Multiple Dynamic Baselines in Civil 3D 2018

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Autodesk says Multiple Dynamic Baselines (MDB) is a new software feature for Civil 3D 2018. Don’t you love that Autodesk acronym anachronism. Civil 3D’s new form of MDB is actually a synergistic capability that results from the combination of classic Corridor Baselines and Regions the other new features and tools of Connected Alignments, Offset Profiles, and chiefly dynamic Feature Line Baselines in Corridors.

Ok. If I also mention Surface Reference Feature Lines, we may all have a new Civil 3D 2018 feature meltdown. Autodesk added a lot. They also changed some very fundamental Civil 3D usage patterns in the process. Definitely, there are a lot more added clicks and new tabs to pay careful attention to. Just saying.

Multiple Dynamic Baselines

We have the new ability to create Multiple Dynamic Baselines in our Corridors in 2018. Read this page in the AutoCAD Civil 3D 2018 Help file. The help file page contains plenty of helpful pictures to explain things. Our New in Civil 3D 2018 video page contains additional helpful videos too.

Inside Civil 3D 2018 we do get new on-creation name templates for both the new 2018 Connected Alignment and Offset Profile Features. You may or may not like the Autodesk name template defaults in practice. There isn’t, as yet, a default name template for the Feature Line in a new dynamic Feature Line Baseline. Hint: Take the time to Name your Feature Lines according to a naming convention plan.

No. Sadly, Civil 3D 2018 still contains no coherent management tool for the name templates. I believe that would be easy enough to do, but that sort of system management tool unlikely to make the top of the Civil 3D user wish list. Such is the life of the dreamer – here but ignored.

What does Multiple Dynamic Baselines mean?

Simply put - it is easier to apply and manage separate Assemblies (often reduced to single subassembly) in multiple corridor Baselines and Regions. As I have been saying for a long time, there is no need to employ an Assembly (the cross section) that goes all the way across the entire Corridor. When it works great, but that default Assembly condition isn’t always the best real world solution.  I already use the term Complex Corridors to explain what Autodesk now calls Multiple Dynamic Baselines.

In Complex Corridors we can more easily deal with parts of the cross sections as separately managed pieces and even employ Regions in those separate Baselines to handle more detailed, specific, and variable cross section control work. For example: A shoulder only Region transitions to a shoulder and guard rail system and back again.

Ok. If you are Corridor wizard you can certainly make multiple Baselines and these related Regions happen in older releases of Civil 3D. However, it seems to get easier to build and much less time-consuming to maintain these complex beasts. Previously, the Corridor change target maintenance and update mechanics were man-hour intensive and at some point too full of intricate details to execute as well and as consistently. Offset Profiles, Connected Alignments, and dynamic Feature Line Baselines coupled with DREF corridors and Surface Reference Feature Lines should help a lot.

Dynamic Feature Line Baselines

In the last couple of releases Civil 3D allowed us to extract Feature Lines from Corridor models and employ those horizontal and vertical control for result locations of essentially Offset Alignments. Be careful of nesting issues. To quote from the Civil 3D help file “a dynamic extracted feature line cannot be used to replace the baseline of its parent(s) in the same corridor”. The more painful issue was/is the mandatory extracted result. The now more dynamic Feature Lines from Corridor results are a long awaited improvement. However, that is not the same thing as dynamic slope-controlled Offset Profiles linked to the dynamic Offset Alignments themselves. I talked about those in detail in the Offset Profiles in Civil 3D 2018 post.

Left Unspoken, Unmanaged, and Unforgiven

In 2018 Civil 3D Land a new canyon opens beneath our feet. Multiple Dynamic Baselines definitely result in the need for a lot more Assemblies and some way to get them into design drawings in a systematic way from structured storage locations. Autodesk really hasn’t addressed the storage, management, and basic tools to do that to date. Civil 3D Intersections at least had Assembly Sets.

Assembly Management?

Yes. You can still employ fake/dummy Intersections to load Assembly Sets. Let’s face it - that is sort of crazy. Assembly Sets are neither easy or fun to build in the first place. It does work.

Even a simple XML, CSV, or JSON based tool to load Assembly drawings or drawings with collections of Assemblies from a Toolspace Right click menu would be really handy. If you think so too - Please, tell Autodesk.

Needless to say, the employment of more custom Subassembly Composer PKT files in Assemblies requires that you do have to mind more carefully the p’s and q’s of those resource locations more carefully.

Most people probably employ the INSERT/EXPLODE trick to load drawings full of prebuilt Assemblies into project drawings. Don’t you? No matter what you do you have a lots of manual selections to exchange Assemblies in the Multiple Dynamic Baseline Corridor Regions.

As usual Civil 3D users are left to manage their own Assemblies messes. Or is that a mess of Assemblies? Both sounds a lot like a leftist/anarchist protest march to me. In my opinion, the pat Autodesk “build a Tool Palette” answer doesn’t cut it. Saw that coming. We’re ahead of that, I hope.

The Upcoming Framework For Civil 3D 2018 to the Rescue

We already published some new proposed Civil 3D naming conventions for Assemblies and Assembly managed resources in some detail. If you are interested or want to contribute ideas you can Register, login in to review those in the Framework Spreadsheet Tools pages of our Members section.

Maybe you missed our Survey Query Tools, Symbol Exchange Tool, and other AddOns for the Framework for Civil 3D. All those work in multiple releases of Civil 3D. All of them save our customers that use them man-hours.

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