One day at an Autodesk University lunch table someone from Autodesk sat down with me to interview me about the Framework for Civil 3D. Who that person is doesn’t particularly matter. He isn’t specifically a Civil 3D expert but he is a Civil 3D user. He is someone now in a customer facing position often charged with presenting Civil 3D and the other Autodesk civil applications in public venues or in meetings with larger clients. His job was to explain Civil 3D to people who never use the software themselves, but who often make the decisions whether to employ Civil 3D or not.
The Case for the Framework
The man honestly wanted to try and get his head around what the Framework for Civil 3D is and understand how it might help Autodesk customers. He asked a seemingly innocuous but interesting question:
“How many Styles should there be in a Civil 3D template?
Specifically, what do you think is the minimum count of Civil 3D Styles in an effective Civil 3D Template?”
People love to have quantifiable bullet points. My response which really isn’t as flippant as it sounds was:
“As many as you need.
Seriously, Autodesk assumes there is and most of the time seems to advocate for the idea of a single Civil 3D template. You used the word – effective. Instead I think in terms of suitable.
The one template myth is based on our long-time experience with old school CAD and software like Land Desktop and all the rest. That’s a world where the drawing we work on is what we print. Civil 3D doesn’t really work that way. Civil 3D is model-based and Style managed.
The idea of one Civil 3D template makes people comfortable, but ignores the real-world production issues and the Style-based and model-based mechanics of how Civil 3D is built to work.
Hmmm? As to the numbers you asked about…
You probably need about 500 Styles to publish all the things Civil 3D does now in a publishing template. However, we need to recognize that hardly anyone uses everything that Civil 3D does in a single project.
Our current InstantOn working or production templates ship with about 3000 Styles.
We supply multiple different versions of these.
No one needs all of the Styles in them, but everyone needs more quality control and visualization Styles than they think or expect initially.
People even need Civil 3D templates with no Styles in them.
We supply those too.”
Don’t Stop Thinking About Tomorrow
The Framework for Civil 3D is all about not having to stop working on the task at hand to make silly Civil 3D Styles to understand the data behind the problem you are dealing with.
The Framework is there to help people make better design and analytical decisions in less time.
Great Civil 3D Style tools actually make the software easier and faster to both learn and employ.
Jump Kit and the Symbol Set (think Point and other infrastructure System Styles) include additional thousands of Styles in managed libraries. It’s not overkill. These in-depth and in-detail libraries allow civil engineering and survey organizations additional robust, adaptive, and flexible access to many different task-based Style resources when the demand for those resources is useful or required.
The Framework products support multiple releases of Civil 3D for a related reason. We guarantee the products upgrade from one Civil 3D release to another.
User productivity should not constrained by a new Civil 3D release. Productivity should be easily improved by one. Our customers are not forced to spend maintenance and operational man-hours and other resources to enjoy the benefits of a new Civil 3D release.
On-going project upgrades should not only be possible - they should be practical.
The Civil 3D Style resources supplied in the Framework for Civil 3D also easily adapt to the preferences and diverse jurisdictional requirements. These are an all too real challenge in civil engineering and survey projects. The Framework’s capacity to do that seemingly impossible task is unmatched in the marketplace.
The Framework includes a rich set of Spreadsheet Tools coupled to a managed system of backend resources. If you want to change the graphic specifics of a few symbols or even the entire Layer system, you don’t have to reinvent the wheel or stop production on in-progress work to make the necessary changes.
The Framework supplies the tools and resources for all of the parts. The tools and resources also improve on a regular basis. These AddOn tools and resources improve independent of the Civil 3D releases as well. Many are made available to customers in multiple older releases for free.
This robust and managed adaptability allows Framework customers to serve more clients and more diverse clients with less operational and organizational expense. Framework customers can literally work the same and publish on demand.
It’s in There
That might be the more important answer to the unasked question other than perhaps the obvious fact that the Framework for Civil 3D really is affordable.