Civil 3D Survey Query AddOn and Library

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AutoCAD Civil 3D does next to nothing to encourage you to do externalize Survey Queries to work across projects. That should sound familiar? Autodesk often ignores the practical Civil 3D user management tools and only gets you 50% of the way there. We can fix that with better Civil 3D civil engineering design and survey production solutions.

Framework for Civil 3D Survey Query AddOn

Merry Christmas!

Our Framework customers can login after Christmas and download our latest AddOn for AutoCAD Civil 3D. The Survey Query AddOn is a simple, (KISS) Civil 3D Query Library folder structure with a raft of Framework Survey Code compliant QML files that are handy for many common Survey Db tasks. We even included a new Survey Queries Spreadsheet Tool to help you create and manage your own. The in-depth, on-line documentation and customization help is already up in the website Members section.

The Framework for Civil 3D now saves you more hours of work. It’s only clicks away. More Free productivity is the gift that gives back. Imagine that?

Survey Query Management and Use

The default way the AutoCAD Civil 3D Survey Query tools work and store the QML files fights you to some degree.

Open any external Survey Query QML file in a decent text editor that supports XML syntax to understand and see what I’m talking about. Folks, there’s nothing to be afraid of. A QML file is just XML – aka organized text strings. There are both Survey Query hints and QML edit hints in the Civil 3D Survey Query Name Rules post.

Where’s your Query Library?

As is typical in Civil 3D, you the user are responsible to plan and manage this work.
By default AutoCAD Civil 3D will look for QML files in your <Current>
..\Survey Working Folder\<current>Survey Db\ folder.
I guess that made sense to the Autodesk programmers, QA function testers, and demo jocks.
Folks, the internal Survey Queries are already stored inside the Survey Db. I admit to initially being a bit baffled by the default external location, but it was easy. Wouldn’t the ..\Survey Working Folder\ make more sense? I’d guess it was too much work to make a new Survey setting.

In any case, we’d all rather Autodesk fix the Survey query current read QML bug(s). Arrrgh. I can barely contains myself. See this recent post for important Civil 3D Survey Sandtraps.

The Two Click Survey Query Library


The Good News is you can overcome and easily fix this in the Survey Query Open dialog box:

  • Make your Query Library a click away.
    Add your Query Library location to the Places (the icon links)
  • You can also create a Favorite and add your Query Library folder to your list of Favorites
  • You can create a Windows Shortcut in your
    ..\Survey Working Folder\<current>Survey Db\ folder

The Place, Windows Shortcut, and/or Favorite can be a network share location. Need I remind you - Use UNC paths and not old school mapped drives. Manage the Autodesk chaos in a modern environment.
Sorry to my Civil 3D CAD manager buddies.
The Open dialog Places and Favorites are stored AutoCAD profile keys and appear in all AutoCAD Open dialog boxes. They are not specific to specific dialog boxes.

You do employ ever improving a Civil 3D Project Template(s) to kick off projects? You can build-in the Windows Shortcut method above into those. That’s “Way Cool” and pretty easy to manage. Silly rabbit. Of course Civil 3D Project Templates store files and shortcuts as well as folders. So do Sheet Set Templates. OMG! You do use them?

Manage the Survey Query Names

We earlier released the simple naming rule conventions for the AddOn in Civil 3D Survey Query Name Rules post. The details are there. Use ours or make up your own. There are important realities to consider…

Try to keep in mind you may use the Query to either or both preview in the drawing and/or in the Point Editor and/or Figure Editor panels in the Survey interface. In other words, queries are a lot more than pictures. Queries are about data.
Because a query produces a useless screen preview does not mean the peek at the data itself isn’t significant and helpful to: assessment, quality control, and even annotative and publishing workflows.

Those last annotative and publish uses may be significant – That bit is perhaps not intuitive or very obvious to many a newer Civil 3D user.
Show me all the design note points in the project’s design Survey Db. I want to update the point Descriptions, numbers, Codes, or whatever and then update the published references in all the project drawings. Did I forget to mention that an audit trail and reporting can be automatically built-in.
“Say what?”

Get the Framework 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