Unquestionably the AutoCAD Civil 3D Alignment changes model-based software for civil engineer and survey professionals and their organizations. Autodesk invested heavily in the technology behind and refined extensively the Alignment tools in Civil 3D. The many capabilities of the Alignment make it the core feature in Civil 3D’s somewhat overwhelming arsenal.
What about Surfaces? Aren’t Surfaces an equally important part of what we do?
Is That the Question?
Yes and no. Certainly some organizations and users struggle with the subtle differences in surface mechanics, tools and skills in Civil 3D relative to classic CAD software. The ability to Build, Edit, and Manage surfaces well is the key civil|survey production issue. Our Civil 3D templates and styles will help with that.
Is grading a separate task and discipline or not? If you perceive it is and stick to the historical man-hour intensive approach and workflow, you will work around Civil 3D’s grading shortcomings.
Civil 3D Features are Tools – No More No Less
From my perspective we recognize that software use is about Tools and more productive workflow is about better managed tool employment and control. This means I tend to forget about what tools are called by vendors and focus on what they can actually do to reduce the time to get ‘er done. Do you see that Parcels are a grading tool?
Alignments Are What You Eat
On the civil|survey blue plate special the Alignment is the meat and Surfaces the potatoes. Alignments are all about managed design control. This management responsibility takes a bit more time to execute and increases complexity for the user. Is that control and complexity is worth the effort? If you develop the skills, yes. If not, then save yourself and run away. Flight or fight is a most noble human instinct. Survival matters.
What is an AutoCAD Civil 3D Alignment?
- Step One
What you name an Alignment is the most important thing you will ever do with an Alignment.
If you name without a project and purposed-based management plan, you will suffer for it.
- Step Two
An alignment is NOT what you see on the screen or what you publish. That is a representation. Representation is what Civil 3D Style is all about.
Invisible alignments may be more useful than visible ones.
If you can functionally get over that, you’re made the awkward first step to full CAD recovery.
- Step Three
An Alignment is a data collector. It is a bucket. Technically and thankfully the alignment is a bucket of buckets or a collector of collectors so to speak.
Yes, the alignment holds the math and the many potential properties of horizontal control in classic civil engineering speak. In Civil 3D the Alignment is much more than that. Isn’t it?
- Step Four
A specific Alignment bucket may be contained in a “higher” Site Parcel bucket or not.
Ignore that potential capability or complication, if you prefer, at your peril.
Remember the Flight or Fight comment above.
The Civil 3D toolspace displays the grosser parts of this Civil 3D buckets reality; ways to get at them; and methods to manage them. The Alignment Ribbon tools (which are specific to an Alignment) display the finer details – the properties in smaller buckets if you will.
What buckets does the Toolspace Alignment Feature collect?
OMG. Alignments classed and collected into various specialized types. These types of alignments appear to look like purposes? Are they?
The Alignment Management posts: a study guide to Read and Test in AutoCAD Civil 3D.
Civil 3D Alignment | Civil 3D Alignment Types | An Alignment in Civil 3D | Baseline Civil 3D Alignments | The Alignment End View in Civil 3D | Annotative Profiles in Civil 3D | Civil 3D Horizontal Control | Alignment Based Point Groups