A New AEC Partner - What to do First

Tags CAD Standards, AutoCAD, QAQC, template, Reference Template, TREF, XREF, IREF, customization, Civil 3D

Winter is the season when many in Civil 3D Land tend to deploy new releases of software. Autodesk usually drops an end of year bunch of product Updates. Folks also tend to acquire new AEC partners. Hoorah!

It is a cyclical thing…Maybe an Advent of Spring thing. The partners are companies and organizations that we will have to: collaborate with; work with on new projects; and basically, learn how to live with. Dooh!

Project Interoperability Matters

The partner sends you a pile of stuff via Box, Dropbox, One Drive, S3 et al usually via links in emails. These days the stuff might be in other new more managed cloud spaces like BIM 360 Docs or, if you work in the Operations Engineering space, even ESRI ArcGIS Online. One day soon it will happen.

2020 ‘Tis the Year of the Connector

One day or another, we get messy new roommates. You know - the entire My world, Your world thing. The human fight or flight reflex tends to make work. It always costs more than we like. Some of those executive, legislative, and judicial juicy conflicts I recently addressed in the various parts of The Arts of the Separation of Powers in Civil 3D post.

I do Adaptive Standards development work for the Framework for Civil 3D and customers who employ the products and sometimes not. For a bunch of reasons, that are hopefully evident, I am privileged to see a lot of different drawings and resources from a lot of folks.

“Need Input. More Input”

Catch the reference to Short Circuit? Someone made a great YouTube short.

Honestly, if I don’t get a regular fix, I start withdrawals. Good news…bad news. Decades of practice and experience provides me a pretty evolved state of professional Blink. What is clear to me from a couple of example drawings tends to astound.

This blog represents my vain attempt to provide to the many with some of that Blink with a lessoned reduction of the trials, pains, and sufferings required.

What I do First

Do not open their drawings. Huh?

Separation of Powers principals apply from the beginning. Wall them off somewhere safe and unrelated to everything you own or have installed. Like the advent of the Venetian Black Death, the problem is not the silk and spices on the ship. It’s about the rats in the hold…maybe.

Just the names of the drawings and the resources in them or not will tell you a bunch about what you have to deal with. But we have to look and examine closely.
How do you get a report about that without opening the drawing(s)?

The AutoCAD Reference Manager to the Rescue

This little beauty is supplied with every install of any AutoCAD based product.
Read the AutoCAD Did You Know About the AutoCAD Reference Manager help page.
Most of you skilled CAD Managers out there in Civil 3D Land have stumbled on the tool for one reason or another. Who never had to move a project with a raft of XREFs?

Technically, the headless AutoCAD Reference Manager tool will open the drawing(s), but without the entire AutoCAD interface and environment. The Reference Manager is AutoCAD release specific. Sort of like the Civil 3D Batch Save Utility, but without a release selection choice. Autodesk should fix that.

The AdRefMan tool can and will upgrade the drawings if you make and save changes in the tool. Don’t.

We want the Excel-based Report (.xls) that the AdRefMan tool will produce for any and all drawings that have been dumped on you. The resource details matter.

In most cases, you will also be able to put out a complete filtered request for every resource that they employ and included in the drawings that you do not have on hand.
Less pain and something to gain.

Yes, the AutoCAD Reference Manager will report on all XREFs, IREFs, and core AutoCAD resources
As I recall it still ignores things like FDO, Map Attach connections, etc. Too bad.
The Civil 3D Toolbox includes a Project-based report for things like DREFs.
Always thought that the Civil 3D Data References Editor should have a Report tool. What do I know?

If you need to structurally post XREFs into BIM 360 Docs, the AutoCAD Reference Manager may help you get ‘er done and bit cleaner and quicker.
See the Migrate A Civil 3D Test Project to BIM 360 post and the related in-depth post series for more help on that.

Witness Reciprocity is in Order

No offense intended.
It is probably always a good idea to ritually employ a Reference Manager Report on what you send out to others and before you dump them your stuff into the cloud space. Add it to your ready to publish checklist. No big deal.

What you discover may surprise you.

Better Customization Quality Control

You might want to employ this Reference Manager Report QAQC trick on your Civil 3D template and Civil 3D Style customization resources too. It can answer some not-so-obvious detailed questions about what is attached to that Civil 3D classic or Reference Template (TREF) and/or your other Civil 3D drawing resources. Hoorah!

Dooh! Why is that CTB file attached to that template?

Hoorah Dooh is the name of Murphy’s cousin.
He is often the uninvited guest to all events and new endeavours.

Now perhaps, you can start talking together about the essential (AutoCAD-based?) Interoperability Standards you can both mutually employ to make the rest of the project run better from the get-go.

The Framework for Civil 3D can help with that. We do Adaptive Standards for a living.
Just sayin’.

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