Civil 3D and Adaptive Standards Interoperability

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The Autodesk Civil programming group and others spent a good part of the last programming year working on the improved interoperability between Autodesk and ESRI applications. They also invested in their own internal software interop challenges in be it in Civil 3D, Map 3D, Infraworks, BIM 360, and some Extensions and Addons. If we do the work to make the code work in the daily grind for our clients, we all stand to benefit from this effort

Out here in Civil 3D Land, we recognize that Operations Engineering is the mainstay and/or core business for a great deal of survey and civil engineering work. Infrastructure operations engineering, management, and maintenance feeds a lot of folk.

Autodesk Connector for ArcGIS Online

The recent Civil 3D and Infraworks Interoperability and Civil 3D and ArcInfo Online Interoperability posts state some first peeks at what needs to be said. The Connector is now a product all by itself. It includes practical and useful tools that can be employed in a typical civil or survey project and within the contexts of civil engineering maintenance contracts and those vital public private relationships. I am not sorry to repeat this…

“The best GIS data is built and maintained commercially for viable economic reasons.”

Many commercial civil engineering firms are the public works departments for small towns and lots of pseudo/quasi departments and/or public agencies. Many long time Framework for Civil 3D customers live and work in this space. Indeed, many customers are those public agencies themselves and their commercial partners. They have great reasons to do that.

A large part of the adoption of the Framework for Civil 3D and the many improvements over the years has been driven by the input and demands of these same customers. Thanks to all who whined and pitched in over the years.

“Engineers and Surveyors need to do engineering, not customize software"

Adaptive Standards Interoperability

Everyone in Civil 3D Land faces real world interop challenges. Software vendor collaborations, instead of outright internecine warfare, help us all. However, a wave of interop tool hype and canned demos can disguise some of our more practical concerns.

The operational and standards details of a practical working form of iPOD (Intelligent Publish On Demand) can be both overwhelming and time consuming. The previous posts mentioned above and the linked related posts in them provide some practical steps you can do in Civil 3D and your Civil 3D projects to reduce the issues. Put another way – invest in your projects not Civil 3D silliness.

Civil 3D Style Makes Adaptive Standards Interop Possible

One of the best things about Civil 3D is the flexibility of a Style-based software.
When I say that I know some folks say or think,

“Yeah, right. That will be the day.”

The worst things about Civil 3D are unmanaged namespaces, sloppy data behind care and feeding, and inconsistent collections of Styles and resources. Sadly, this is the Civil 3D Land that many people struggle to work in today. One standard that doesn’t work is bad enough.

If I talk about multiple standards support, these people run screaming for the doors. It’s like selling a machine gun to a knight in shining armor. I don’t want to trigger anyone. I get it.

Given that we systematically manage, the namespaces, the Civil 3D data behind, and the Style collections and resources we employ, Civil 3D is remarkably robust, consistent, and adaptive to standards changes.


The Framework for Civil 3D somehow demonstrably manages to pull this off in multiple releases of Civil 3D, in multiple versions of published national standards (with variants), and in both STB and CTB publishing environments.

Layer Standards Updates

We are about to release and new updated set of Framework for Civil 3D Layer Standards for the NCS (in both NCS 5 and NCS 6) that include support for the DOD, GSA, and AIA standards too.
In practice, you can run your production environment in any Layer Standard you choose and iPOD (Intelligent Publish On Demand) deliver work in any of the others.

The Framework for Civil 3D supports this functionality out of the box. You do have to learn how to manage the process to make it happen and then do the do.

An Affordable Managed System for Civil 3D

The Framework for Civil 3D supplies the Managed System and the support tools and resources to pull this off in all the detail the real-world demands.

Civil engineers work in project timelines that may span years and in a software environment that can change a couple of times a year.
No client’s project or operational client is the same.
One more new special customization is a short-term solution with a nasty back side.

We get that.
We need Adaptive Standards support in Civil 3D and the requisite Resources Management to make the details more flexible with less maintenance and upkeep tedium required on our part.

This affordable productivity metric coupled with Adaptive Standards Interoperability is what separates the Framework for Civil 3D from the rest of the marketplace.

Stay with me now while we lock and load the right-sized clip…

Adaptive Building Blocks

The Framework for Civil 3D includes basically drag and drop Layer Standards and integrated Civil 3D Styles library support for Adaptive Building Blocks. These include Parcel (area’s support), Alignment, Profile, and Feature Lines details. Profile Views and Section Views Style libraries are separate since you may not need these all the time.

Here’s the Adaptive Building Blocks and Layer Systems current list.

  • APRN -     Apron
  • BANK -     Bank
  • BASN -     Basin
  • BASN-BENC -     Basin with Benches
  • BECH -     Beach
  • BENC -     Bench
  • BERM -     Berm
  • BRDG -     Bridge
  • BWTR -     Breakwater
  • CANL -     Canal
  • CHAN -     Channel
  • CHNL -     Drainage Channel
  • DAME -     Earth Dam
  • DIKE -     Dike
  • DIVR -     Diversion Channel
  • DRAN -     Drainage
  • DRED -     Dredge
  • DTCH -     Ditch
  • DTCI -     Irrigation Ditch
  • EMBK -     Embankment
  • FLHA -     Flood Hazard
  • FLOD -     Floodwall
  • HELI -     Heliport
  • JETY -     Jetty
  • LEVE -     Levee
  • OVRN -     Overrun
  • PADS -     Pads
  • POND -     Pond
  • POND-BENC -     Pond with Benching
  • RAMP -     Ramp
  • RIVR -     River
  • RRAP -     Riprap
  • RUNW -     Runway
  • STRC -     Structure
  • SWAY -     Spillway
  • TAXI -     Taxiway
  • TERC -     Terrace
  • UTSD-BASN -     Storm Basin
  • UTSD-POND -     Storm Pond
  • WEIR -     Weir
  • WETL -     Wetlands
  • WHRF -     Wharf

You have a project with a Levee repair, Airport taxiway improvement, Refinery tank storage, or what have you. The Release 8 Framework already includes the resources to add the integrated resources in both classic template and Reference Template (TREF) project resources. Of course, you can add any Adaptive Building Block(s) resources to individual project drawings.

This current Adaptive Building Block list doesn’t count the already substantial Framework systems resources that are available for all forms of utilities infrastructure, land and properties systems, grading design, roadway systems, roadway rehab, and linear and non-linear corridor design systems. We supply these in the Framework for Civil 3D resources in nice manageable resource bites.

When people ask…the simple answers is,

“It’s in there.”

We Work to Make Civil 3D Work for You
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Civil Updates and Interoperability Posts

Most posts include videos.

How To Be Ready When Civil 3D Changes

  • Proactive and practical steps to take to make Civil 3D Upgrades and Updates easier

Bent Reference Templates in Civil 3D

  • Take care about new Civil 3D 2020.1 Reference Template behaviors - TREF Settings now matter more

Civil 3D Update Features That Work

  • Civil 3D 2020.1+ and Civil 3D 2029.3+ improvements you can employ today

Civil 3D and ArcInfo Online Interoperability

  • The new Autodesk Connector for ArcGIS Online and the interoperability benefits it practically means for projects

Civil 3D and Infraworks Interoperability

  • The potential of the shared data integrity that the Connector for ArcGIS Online provides in both Infraworks and Civil 3D

Civil 3D and Adaptive Standards Interoperability

  • The What, How and Why of Adaptive Standards Interoperability in Civil 3D

Civil 3D and the BIM 360 Interoperability

  • BIM 360 tools improvements and how to learn to use them for both Infraworks and Civil 3D

Civil 3D 2020.2 Shaken not Stirred

  • The new SHP Import/Export Tools and Property Set XML support for even more interoperability

Migrate A Civil 3D Test Project to BIM 360

  • The necessary details to migrate a Civil 3D test project to BIM 360 with the Autodesk Connector