Civil 3D Project Templates are More

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Each new project we start in Civil 3D is an opportunity that we either capitalize on or we waste the chance to make the new project better. In my experience a lot of really awesome and skilled Civil 3D folks punt like the German World Cup team.  It’s way too easy to be champions who go home early.

We All Do This

We use Civil 3D for a while. We undoubtedly now have a standard process (or workflow) that gets us through the Civil 3D project set up mechanics. The depth and details of the standard process for a project start in Civil 3D is difficult for users. The entire Project structure, Data Shortcuts, Survey Db, Settings, templates, thing can be, and is, intimidating.
Autodesk makes it all so flexible that the sum of the parts becomes confusing.

In an effort to get through all the crap cleanly we all ritualize. This is good news and bad news.

 I’ve seen detailed CAD manuals, spreadsheet checklists, and company YouTube videos on the subject. That’s all great, but then the more comfortable we get with our standard process the more likely we are to fail to identify things we can and need to improve in that ritual project setup.

Do we wait for the CAD Manager to fix it?

Being Human

I consider the identification of issues to improve to be a fundamental staff accountability. Your organization takes that seriously and rewards that good behavior or pulls the classic bad management practice of ignoring the whole thing. The common symptoms of that tend to couple the bad results with finger pointing and blame shifting.

We all know it is easy to complain and more difficult to produce solutions.

That means it is always really about the depth of the problem identification and not the problem.
Nebulous complaints are usually meaningless accusations.

Let’s get Civil 3D practical.

Civil 3D Project Templates are More

Civil 3D ships with a Civil 3D Project Template which most of us simply ignore. Because the supplied examples are next to useless should not dissuade us from seeking and seeing the true value of this template.

In the Framework for Civil 3D the UDS (Uniform Drawing Standard) compliant Civil 3D Project Template structure recognizes that you have a Model from which you will publish you work. Within the Model there are common tasks which have to be performed.

  • These structures are notably Feature centric.
    This remains true even if together those Features produce a more classic published basemap.
  • There are direct References (both XREF and DREF) that may change.
  • There are indirect References like Existing Conditions that change much less, require restricted access to changes, and/or don't get published at all and yet remain important to the project.

What you name to the folders and the drawing containers is up to you. You must have a plan. A Project Template only helps you and those around you to consistently execute that plan.

There's More to a Project than That

The Civil 3D Project Template is potentially than more than a basic project folder setup. This is true even if your primary method of implementation at project start is a copied project performed in Windows Explorer.

In a Civil 3D Project Template, you can do the setup work for future Model construction with simple placeholder Features and the drawings that hold them before you start the real work. As you work you just replace parts in a standardized project Model. This will improve the use of your Feature naming conventions. Yes. You need them.

A Civil 3D Project Template certainly beats redoing and retooling the structure and all the necessary details every time.

  • To save download space the Framework’s Civil 3D Project Template does not include drawing files with pre-built placeholders.
    Your personalized Project Template probably should.
  • How much of your standard published Sheet Set deliverables you put in there is something to continuously work on too.

Civil 3D's Feature data-driven model and Style driven presentation and annotation is a huge productivity advantage. The thousands of Styles in Jump Kit or even in Templates Only make that clear. The Framework’s working or model Templates and their Styles help you immediately take advantage of that.

Yes. You still have to decide the smaller set of Styles that your publishing templates must contain.

Your standard Project Templates and Sheet Sets should be developed and maintained to take full advantage of that stuff. We all have different kinds of work and different kinds of deliverables.

We supply a working Project example with our products. We are not simply showing off some Style and Set tools. We supply it because many people may initially require a functional example of a working project structure too. We all need a sandbox to test our understanding.

Understanding how the many parts in Civil 3D all work together matters.

Every project you work on should help make your Civil 3D Project Template(s) get better. It is easy to miss this basic fact that Civil 3D enables you to make both systematic and incremental productivity gains this way.

The miracle only happens and works if you plan and do it.

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