BESTWay Figures in Civil 3D

Tags not keys, points, figure, figure prefix db, standard keys, Description Key Set, Description Key, codes


We talked Civil 3D gone wild recently. We explored our ability to improve our daily productivity by the use of repetitive patterns and the logical NOT tool in our Survey Codes, Description Keys, and Point Group definitions in the post NOT Keys in Civil 3D.

The practical realities of Not Key patterns and the principals of the 80 20 Rule quickly manifest themselves into real world results. They help us reduce to our man-hour costs in the shop and in field at the same time.

Can your Civil 3D Templates and Civil 3D Styles do that?

That’s a nifty trick that you can get right out of the box in the Framework for Civil 3D. The fact that we supply powerful Spreadsheet Tools to help you tweak and customize the entire Civil 3D system delivers a lot of bang for the buck.

More than one Framework customer comments,

“I find issues in Civil 3D. Then I discover your product’s already solved them.”

Basic Pattern Matches in Chaos

Can we apply the NOT Key concepts to Civil 3D Figures? Certainly.

In the Match Point in Civil 3D post we learned AutoCAD Civil 3D still employs very basic text string pattern matching technology for Description Keys, Point Groups, and indeed Figures.

We formally rolled out BESTW Keys all the way back in Release 5 as a way to help reduce field time and improve Survey functionality.
We’ve improved things a lot since then, Continuous improvement is what we do.

What does BESTWay do?

It allows you to employ a simple method to gather or create the data for ANY linear feature without having to memorize a complex coding system.  

The BESTW pattern employs the Not Key concept and pattern matching method. We combine a classic NCS Minor Key with our now familiar NOT list to keep it super simple and replaceable.

Everyone gets:

“B” is for Bottom
“E” is for Edge 
“S” is for Surface
“T” is for Top 
“W” is for Wall

A typical set of Framework BESTW Description Keys looks like this for a Weir:

Key

Basic Description

WEIR[~ B,E,S,T,W]#

WEIR

WEIRB#

BOTTOM OF WEIR

WEIRE#

EDGE OF WEIR

WEIRS

SURFACE - WEIR

WEIRT#

TOP OF WEIR

WEIRW#

WALL - WEIR BASE

WEIRWT#

WALL - WEIR TOP

 

These Keys create points but the Keys with # numeric wildcards also create matched named Figures.

  • Here we employ an NCS (National CAD Standard) Standard Keys based optional 4 character Key of “WEIR”.
    No one said the Standard Keys can’t be shorter - Certainly not me. However, the NCS Minor Keys tend to make it easier to keep the variations straight and easy to replace.
  • Codes that include the single # number matching allow us to generate single-digit based left and rights and the resultant identified Civil 3D Figure features.
    Obviously, we’d use double ## for double-digit left and right codes.
  • As is typical in Civil 3D, the ORDER of the codes does make a difference because of the find first rule built into Description Keys and Figure Prefix Db linework processing.

The result of the BESTWay method can be a simple SITE structure like a top and bottom of BANK or a very complex multiple figure ROAD or LEVE structure that may include slope breaks and even intermittent vertical WALLs, CURBs, or whatever.

Bestway Design Too

We are talking about linear objects or linear Civil 3D Features. These key concepts can be applied to many Civil 3D design tools as well. Alignments and Feature Lines certainly come to mind.
The Release 7 version of the Framework includes built-in collections of Style tool resources that work around the same basic Key ideas and name principals.
Drop in or Reference template in your LEVE design Civil 3D Style tools all at once in a package.
Who knew?

Some Framework customers swear by the STRC BESTWay pattern. They use STRC most the time and just field note comment the actual Key type at the Begin and End Figure shots.

Find and replace is a wonderful thing.

Get the Better Magic Beyond the Code

The Keys and Format Tools in Civil 3D