Point Selection Peformance

Tags point, bugs, point selection, point display, performance, customization, survey, survey db

As a follow up to my previous post on Point Symbols, their management, custom Civil 3D templates, and Point Styles, I thought I ought to warn you of a AutoCAD Civil 3D Point performance gotcha. The method I pointed and highlighted in the post requires rotating collected Point Features..

Before I warn anyone about this "performance" issue, let me first say that if you still use older Autodesk software and attempt to make an issue like this a part of case (even in your own mind) to continue to do so, you are not helping yourself or anyone else around you. Don't even think about it.

A current Civil 3D is better. Way better. If that is not happening for you, do something about it today. Get resources that work and Get trained to use them. 

Point Selection and Memory

If you don't manage the size of your Point selection sets (Point Groups) carefully, Point Selection can be a bit dicey in 2012 -2010.

Maybe the issue will get addressed in the 2012 Service Pack 1, but don't bet on it or wait for it. The same performance issue happens in 2011 with the latest Updates.

You Did Read the Fine Print?

If you push things and work with hardware at the official Autodesk recommended  4GB RAM memory minimum for AutoCAD Civil 3D 2012/11, you will probably have the issue come up sometime.

Technically, this maybe isn't a bug since the RAM memory recommendations (8GB) are published, but many people and organizations do push the minimum envelope. There's a price connected to our choices.

Most people certainly wouldn't expect that simple Point selection actions would behave like this in small drawing files with relatively small numbers of Points.

Interesting Numbers

If your selection set of Point Features exceeds 1024 (this appears to be the magic number in the 2012 shipping release but that number may be just a personal delusion), Civil 3D apparently decides that it now needs a LOT More memory to perform that "simple" process.

AutoCAD Civil 3D may chug away for an immensely loooong time and maybe sometime come back with a valid selection set of Point Features. I waited out a couple of hour long selection events just because I'm stupid persistent. I probably also prolonged the event a lot by doing other things while Civil 3D pondered on a 4000+ member Point Group selection.  

The End of A Long and Winding Road

Civil 3D may also chug away and never come back at all. When that happens most of the time no Autodesk CER event will occur either.  It appears that you run out of memory and cannot perform even that mission critical reporting event. Not Good! Windows 7 will throw its own memory error at that point.

Once I even had the interesting experience of one drawing session that contained the running point selection process die after a few minutes of wait. Windows 7 left two other drawing sessions intact with Civil 3D still apparently operational. Dat's Mucho Robusto. But don't bet on it.  

Survey Db related Points appear (at least to me and those who talk to me) to be a bit More sensitive to this increased memory demand load than simple "COGO" points. Obviously, because of Civil 3D's demand loading, closing large and perhaps even small Survey Dbs, the Toolspace tabs, other Palettes all helps a bit, but it is not guaranteed protection.

Turning off Point Feature Tooltips helped reduce this behavior in prior releases, but that doesn't appear to do much at all (at least for me) in 2012.

Obviously, the longer your current Civil 3D session has been running and the More complex the stuff performed in that session the More chance of a Memory Neverland event like this occurring.

That is one of the more annoying aspects of the thing - sneaks up and then bites.  'Nuff said.

If Point selection starts to slow down, I now close my session, reopen, and go back at it.

A Point About Habits

I almost NEVER employ on screen selection methods to select bunches of Point Features. I think of "points" as collections of DATA. The only real exception to that is probably some Include or Exclude by number build and edit operations for complex Point Groups. So maybe there's a chance my Toolspace centric habits are actually the problem? My personal experience and some tests say, 'No."

No I didn't test this in 32-bit AutoCAD Civil 3D in Windows XP either. Maybe it never happens there, but good luck with that :) 

I ONLY use the 64-bit stuff on ultra generic hardware. Silly me.