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The Alignment End View in Civil 3D

Tags ViewFrame, alignment, View Frame, data reference, design control, publish on demand, Project Management

Does it help to go to the end of things to discover how to make a better beginning?

We’ve been talking about the Alignment as the Design Control Manager for AutoCAD Civil 3D. The principals and concepts of Publish on Demand are another central theme for model-based software. If a Design Control Manager and Publish on Demand ideas are true in Civil 3D, somehow the Alignment should help us out with the publication of our design and data.

Plan for Production

Is it a bit unnatural to think like this? It is way too easy to overlook that this congress applies as much to survey publication as finished or conceptual design publication. Our existing tendency is to start at the beginning with the survey data cleanup and surface building and worry about the publication later.

Civil 3D allows us to do both at once with a wee bit of plan and execution. If you have corridor like survey data, get some form of an Alignment built post haste. This will reduce your production time. See the posts on Best Fit Alignments and Profile tools.

Alignment is a Publication Manager

The Civil 3D ViewFrame collector is built with the assumption that you are ready to publish and now you want to do it. Autodesk thinks like you, because they listen to you? Therefore, the ViewFrame Group is notoriously full of unalterable on-create properties and decisions. Thankfully, the Style based decisions you can change after the Sheets are generated. Whew!

The View Frame tools is not really as interactive as they should be. Why can we grip edit the View Frames but not plug in real numbers into the property boxes? Arrrgh. The Frames are generated from the details in place on creation. This appears to reflect the current Autodesk Civil 3D mantra: If it ain’t broke, don’t improve it.

If you revise the horizontal control of the Alignment too much, a new ViewFrame Group may be the order of the day. See. There you go again thinking that the publication is about a design alignment.

Oh Sheet

For new users you’re also stuck with the fact that you have to have the Sheet layouts and the array of Civil 3D Styles built, worked out in detail, and at the ready. Since this is more than intimating for the newbie and even the Civil 3D skilled our Production Solutions do that out of the box.

To get the Sheet graphics and Sheet Set mechanics tweaked is only an AutoCAD level set of skills. We tell new customers to do this simple Sheet Set customization first for a good reason:

Plan to Execute

The View Frames and Match line properties employ the power of Civil 3D Name templates. Plan ahead. If you want Station details on the match lines and employ an alphabetic scheme you can get them with only a minor tweak to the Name Template details before you generate the View Frames for the Group. The idea here is to save you work not make you work more.

Given you have a publication Alignment (this may have nothing to do with a “real” project Alignment) you can generate the publication View Frames. Do this in a data reference drawing where you STORE the publication Alignment control not in a working survey or design drawing. That way you build them once and you can DREF them in whenever you need them. Grin.

We made a Topo Grid AddOn based on Alignments in part with this dual purpose of annotation and publication mechanics. See the video. Alignments do work for Plan publication too if you are paying attention.

Spend a little time to tweak the View Frames into something usable. Sorry. I know it isn’t very intuitive that the Frame size is coming from the AutoCAD Viewports in the referenced Layouts. So? Do you want to maximize the Viewport or make sure that the Viewport size aligns better to Stations?

Don’t get functionally fixed on the way the Create ViewFrames tool automatically does things. You can change that.

  • Does the publication Alignment have to be in the View Frame? Not really.
    Maybe you want to employ the Right of Way or an off page Section line or something similar?
  • Recognize it is often it is easier to blow off bad View Frames and add new Frames back in.
  • The Add View Frame tool is hidden away a bit in the AutoCAD Civil 3D View Frame Ribbon in the Modify View Frame panel.
  • When you add View Frame back in recognize that you should work from the END of the Alignment and work backwards.

Indeed. For a better managed Design Process and better Design Control the way forward to more productivity can be to think and act backwards. The mental challenge is about the…

Frames of the Mind

Yes. That is an esoteric reference to Howard Gartner’s now famous book - one of the ground-breaking and institution-shaking discoveries in neuroscience.
People think differently.
Do you act like they do?

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

Alignment Video posts: (see the Deliverables course in the Members section)

Civil 3D Alignment Matters - An Overview | Civil 3D Best Fits are Fast and Better | Civil 3D Best Fit Segment Tools