We Love and Hate Our Figures

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I had a government customer send me some sample survey data. They wanted some customized Production Solution product. Along the way I asked him if he used the Figure Prefix Db functionality in Survey in AutoCAD Civil 3D.

“We don’t need that. It’s a waste of time for us.”


Their simple municipal roadway data produced about 350 useful figures from an edited version of their supplied PNEZD file. Later I found out the person I talked to with this strong and somewhat dubious opinion never had to connect the points personally or build and QA a surface for that matter.
He no longer works in that position in the organization. Small wonder.

Our self-maintained ignorance can make more work for ourselves and for others.

We Don’t Know What We Don’t Know

Figure Edits came up again this week. Must be spring time.

I hate Survey Figures in Civil 3D.”

I’ve certainly heard that one more than a few times.
Many people have issues with Figure Editing I know. I can’t say I blame them.

The Survey Figure Edit interface and it’s kissin’ cousin the COGO Editor is not like the rest of Civil 3D.
In many respects Survey is the most UNCAD-like set of tools in Civil 3D.

The data rules in Survey. This is good news and bad news.

Carpe Data

That means,–“Seize the data.”
Useful data is about asking the right questions. To ask the right questions is rarely intuitive. Recognize that Survey is like that.

The customer asked for a list of blog post and video resources that covered the Figures topic. You could just search for “figure edits” here and you’d be off to a good start.

Note: Posts on Figure topics done for older releases are still 99% true since release 2012.
Oh. Things have improved a lot in recent releases, but the mechanics mostly haven’t.
There are detailed videos on the Figure Edits topic and related surface building and quality control issues too.

Honestly, I continue to learn new and better ways to manage and produce faster, better, and more diverse useful output from Survey in Civil 3D. The post on Alignment Based Point Groups is one interesting example.

Productive tool use is a learned experiential skill.
By this I mean that your body learns to drive the car or play the guitar.
What we think can get in the way.
What I think I know is often made meaningless or meaningful by my action.
If only…

I Knew Then What I Know Now

This week I have to say, “Thank you. BB. I will miss you.”

Yes. Happily there is a bit of B.B. King is my guitar playing that will never go away.
I am not alone in that.

That is how it should be.