That Civil 3D Thing Is the Data

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Too often our AutoCAD tool user perspective tends to get in the way of productive work. Let’s put the issue in frank terms. People think we use AutoCAD to draw pictures. Well, don’t we? But AutoCAD employs data to create pictures. This is something entirely different. Civil 3D employs an even more structured form of data than raw AutoCAD. I like to call this…

The Civil 3D Data Behind

That allows me to use the catch phrase mnemonic in training - Who’s behind are you watching?

The Data Behind allows Civil 3D users to create representative, interactive civil engineering models. I contend the model building skill is one thing and the publishing skill set something different. Yes. There are working Civil 3D templates and styles and there are publishing templates and styles. The Civil 3D model-based paradigm deviates and diverges further from the same old picture we all tend to believe and invest in.

This recent video from Jeff Bartels of Autodesk about Infraworks to Civil 3D surface model imports is worth a quick peek for more than a couple of reasons.

Import an Infraworks Surface Model into Civil 3D

That’s a neat trick. Maybe you missed the key fact that the entire local Infraworks model is a SQL database file. My personal Infraworks project models seem to have lots of dwgs in them. Scary.
Infraworks is impressive at data display.
Still… you cannot publish a plan set…Yet.

This brings me back to my central point that our prior expertise/skill can become a crutch. When the published result from Civil 3D isn’t what we expect, the AutoCAD tool user in us wants to take over. We pull all our old AutoCAD tips and tricks out of our hats like rabbits.
The most famous Civil 3D example that I hear a lot:

“When in doubt explode it.”

Is the Process to Get to the Result Downright Ugly?

When you come up with a non-repeatable or inconsistent workflow solution, it is a dead giveaway you didn’t see or know something important about Civil 3D.
If it’s that ugly, the odds are you brought an AutoCAD sword to a Civil 3D gunfight so to speak. It is more likely that you used a bigger hammer when the proper Civil 3D tool could have accomplished more.

Sadly, if you are a Civil 3D expert this can be just as true as it can be for the novice user. I must remind myself of this all the time. We all get to eat crow, hold our nose, and choke down what we cook up.

Speaking of Civil 3D exports and data manipulation skill, did you know we publish a…

Civil 3D Export Cheat Sheet

You can Register and become a Member here to see the entire section in Documentation and Help. Here are a few links from the Civil 3D Export Cheat Sheet to wet your whistle.

Export from Civil 3D Cheat Sheet Posts

Advanced Civil 3D Publication

  • Why Intelligent Publish on Demand is both Mission Critical Skill and Procees

Performance Amnesia and Invisible Civil 3D

  • Prepartion for Publication and/or Export often requires we systematically manage the invisible data behind

Export Civil 3D to DWG and DGN

  • Detailed overview of the two forms of Export from Civil 3D challenges, requirements, and processes.

Civil 3D Works Like Water

  • Why and How Style and Set standards and Layers States work together and must be in phase.

Faster Civil 3D Standards with UL

  • A brief but important review of DWF publication tools and useage.

Export from Civil 3D Cleanup Arts

  • Detailed review of the Export from Civil 3D AutoCAD Clean-up tools, mechanics, and methods

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