Reprise Civil 3D Survey Sand Traps

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In the last couple of weeks a recent and necessary security fix for the Microsoft Net Framework seems to have savaged the AutoCAD Civil 3D Survey Query Import and Export a file behaviors. Code that was stable and worked great for the last couple of years and multiple AutoCAD Civil 3D releases suddenly stopped working as advertised.

Odds are Autodesk will take a while to fix their now problematic code. Who cares anyway? If you use it, you do. We’ve all had this happen to us. It’s one reason we all usually fear new releases, service packs, and even automatic Windows updates.

We whine and complain and, sadly, sometimes simply give up on that part or piece of the software that doesn’t work as we expect. Expectation is a bitch or we adapt. What we do isn’t what the programmers think we will do.

The Patterns of Productivity Change

Adaption can be painful. For the time being I have to remember to manually update imported Survey Queries. These save me tons of time, so these stupid updates are truly annoying. For a while I have to remember to first Import and fix them instead of just employing the external Survey Query QML files by themselves. Arrrgh.

You know the drill. Sometimes it is the code, but all too often we do this to ourselves. I’m an avid advocate of the use of AutoCAD Civil 3D Survey Dbs. If you need to track and annotate location in its many forms for both survey and design location data, you should use them.

Here’s a classic AutoCAD Civil 3D Survey and AutoCAD mix up…

Survey Point Data Sandtrap

Survey Db Disconnections

I’ve said before our old school ACAD habits can be a stumbling block when we have to deal with Civil 3D forms of data behind. We expect that if we can see it on our screen everything is OK. Nothing could be further from the truth in model-based (aka data-based) software. Civil 3D’s modern take on data takes precedence over our more ACAD primitive misconceptions.

“Survey is Broken”

Survey Points sometimes seem to mysteriously become disconnected Civil 3D COGO points for no apparent reason. You should observe (a pun) that Civil 3D COGO points are not Civil 3D Survey points.

Survey Db connected Figures can also occasionally suffer from this strange detachment or disassociation in Civil 3D release before 2016. The current drawing representations of either or both your points and figures somehow become separated from the referenced Survey Db.

“I didn’t do a thing.”

Lost to the Survey Db

Survey Db connections to their Civil 3D Feature representations can get lost because of both AutoCAD UNDO and OOPS commands.
For example: you ERASE connected Points or Figures and immediately or later reconsider the decision and try to reverse your actions. The old AutoCAD habit kicks in.
The points or figures return to the screen.
Half an hour later you might notice things have disconnected or, maybe worse, you do not notice at all. Ouch.

We expect the connections to the Survey Db to get automatically restored too after the AutoCAD UNDO because of what we see.
This is reasonable from our old school AutoCAD perspective, but it’s not true.

AutoCAD doesn’t know a thing about the Civil 3D Survey Db connections. The connections are a Civil 3D thing and AutoCAD has no built-in way to repair the connections up to this point in time. This is a bad news good news thing.

Behind Survey Data Wisdom

If it is a Civil 3D thing, use the Civil 3D interface tools to get things done.
Put another way…

Always Select things from the Toolspace not the screen and you’ll soon discover that more is possible and better Civil 3D skills with thrills are a click or right click away.

“But? How to I fix it if it’s broken?”

Trust in the Survey Db. It’s your best hope. That may require you to redo work you thought you did. If things are really far gone, you can also consider this…

You Created an Evolutionary Copy?

This seemingly bad Civil 3D Survey point and figure behavior is another undocumented AutoCAD Civil 3D Survey product feature and benefit that we can take advantage of. 
Disassociating data from one authority to place the data in another separate authority can be very useful.
Adapt. Put your new data into a new Survey Db.

The Hidden Promotion for Surveyors

I call this process “the hidden Survey promotion” in AutoCAD Civil 3D.
I explain Civil 3D Survey works this way because many survey folk don’t want to be promoted out of the field into the office full-time anyway. The software behavior simply mimics their own avoidance behavior (grin). People seem to remember that.

Get InstantOn - a Better Survey for Civil 3D

The following list of posts - most of which contain videos - should help you get your head around Survey Query basics, method and practice, and/or useful workflows in AutoCAD Civil 3D.

The Recent Survey Query Series