The State of the Layer Manager in Civil 3D

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The Layer Manager Tool Palette Tool is the most wasteful tool in Civil 3D. The Layer Manager is useful and powerful tool because of what the tool does – Control the many dynamic properties of Layers in AutoCAD-based apps.

The impact of the AutoCAD Layer within the scope of CAD software history is pretty interesting. The named Layer instead of the numbered Level is certainly a big reason there is an Autodesk today.

After all these many years of AutoCAD improvements, the Layer Manager still remains particularly wasteful. More user production man-hours are wasted inside the LA messing around than by all the rest of the code combined.

Most of the CAD Managers that I’ve had this discussion with over a good number of years agree. The Layer Manager is a CAD Standards blessing and often the bane of that very pursuit at the same time.

The Big Question About LA

The question isn’t whether LA will fall into the Pacific after the next Big One. By the way, there’s even a new app for that thanks to all California tax payers. If you live in LA and download the app, maybe you get a few seconds warning before the under-maintained infrastructure collapses around you. This sort of related to the question…

Why do users spend so many wasted hours in the Layer Manager?

It is a human thing. We make them.

Regular Layer Manager use promotes the illusion that it is humanly possible to control the many dynamic properties of a complex production layer system and produce repeatable consistent results.

You can do it. Most people manage to. This speaks to the incredible ability of people to find ways to work around overwhelming problems to get work done. Do you count the cost? Nah. We believe it is like death, taxes, and Autodesk releases.

Frankly, when you manually use the LA, you give up the best thing about ACAD layers…

Layers Can Do the Amazing in a Flash

If you want to go quick like the superhero the Flash, you’d better know where you are going or SPLAT. You run into a wall. Our users spend a lot of time crashing into walls in our Layer schemes.

Many managers don’t create better maps for the users to follow. The managers know where they are going. They design the roads. Like the freeway map of LA everyone else will catch on sooner or later. If you are new in town, you just have to figure things out. I’ve done this to people and people have done the same to me.

What happens if metaphorically the company must move to Dallas because of the Big One? Everyone has a new street map to learn.

The States of Less Hassle Win

It is true. No matter what we do, users are often an unruly bunch. They will do what is right in their own eyes. However, most people will follow the path of least resistance if one is available. People act like water. Some folks act like wastewater.

Dude. When you push this button the drawing will be ready to plot.

Yeah, I know. We actually need more than one magic button. The buttons must adapt to changing project circumstances too. This is exactly the point.

What if a miraculous magic map maker and editor tool was already in there somewhere?

The Layer States tool has been inside AutoCAD pretty much forever from our perspective. To make Layer States work effectively you must plan for where you want to go and how to get there. If you don’t use the LM tool, you work too hard.

If you work too hard, you don’t know that you do.

Inside Civil 3D you should be able to work for a week switching to the appropriate Styles and never visit LA. Traffic? Who likes traffic jams?
Get the Framework for Civil 3D 2019.2 Release 8. You could do project work in Amarillo TX, Tacoma WA, or Boynton Beach FL and never worry about the properties of a Layer.

Speaking of Water…


I had to bring up Boynton Beach FL because, Wayne Carrels, a City worker there once set a speed record for waterskiing on his bare hands for 3000’ for a minute and twenty seconds at 36 mph.
That will clean your sinuses. Talk about Marine push-ups?
 Read the fluffy news piece here.
Back in the day before Layers, I once drove super high-performance power boats for people who did this sort of ski-less stuff to set 100+ mph world speed records. We even visited LA. But that’s another story you don’t want to tell your mother when she asks, “What did you all do last weekend?”

Release the Speed Beyond the Code
Get the New Framework for Civil 3D Release 8


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