New Civil 3D Keys to Limitless Site Design

Tags grading, site design, AU 2018, corridors, feature line, surface, video, Civil 3D 2018, Civil 3D 2019

Civil 3D Corridors become ever more useful for Site Design tasks. If we insist that our old school CAD perceptions of the civil engineering design issues and workflows are correct, in effect, we believe that our old AutoCAD habits and skills are more important than any new Civil 3D skills and the ever-increasing capabilities of Civil 3D itself. This is us being human. This is just silly.

We Don’t Know What We Don’t Know

In the last post we focused on the improved dynamic design capabilities of Civil 3D Corridors coupled with Feature Lines that became incrementally more practical in the last few of releases of Civil 3D. How we employ these new software design capabilities into new project-based workflows based on the Civil 3D Data Behind radically changes the game. We even reviewed how our old methods of annotating our Site design models can receive can get major adjustments for the better. Read the post. There are links to videos in there.

Some Believe - Some Don’t

Still don’t believe the grading game has fundamentally changed? Some insist that seeing is believing.

If you do site design, there’s a recent Autodesk University 2018 Civil 3D grading session you should take the time to watch from beginning to end. Watch real site design pros tackle site design problems with Corridors from Feature Lines.

 

Civil 3D Caffeinated Grading

You can employ the link above to get to the AU session Handout and other particulars. Thanks to John Armendariz, David Garrigues, and Autodesk’s Tim Yarris for session. After a discussion of some common grading issues the actual new workflow walk-through and demo starts at about 12:30.

There are more than a few important production usage and How to tips buried away in this presentation. Pause and rewind can be your friends.

The use of “Mold” or Intermediate Surfaces in the demonstrated site design workflow might initially appear to be somewhat old hat to some long-time Civil 3D users. Pay careful attention. How the Surface data behind from Feature Lines in that surface is employed in the entire workflow is the more powerful point. With Civil 3D Corridors these days it is all about the managed nuance and the systematic detail.

There are a couple of upcoming Civil 3D futures discussed in the video too. However, everything shown in there you can do and employ today.

Left unsaid but definitely shown in the session is the need for better production Civil 3D Style Tools. Maybe you noticed how often the presenter is clicking tools to make things visible and understandable. We all know all about that in Civil 3D.

Site Design Identity Crisis

We face a form of identity crisis - a visual quandary of meaning, “What the hell is that?”
To put it bluntly - How do we differentiate and identify my back of curb from my flowline. How do I identify my bank and from my levee when everything is a corridor?

We must cope with representative Models. Models are about Systems, Structures, and Parts. All of these are collections by definition. These Systems, Structures, and Parts do relate to layer systems only because Civil 3D Styles reference layers to represent the Data Behind. See this link to an in-depth post series on Layer Standards in Civil 3D.

The Framework for Civil 3D supports open lists of Civilized Keys for multiple versions of the National CAD Standards. The new Open list includes civil engineering and survey Keys and these days the other AIA Disciplines as well. The list is fully documented.

The New State of Mind that Matters

In Civil 3D we employ Style to manage what we see at the moment. The last thing we should have to worry about is what layer it ends up on. However, we all must agree some form of integrated system of meaning is important to our daily work. This is a real world and a most serious Style problem.

The Framework for Civil 3D provides to every Civil 3D using organization the ability to manage the intimate property details of that visual meaning and identification via the accepted industry-standard methodology - a standard Language of Keys.

I acknowledge that this new liberty of property independence and the capacity for adaptive standards for Civil 3D takes a while to get your head around. Yes folks. The Keys really are the keys.

The Style Tools Don’t Care. You Do.

Your POND in my BASN. Your BANK is my EMBK. Your DTCH is my DIVR. From a design control and data management and design perspective these different sitework structures are actually remarkably similar. As Systems they have similar Structures and varied but also similar Parts from a Style point of view.

Back in the day, we initially introduced Alignment, Profile, Parcel, and Feature Line Styles (some purely annotative) that reflected these site design user needs. In Release 7 you’ll find them in the Jump Kit Library resource drawings with the SITE suffix names. For a number of Civil 3D releases customers have successfully employed these Style Tools to produce and annotate well-managed Sitework Corridors. People requested better and more detailed Feature Line and Parcel Style support.

Predictable and Consistent Site Design Style Tools

In Layer Standards speak if our site structure is a Major Key like BERM, then there are another predictable collection of Standard coupled Minor Keys. The NCS 6 actually formalizes and recognizes the need for these standard Major and Minor Key couplets.

In Release 7, we supplied new By Key Style collections that included matched Alignment, Profile, and Feature Line Styles for many of the Major Keys for site earthworks. These made the construction of complex Sitework Corridors a lot easier to manage in daily production work. You can consistently identify what you are getting and better manage the results by style.

The Best Civil 3D Style Library Gets Better

The Release 8 Jump Kit Style library will include additional matched sets of Alignment, Profile, Parcel, and Feature Line Styles for a huge list of NCS 6 Major Keys with all their coupled Minor resources.

All the new Style key-based resources include fully-integrated Layer Standards and supplied, specialty Layer States based on easy those easy to understand Keys. That means you instantly get both better Styles and built-in Layer Tools that are even easier to tweak as you see fit.

All the previously supplied Release 7 By Key Style collection resources were rebuilt from scratch and upgraded in Release 8 with more additional integrated and consistent Style and Layer State Tools.

Play Connect the Dots by Keys

Your site structures of choice should be a simple matter of design Key preference. The ability to use them in your projects should be easier as well.

How you decide get to these powerful Style Tools is up to you: Drag and drop by Style; use the Style Import tool; Insert them by drawing (insert|exploded); and/or employ them in your task-based Reference Templates.

You should be able to design and build your Civil 3D project models generically from these key-based, consistent building blocks. These key-based building blocks must support all the design phases and the quality control processes you need to get the work done.  You should be able to publish the same key-based building blocks specifically on-demand to any CAD Standard.

Now maybe all this site design chatter makes more sense?

Can Your Civil 3D Templates and Style Do That?
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