Build a Civil 3D Survey Template

Tags template, Survey Codes, Description Key Set, figure prefix db, point group, point display, AddOn, video, CAD Standards, Autodesk University

Folks who follow this blog and check out or employ the Framework for Civil 3D, quickly recognize that I am a strong advocate for the employment of Survey tools in their Civil 3D production process. No doubt this can be a significant challenge. There are a lot of moving parts and resources to develop in well-built and effective Survey in Civil 3D processes. These days in Civil 3D there are potentially a much wider variety of potential, inputs, outputs, and/or deliverables than we imagine.

How good is your Civil 3D Survey Template?

To plagiarize Marty Feldman’s famous line from Young Frankenstein,
“Hump? What Hump?”

Template? What Template?

Sadly, we are all too often stuck in our old way of doing things. What we did before can be simply an obstacle to more productivity in the present. I know, no one likes to hear that. If we make it work mostly like the things used to be, why change? Money and time…your time.

Someone asked me recently to comment on a presentation done about the Survey Template Construction topic at the most recent Autodesk University 2018. You should invest the time to watch the entire presentation. You probably will learn something significant. I did.

 

Building a Civil 3D Survey Template to Increase Productivity with Automation

The presentation is delivered by Steve Mizsak of CTC and ATG and a client - Barb Piper. The presentation features the CTC Survey template product.

Yes. I did just suggest you watch a 90-minute demo of what many might view as a competitive product to the Framework for Civil 3D. Why?

One is Better Than None

At least one set of Survey Codes; a Figure Prefix Db; a Description Key Set; a Set of integrated Point and Point Label Styles; and basic Point Groups et al are vital to employ Survey in Civil 3D successfully.

The outlined methodology in the class is pretty much what we could do back in the LDT days (if you were an advanced user) and moved the processes over to Civil 3D with knowledge and forethought. There are some good Civil 3D specific nuances and tricks to know and perhaps employ shown in the video.

There are a few things that make me shudder. For example: live dynamic Point Groups in survey deliverable surfaces. To be fair, the class is not about better surface production and publication.

In practical terms, the secret sauce of how all these referenced Survey resources get tied together gets lost in the shuffle. There are a lot of decisions to make. Some of these have significant production consequences as Barb alludes to in the session. The productive solutions and operative resolutions are impossible to cram into an AU class. Been there and done that in the AU past.

The Framework for Civil 3D included all that essential integrated stuff all the way back in the 2010 release of Civil 3D less, of course, the updated current Survey Db code-based stuff. We always have supplied separate Design and Survey templates since the dawn of time in Civil 3D Land.

My recent The Better Survey in Civil 3D post covers many of the current Framework Survey particulars in lots of detail. I won’t repeat and belabor those points here.

The Survey Data and Surface Build Quality Control Tasks are More Nuanced Than Shown

Unquestionably, if you get your act together both in the field and in the shop, you can significantly improve your productivity with Civil 3D Survey tools. That is an incontestable point of the session. As Barb states clearly in the session, you will and should continue to work to improve the details employed in the process.

What if someone already did the work and more? What if you could easily afford it? What if you could tweak all of that to your specific needs? Sounds like a great idea to me. Eheh.

This is a demo example. It nicely avoids way too much of the usual quality control tasks and complexities that happen in real-world production Survey environments. If you only do one or two slightly different specific forms of Survey work, you should be able to achieve the fewer shop time man-hours with this one of everything Survey template approach. Do the do.

Left unsaid, and not shown in the presentation, are the host of common survey data validation and presentation quality control issues. Surveys with lots of detailed structures that are typical in metro and many suburban locations require lots of related figures to check and validate. How might we see the progress of our QAQC data work on a surface? Any surface?

 

Surface Compare in Civil 3D

The is a classic example of how better Style Tools and a Civil 3D project workflow tied to known and systemic progress benchmarks can reduce fear, uncertainty, and doubt (FUD).

The Real World is Demanding

Our Framework customers tend to work in those complex Survey environments often with multiple field crews and larger or more complex data sets. Better automation is important, but certainly not always the only mission critical problem on a shorter critical path to better QAQC’d production survey work.

My point…the automation must enable the Civil 3D users who do the work to produce better iterative work in less time and effort. Faster must be coupled with the better and the more suitable results.

The quality of the surface(s) produced and the end uses for the data and the surface(s) are more complex and detailed in many project scenarios. Downstream design that will often engage multiple infrastructure systems in detail also requires more adaptable survey deliverables. Survey in Civil 3D is great at this with an adaptable production environment in place.

More Robust Choice Produces Both More Opportunity and Less Work

This experience will lots of customers and my exposure to their diverse project work makes me a bit biased towards the necessity to have rich sets of Survey Style Tools including multiple and adaptable Survey Code systems, many Description Key Sets, multiple Figure Dbs, rich Survey Query libraries, and the ability to employ multiple Point Group methodologies. Support for more adaptive CAD Standards allows for more customers and more delivered service sales.

Our fully documented Alignment based Point Groups and the related Corridor Station Points innovative workflows can radically change how you think about and perform deliverable production in Civil 3D.

A Managed System is Key

All of this demand requires more than a single customized Civil 3D for Survey. It requires a practical way to manage a system of solutions matched to the project type and circumstances.

This robust adaptability is what demonstrably separates the Framework for Civil 3D from other solutions in the market place.

If you are a design engineering firm or multi-disciplined AEC firm working with multiple survey contractors and/or a variety of diverse project types, your existing survey condition challenges are amplified yet again. You require solutions that are robust, consistent, and still adaptable at a higher level of nuance.

Release the Productivity Beyond the Code
Get the Framework for Civil 3D Release 8