Civil 3D Alignment Reference Group Labels

Tags alignment, group labels, reference labels, annotation, corridor, surface, Label Style, profile, offset profile

Suppose you want to label flow lines in your roadway plan, ditch center-line elevations, or the top or bottom of a bank. Conceptually, suppose you want to evaluate grades across an existing site to figure out how to terrace the latest parking lot surface beast. The simple answer: Create an Alignment; Apply a Label Set; Grab the labels; Point the Label References built into a Civil 3D Label Style to a surface.

Did I mention that Label Style may contain Label References to multiple surfaces? Good God, man! You use spot elevation surface labels? Are you mad? What if the surface disappears? This never happened to you? Remember the last time that your cubie brother Bob hit the delete key to get rid of your invisible DREF surface in a drawing… Noooooo.

Manually tweaked Labels can become a painful mess in Civil 3D.

Better Feedback - Better Design

Yes. You can switch the Label Reference from surface to surface as your design develops. Heck yeah. Did I mention earlier references to multiple surfaces? Faster dirty design profiles too. Let’s get linear. They work with Offset Alignments and Widenings. Do they work with those new slope-controlled Offset Profiles? They work with the Alignment output tool from Corridor models.

Somewhere a Civil 3D user asks,
“What could we do with a reference corridor in AutoCAD Civil 3D?”

Now you know part of the answer.

So in addition to your Design Control Manager Alignments, now you have collections of Annotative Alignments in your projects. What? You didn’t have these before? How many types of Alignments are there? Sorry to digress. Those relationships might momentarily confuse matters.

Better Management Matters – Better Results Matter

You know one mission critical reason why Autodesk added Data Reference folder capabilities to data referenced Features way back in Civil 3D 2017. The Civil 3D Castle of Chaos built by Autodesk and assembled by you must be proactively managed.

Visit the Civil 3D Data Shortcut Project Folders post and video to see how get your head around that Civil 3D project management task for Project Data Shortcut folders. Sounds important.

Meanwhile it might help to see exactly what we are talking about…

Alignment Group Labels with Reference

A Reference Group Label style can be Object-related and/or even View-based for Plan and Profile publication. Then there’s another not-so-obvious thing about those anchors in Civil 3D Label Styles. The anchors in Label Styles can be a form of constraint. This can be removed. I’ve said before that the geometric structure of Label Style components is never something to take lightly. Become a Member. Please visit the Civil 3D Labels section of our help.

It’s a Matter of Style and LSD

A Reference Group Label does require the appropriate Group Label Styles with the suitable Reference components. Before we go off half-cocked and make Style management nightmares for ourselves, we must remember the effect of LSD (Label Style Defaults) on our Label Styles.

We want to manage Label component heights (and maybe other properties) by Group Label type. That way I’m not bashing away at a bunch of parents and their managed hordes of children.
It’s the sad part of the Civil 3D the facts of life.
There are still too many kinds of Label Styles without parent-level Label Style Defaults.

In general most people for publication want the default Major Station Labels to be bigger. Maybe the thoughtful use of Minor Station Labels works better in your annotation height management plan? This only requires the trick of employing NoPlot Major Stations at huge increments to make the Minor Station labels work well.
Say what? Ok. It’s not exactly obvious unless you think about it and then do it. Watch the video.

To Do the Do Makes Us Better – or Not

Most people also want a few Horizontal Geometry Point Label Styles with Reference Surface components which are handy for flowline in curb returns in combination with the Reference Group Label incrementals on Minor Stations. Can you say Flowline annotative heaven?

Sadly, Civil 3D Label Styles with References still tend to occasionally suffer from Upgrade and new Release upgrade issues. Such Styles that are not in use, can lose their Reference Surface or Reference Profile component property. This appears to be the result of an errant Civil 3D error checking bug. The component content may get reduced to a default "Label Text" value. This speaks to our need for QAQC checked and backup Style collections like those found in the Framework for Civil 3D.

Plan More to the Point

You can go the Alignment Based Point Group route for corridor publication too. See the Deliverables video course for the key method and practice of the workflow.

More about the design applications of that workflow in a new post and video real soon now. There’s a few important points to that. Eh eh. That annotation may be stationed to the design alignment or not.
 I prefer combinations of Point Labels and Alignment Group Reference Labels as that together can reduce your production publication man-hours and annotation maintenance tasks.

“Do your Civil 3D Resources, Styles and Templates do that?”

You do have a plan and a regular publication workflow process for deliverables? You are working on your Intelligent Publish On Demand. Your IPOD gets better?

Me? I just want to continue to whine that we shouldn’t have to extract other extra Civil 3D Features from a corridor model to annotate a complex Corridor design. Dumb. We can fix that.

Autodesk please note…All linear Features in Civil 3D should support Group Labels.

Good Style Makes All the Difference
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