3D at a price of course. But it been a long wait, since C3D 2006.
So, how are these symbols different from the Land Desktop release of symbols which contained the following folders of symbols:
\Annotation
\APWA
\COGO
\Cogo_metric
\Company Design
\Company Survey
\Landscape
\Mvblocks
\NCS Design
\NCS Survey
In other words, how many more symbols in addition to the original Land Desktop were added from the National CAD Standard and Jump Platform AutoCAD?

My Reply

Thank you for your questions on the blog about The Symbol Set NCS 4.0
Actually Autodesk does include many blocks in Civil 3D they are just hidden away from you in the huge pile of content "stuff' included with AutoCAD Civil 3D. The default install location is here -C:\ProgramData\Autodesk\C3D 2012\enu\Data\Symbols

Symbol Set and the What and Whys

There are about 750-1000 symbols in there depending on how you count such things. Variations make the difference.
You can download the product documentation from the website from the download page
The product documentation contains pictures of most of the blocks included and shows the folder structure, naming conventions, etc.  
Civil 3D Point Styles are definitely not just AutoCAD blocks.
Other Civil 3D Styles and Label Styles also employ blocks in a lot of different ways as Markers etc.

The Symbol Set is definitely NOT specifically a port of the old LDT Symbol Libraries although pretty much all of the common in use ones are in there.
The National CAD Standard also has a large collection of symbols (many mapping based) that are included.
The NCS is specifically pretty short on typical civil/survey blocks. We fixed that too. 
There are a lot of typical and basic State DOT symbols in there.
Also included are a lot of “base” civil graphics. These may be used to construct even more symbols.

The need to clean the blocks etc comes from the fact that LDT and old Autodesk applications embedded code in the blocks and the blocks themselves may not be constructed all that well in the first place considering the new technology at work in Civil 3D.
What do you need attributes in your blocks for? The Civil 3D Features hold and annotate the data. 
The old code doesn’t hurt you most of the time, but tends to make drawings (particular ones with LOTS of points) become more unstable in Civil 3D.

You can -PURGE out the old regapps from your old ACAD blocks. You should take the time to do that.
We save you the time and expense. 

Autodesk/Softdesk (everyone else too) pretty much winged it on the block construction in the first place. Stuff came from a lot of people and many diverse sources over a long time span.

Some Problematic Examples

The old blocks include attributes tied to lots of different textstyles, have weird insertion points (nodes), lots of size (scale) variation, and some poorly done ACAD work.
The publically available NCS symbols also include bad AutoCAD primitives in addition to the above issues. That is also true of many“converted” cell libraries from the State DOTs. Converstions without systematic quality control processes often result in this kind of stuff. We save you the hassle.

There was NO standardized Block naming scheme anywhere.

The Jump Platform symbol naming is NCS “like” and easy to learn and understand. This is important for users in a production working environment. We make connecting the dot as easy as "Point and Shoot". 

All of the above make employing old blocks somewhat more problematic in the more complex graphic environment that is Civil 3D. Anyone’s and everyone's old blocks work, but your oldie goldies can make you More work and hassles too because Civil uses them in lots of places that can become “buried” away in a typical Civil 3D production template. We make constructing specialized templates that are consistent and integrated with a common set of graphic standards a lot easier. All the parts work together.

People asked us to fix all of that so we did. We made the results into a couple of useful products.

Blocks Only NCS 4.0 has the block content and it runs in all AutoCAD based products for 2010-12.

Symbol Set NCS 4.0 adds libraries of Civil 3D Point Styles to the raw "symbols". These are obviously release specific although the 2011 Symbol Set ports uphill to 2012 without issues.

A Path Forward

If you want a Path of Least Resistence towards a company or organizational Civil 3D standard, these products offer a consistent and well integrated common ground to build on.

Coupled with our InstantOn and Jump Kit products they help provide known fences to run between based on existing known and established national standards.
Future Symbol Sets will embrace other important standards like the State DOTs so your staff can work the same way every day but publish on demand to different CAD Standards.

The most important thing to "get" about the Symbol Set is that the underlying pictures are replacable if you employ the Jump Platform Standard naming conventions. If you want manholes with text or without to meet different graphic CAD standards, changing the pictures is easy. Just employ the Jump's documented names and graphic standards.

We recognize that executing in the real world and on a practical and daily basis on that innovative concept is both difficult and significant to our customers. Symbol Set technology makes Civil 3D work.

If you have any more questions, please feel free to ask.