The next InstantOn Basic 4 and Jump Kit 4 AutoCAD Civil 3D 2013 contain some necessary Code Set Style and more integrated Description Key Set stuff that should have been there all along.
We consider ourselves to be the Civil 3D user pit crew. Insufferable mechanics we’re always messing with the Civil 3D machine and trying to get the most out of the parts we’re supplied by the manufacturer. We’ll get you in the race. We’ll get you from the start line to the end. You know how it is.
One Day the Light Goes On
Edison said innovation is 1% inspiration and 99% perspiration. I happen to agree with him that innovation requires sustained effort. When we bump into the same annoying and frustrating problems, we eventually fix them. Lots of the time, we don’t realize how important that simple thing is until we’re on the other side. You know how it is.
Corridor annotation is a case in point so to speak.
This post and the one that follows are about exactly that kind of stuff. They contain some Civil 3D wish list items and some whines specific to Corridor Annotation. I wouldn’t bring them up if there wasn’t a workable solution to get you to the end of the track in one piece. No programming required.
Difficult Becomes Easier
Corridors are really good at design and surface output. Lots of solid development and programming effort has gone into making that so. Given a bit of practice, you can build a corridor surface out of just about anything in the corridor and do it via varied ways and means. This is Good Stuff.
If you think about it a bit you’ll recognize the Civil 3D Corridor Engine employs linear objects/features to perform this magic. Locations in the corridor model (points) are thing that just get connected. This approach has significant and powerful advantages that make Civil 3D the premier model-based design solution. Yippie!
Connected and collected things ARE much easier to create, edit, and manage than piles of many individual things. A good set of QA Surface Styles makes the corridor and surface QA and QC processes during the design of our road, channel, pipe ditch, or parking lot much easier. Civil 3D and an IOB rocks.
Until Everything Changes
The publication and annotation of a corridor is a separate process from the design however. We can theoretically hook our annotation (label locations) we made need out of any corridor surface model easily enough. For the most part you’ll initially use a surface label and discover that temporary Section lines can be helpful here for placement. That sounds good - those labels are all connected to the ever changing and updating dynamic surface. Cool Runnings. The surface label annotation process takes a lot longer than it should in Civil 3D, but people can get ‘er done given a crafted set of Styles.
“Dang. They just moved the stinking ditch. Now I have to redo (relocate) all the stupid labels. Why am I doing THAT in Civil 3D over the weekend?”
The surface labels have to be redone or at least carefully relocated. The annotation of surfaces is too labor intensive in the first place. The manual maintenance is worse. We’re forced to do dumb QA (did I miss relocating a label or two) that I don’t think anyone should have to do.
I’ll bet you agree. You’ve probably ended up in the car in that ditch too.
One time around this track and we discover we really need the XY locations to also stay connected to some form of horizontal and vertical control contained or managed by the corridor.
The Truth Be Told
The Corridor collector knows. It knows the Frequency and Target details. It knows the details of the Assembly. It’s making and updating those points on those surfaces we want annotated.
“Why can’t the corridor let me choose what to label and spit it out?”
Today the Civil 3D Corridor Feature is a design and data management tool.
A corridor can only be annotated by other Civil 3D Features.
I think it’s the right long-term approach, but we’d all likely agree we’d all like the Corridor annotation loop to be easier, more flexible, and more dynamic than it is.
I Pass Out on the Pavement
I already pointed out a couple of the nasty detail issues of employing Surface Feature annotation to publish locations in a corridor.
Surface Label Wishes
For a long time I thought (and asked) that Autodesk would make a “group” surface label that could be connected to any linear Civil 3D feature (Alignments, Feature Lines, and Figures).
It would act like a contour label but employ linear incremental factors and selected control specific points along the length of the Feature. Think of labeling the flowlines around an intersection.
We'd get both spots and slope/grades Labels along the Feature.
Of course, maybe we’d need to be able to offset these as well.
The ability to source multiple surfaces in a label was a given. For example we might want both top and bottom of curb.
The ability to source multiple Point Code locations from inside the Assembly at a location would be really super.
Made sense to me
I’m not holding my breath. I passed out face down onto the bloody pavement years ago.
Next time we annotate a little Civil 3D history that matters and some other potential Corridor Feature labeling methods.