Civil 3D Template Development

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Template Development is a truth in numbers game for all the civil engineers and surveyors who use AutoCAD Civil 3D. This is a case where it is way too easy to miss the forest for the trees. The metaphor may be a bit trite, but in this case the simile is absurdly apt as we shall see.

I’ve used the following phrase all too often in posts:

“Dave? Can our Civil 3D templates and Civil 3D styles do that?”

Some curious followers tweeted back, “Who’s Dave?”

Someone even recently asked, “Do you mean Dave Simeone who is the Senior Product Manager for AutoCAD Civil 3D?”

Let’s just say I’ve personally known Dave longer than there’s been a Civil 3D. Dave supported the first versions of our product when Autodesk was a sponsor. Here’s the rest of the story. Maybe Dave even reads my emails and this blog now and then. Thanks, Dave.
Dave won’t be too offended if I yank on his chain now and then.
I could even use Dave as a search keyword for related posts about Release 7 features. Nah. I wouldn’t do that, would I?

Knock. Knock.

“Who’s there?”


“Dave? Dave’s not here…”

Maybe the old Cheech and Chong joke and the vaporous punchline happened before your time. It’s true. I’ve been known to throw in obscure references into my posts. Who doesn’t enjoy a comedy act from the theatre of the absurd now and then?
As a customer reminded me last week talking about Civil 3D, civil engineering and survey software, and technical details does not always have to be boring, does it?
I also do promise that you have to think a bit to play here in this Civil 3D blog.

Pivot Point

People do miss the pivotal point in the phrase. Your Civil 3D templates and the included Civil 3D Style tools either perform or they don’t. This matters to us all. Why it matters differs.

I’ve already said that Autodesk is perfectly happy to have you waste your time and energy customizing their very expensive software. They get you involved.
Your customization makes it partly your fault when their software fails to perform.
Autodesk behaves strategically from their point of view.
I trust you recognize by now that there is nothing simple about that.
However, this is perhaps one reason why no one at Autodesk ever officially talks about our

Framework for Civil 3D

We make Civil 3D look good. Perhaps that can make them look bad?
No. I’m not crazy or paranoid. I do admit that I do think differently about AutoCAD Civil 3D development.
Then I have to ask,

How Much is a Better Civil 3D Template Worth?

$2500? $25000? or $250000? If you’ve actually used AutoCAD Civil 3D for more than year and developed a good Civil 3D template, I can guarantee you’ve spent real dollars somewhere between the last two. Scary. Maybe you call it investment, sweat equity, or call it operational expenses? Perhaps you pretend to bury the costs in projects?

Some folks don’t really use the Autodesk software they pay for because of this cost. You can’t blame them.

Is Civil 3D template development like the death and taxes?

Civil 3D template and Civil 3D style construction and maintenance is an expensive hassle.
That on-going effort should produce repeatable benefits.
I trust you get the point.

The closer you get to that horrific $250,000 number the less likely you are to even consider that someone could outdo that work and sell it for under $2500. Come on. A price tag under $500 would be totally absurd.

Welcome to the New Economy of the Absurd

Discontinuous Innovation happens all the time. Often people don’t pay attention for good reason. We are head down getting our work out the door with the tools we know using our old familiar means. We know that we should examine those assumptions now and then. That’s hard to do, but luckily in this case it is not.

A $25 test drive of our new Release 7 Templates Only trial template solution for Civil 3D says it’s true. OMG!

“Dave? Can our Civil 3D templates and Civil 3D styles do that?”

You can use tools to build a custom engine or build tools to customize engines.
These are not quite the same thing.
This matters to no one unless you happen to care about project productivity and performance under pressure.

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