The Quick and the Dead - COGO Editor Tips

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I chatted about the Survey Figure Editor in a few posts earlier last month. It’s probably time to talk about its kissin’ cousin – the COGO Editor. How are these tools related? Let’s see.

COGO Editor Screen Shot

AutoCAD Civil 3D has included a COGO Editor (CE) for a few releases. It’s sort of hidden away in the Civil 3D Analyze Ribbon. Look far left and find Survey.
Folks that are new to Civil 3D and/or have never spent much time in the Survey tab in Civil 3D often find the COGO Editor tool a bit confusing at first. I can’t say I blame them. The CE takes some getting used too.

Where is Analyze>>Survey>>COGO Editor

The COGO Editor

The COGO Editor and the Survey Figure Editor share a couple of different and annoying things in common. In both Editors it appears that you are working in the drawing and on drawing data, but that’s only an illusion. Civil 3D is cheating and using the working window to display you stuff that isn’t really there. As far as the COGO Editor is concerned everything is ALWAYS in memory. Period.
Both of these somewhat related Editors are not modal.
They don’t behave at all like a typical Civil 3D Panorama tab Editors either.
You cannot hop in and out of these Editors and the screen like you can almost everywhere else in Civil 3D.
You have to be a bit tricky about it.

COGO Editor Setup

The Weirding Way

Because both Editors are working on a data set that is NOT required to be in the drawing, they have these sort of strange Zoom to Extents, Zoom to Selection, and Zoom in Drawing tools in their toolbars.

Zoom in Drawing Tool Lets You Change the Screen

COGO Editor Zooms

You can employ the Zoom in Drawing tool in both Editors to allow you back into the general Civil 3D interface to close and/or change Palettes as well as redefine where you are looking.
Inside the Zoom in Drawing tool wheel-mouse zoom and pans work fine, but you still have to pick a couple of points in the end to eventually define a Zoom Window in the classic ACAD fashion to get back to the Editor interface.

Get External ASAP

As for the COGO Editor, I always start an external text file as soon as I open the CE.
It’s easy to do but probably even easier to forget or overlook this important step.
If you do forget, someday you will be sorry.

Lost in Space

When I fire the COGO Editor, I also set some Point of Beginning and define some fake holding Tangent as well. It’s way too easy to inadvertently Zoom to nowhere in the COGO Editor if you don’t. Of course, you now know how you might fix that.
You can see a CE Start setup above in the third picture in this post.
The Close button in the COGO Editor and a complete restart is so tempting when you are new to the tool and become lost in space.

I Quit

Maybe the Close button should really say “Quit”. Do you want to abandon the work you’ve done?
That is exactly what you are doing.
“Close” doesn’t exactly imply that to me.
You might expect that the COGO Editor will reload your last session. It will not unless you have an external file or a polyline copy in the drawing. Polylines are dumber.

Never Trust What You See

You also may be tempted to trust the COGO Editor’s polyline output as a backup since it puts something “real” into your drawing. A polyline is dumb CAD primitive. Don’t forget the generated polyline isn’t connected to Numbered or Named points you may usefully employ inside the CE. Your external “traverse” file is “connected” (if you made those type of connections) even though the data in the TRV(x) file isn’t in any drawing anywhere ever.

I consider the polyline output to be a way to look at variations of the on-going edits I performed on the way to a refined solution. For any complicated Traverse, I also save multiple versions of the external file for obvious reasons.
I may have to go back and retrace the track. Don’t deny it. You know all design work is often a search for recovery.

Save too

Oh did I mention to make sure you are working in a drawing that has itself been saved BEFORE you update any polyline in the drawing from the COGO Editor. Yes. The drawing may have nothing of consequence in it at the moment. But this sort of update to the ACAD primitive seems to require a saved drawing to keep Civil 3D stable. Save the drawing after polyline imports or exports to avoid a crash and burn.

Autodesk Would or Could You Fix This?

Unfortunately, we still cannot load the external data in the traverse file into any Civil 3D Features directly.
This irks me (and maybe you) to no end since it just makes for more unnecessary work to Create from Objects from a dumb polyline after doing some of the hard work here. Arrrgh.

While I’m on the subject, how come I can’t load a Parcel, an Alignment or even a Figure Feature’s data directly into the COGO Editor either?  Yeah I do get the 3D to 2D differences. Do you?
How come I can’t load the data for these types of puppies from an XML file into the COGO Editor?

How many disconnected Horizontal Control editors do we really need in Civil 3D?  Yes the COGO Editor serves a useful purpose apart from the Feature Geometry Editors and tools.
Ah Well…

Maybe Someday Things Will be More Linear

COGO Editor Unsorted

It May Get Sorted Out

Did I forget to mention to be VERY careful about accidently sorting the columns in the COGO Editor interface. Things in here work like any Civil 3D List View, but that isn’t always a good thinig.
Last time I checked, it was still possible to sort things accidentally by a number of the columns and accidently rearrange the entire ORDER of the traverse.

COGO Editor A Bad Sort

That’s a bit unnerving. It probably wasn’t your intent. Don’t panic.
Can you rearrange the displayed sort by the segment number?  No.
You do have a saved external backup?
Maybe no one but me is dumb enough to try this and to do it to themselves?
I guess not.

The COGO Editor has a Flexible, Adaptable, and
very Short Memory

Yes for those scifi buffs out there I allude to and refer to Dune, by Frank Herbert in this post.
That seemed appropriate since inside these Editors to zoom and See what you want, you almost have to have a prescient ability. I do admit to the fact that the obscure “mouse” reference would be missed by most. That’s ok. Most people miss the fact in the story the names Herbert employs all allude to famous and “tragic” literary and historical figures. Wheels within wheels like plots within subplots – some are seen and yet most remain unseen. This is not because these things are hard to see. We don’t pay attention. But we all do notice some how and some when.