Civil 3D Codes, Not Tools, and Tuples

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Folks who want or need to employ the Survey functionality in Autodesk Civil 3D tend to appreciate the Framework for Civil 3D. The words deep, robust, and adaptive say it all. You might call those powerful survey and civil engineering resources - features with benefits. Our preference has consequence and accountability that this humorous allusion to the phrase - friends with benefits might seem to want to ignore.

Features with Benefits and Our Work

We’re human. You might want the goodies without the effort. Today could be your birthday. Marketing method and practice ritually employs the features and benefits couplet to attract our attention. People do know there’s at least a third working leg to anything stable, productive, and valuable. It is no surprise to anyone, that those tri-part tensions are the drivers for creative innovation.

Autodesk has been notoriously successful because of features and benefits coupled to our work and our attention and investment in their software. Simply put. We don’t ignore it, so they don’t.

In the recent Civil 3D Templates and The Tuple post, I attempted to demonstrate and explain how the Tuple, actually tuple of tuples structures, play a vital benefits role in Civil 3D Features (Eheh) and Civil 3D template maintenance and management – aka Civil 3D customization. The post will help.

The Collection of Tuples in Brief

“A tuple is an ordered list. The order of the members of the list in a tuple matters. Therefore, a tuple is not the same thing as a Set in formal Set Theory. A tuple of (1,3,2) is not equivalent to the Set of (1,2,3).

Civil 3D Surface models are tuple of tuples structures. Can we count the other Civil 3D Features that look and behave like this?”

The obvious answer to that question is all of them.

“I think of [Civil 3D] templates as assembled collections of separated resources because that works for me, the [Framework] products, and the maintenance [of lots of templates].

... Collections here means a tuple of tuples –

An ordered list of ordered lists assembled from an ordered structure of resources.

At this juncture, I should add that Tuple Management skill is a significant and important Civil 3D User skill that isn’t exactly well-covered in the current Civil 3D help and how to documentation. Oh. It’s there, but not so obvious to say the least.

The order of entrance of data into a Surface matters because?
Cleaner and/or Styleless DREFs matter because?
We could go on and on ad nausea…

Tuples in Civil 3D Survey

Civil 3D Survey functions, features, and benefits relies heavily on tuple behavior and mechanics whether we recognize that or not. Survey Codes, Description Keys, Figures, Point Groups, and Survey Queries employ tuple behavior and mechanics by definition.
Many of us might ignore the collection’s assembled from an ordered structure of resources part.

Understandably, we often want the One and Done thing to be true when the always isn’t.


Civil 3D Point Wizardry For Site Plans

The Framework for Civil 3D's Adaptive and Integrated Survey Codes, Description Keys, Points, and Figure resolutions at work for Site Plans.

See the recent Multiple Civil 3D Description Key Sets post, the Point Wizardry in Civil 3D page, and the Civil 3D Survey at Jump Speed page for video examples.

Tuple Membership Matters

Given we work in a Civil 3D Land where ordered lists of lists are ubiquitous,
it pays to understand and employ the Information Management concept of the Power of NOT.
Membership in a specific ordered list can be arbitrary.
We can employ the Boolean logic of NOT to check and test our lists.

Logical NOTs typically solve search and sort problems faster when you cannot or don’t want to be exact in the final detail.

Beyond that…
When we apply the Power of NOT systematically and in a structured way, many things become much easier for us dumb-bunny humans and for the tuple-based, Civil 3D code behind as well.
In effect, we plan ahead to speak the native language of the Tuples in the accepted common dialect.

Not Key Tools in Civil 3D and Survey

The Framework’s innovative, systematic, and structured use of NOT Key Tools are a long-time customer favorite. We supply Not Key list resources for Description Keys, Figures, Point Groups and more in considerable depth and detail.

In plain speak a Not Key Tool is a structured and ordered list of Keys used to resolve searches in a systematic way. The classic Description Key Set example for a manhole:

MH[~ E,D,S,T]

The Key will match the two-character MH pair and any other single character NOT in the list of "E","D","S", or "T".

  • MHU will match the key.
  • So does MHX and MHF.
  • MHE and the other NOT list relatives are all ignored and passed over.

In a word – these values do NOT match and the search moves on down the ordered list of Keys.
No Not Key works alone.
There is always a following list of manhole Keys specific to the desired outcome.

Our manhole NOT Key allows us to BOTH match unknown manholes AND sewer manholes etc in a simple way. We could proceed this Key with an MH only key that allows us to manually name or number any manhole separately.

Better code identification principals are mission critical Keys to more productive workflows and tools in civil engineering and survey work. The points of the following puns are intended.

As data-aware users of the Civil 3D data behind, we need to optimize our point work and workflows around the principal of Utility of Preference - Otherwise known as the Pareto Principal or the 80 20 Rule.

See the NOT Keys in Civil 3D post.
See the related BESTWay Figures in Civil 3D post and
the mission critical AutoCAD fundamentals covered in the Match Point in Civil 3D post for details and help.

The Code of Preference

Your Code preferences matter. They generally tell us our flavor of the 80 20 Rule in our world. Honestly, we probably did not think about them that way in the first place. We tend to be explicit when it may serve us better to not be so specific and/or particular. The entire Not Keys innovation speaks volumes.


Survey Codes and Description Keys for Point and Figure Resolution Details

The Framework for Civil 3D's details for Adaptive and Integrated Survey Codes, Description Keys, Points, and Figure resolutions explained.

To pull this off in the daily grind of projects and those particulars, we must manage the Codes and the applied variations that follow. Unquestionably, the ripples spread out all over the Civil 3D pond.

The Framework employs a series of Excel Spreadsheet Tools to help you do the management work. We already supply them in multiple flavors as practical and functional examples that work for others in their projects.
Register on the site to preview on the online help for the Spreadsheet Tools. We have customers who are customers just to get them.

The Framework for Civil 3D works on another version of the Not- the Principle of Deletion.
KISS. Here’s a whole bunch of Code choices and options. If you don’t need that specific one, delete it and move on. The supplied resources are available to you later.

We support Codes that follow the SYSTEM>>STRUCTURE>>PART formula found in many Layer systems. Most of the supplied Not Key Tools follow the flipped PART>>STRUCTURE>>SYSTEM method that makes more sense in the field gather and existing or found conditions perspective and context. Tweaking the Not Keys is easy in any case.

The latest AddOn update to the Survey Codes Tool is due to roll out the door any day now. Even more Not Keys and more BESTWay figure resources are in the works based on customer requests and suggestions. There were some great ones. More details about that Survey Codes Tool AddOn later.

Innovation to Make Civil 3D Work
Get the Framework for Civil 3D Release 8


Related Survey Codes and Description Key Set Posts

Civil 3D Codes, Not Tools, and Tuples

  • How our Survey Codes, the concept of Not Keys, and Tuple thinking matters in Civil 3D Survey with videos

Civil 3D Description Key Set Simplicity

  • How to rethink and retool Description Key Sets for better Civil 3D performance and productivity