The Most Important Feature in Civil 3D

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What are the most important features in Civil 3D? Autodesk has a different answer to that question for every new release of Civil 3D and each new Update for Civil 3D. Autodesk wants to answer the Features and Benefits sales and marketing questions. They do sell us software after all. Maybe whatever is the hot new Autodesk thing this time around floats your boat? Maybe not?

Out here in Civil 3D Land, we civil engineers and surveyors must practically answer the other Civil 3D project-based question…

What is the Most Important Feature in Civil 3D?

Here the word Feature in the question means all those Civil 3D Features we find collected in the Toolspace. A software Feature is a collection of software objects that work together. We technically call them Features in OOP (Object Oriented Programing) speak. All the Toolspace beasties are collections of interactive objects each with a managed data behind.

What’s Your Civil 3D Beasty Bestie?

Civil engineers might pick one of the many linear Features.
The Site Design crowd would pick Feature Lines (when they really mean 3D breaklines).
The Roadway Design herd gets stuck with Alignments (when they really mean polylines).
The Land Chop Design crew will pick Parcels (when they mean closed polylines).
The Pipeworks crowd probably picks Profiles because their stuff flows downhill unless they are under pressure.
Survey folks may tend to pick Points (which they love to hate).
If queried, the smarter Survey people would be more specific and prefer Survey Points.

That’s Quite the Family Feud

Many Different Stokes for different folks.
When all things are said and done The Survey Says…

Most Civil 3D users would probably default to the Surface as the most important Feature in Civil 3D.

After all, we engineering types focus on the results.
That result is obviously the most important thing.

Does that mean that the quickest way to a Surface also produces the best managed Civil 3D project model and the easiest to publish on demand data behind?
That ain’t happenin’.
But the magic button sure sounds great.
See the In Search of the Magic Buttons in Civil 3D post.

The Civil 3D Land of Managed Projects

We live with the way Civil 3D is designed and built or we waste our time and energy.

Civil 3D is project centric.
Civil 3D is never ever about a drawing.
Civil 3D is about managed Features and their data behind that work together across multiple drawings to produce production deliverables.

What we have to ask…

Does Civil 3D Have a Design Control Manager?

Dooh. That sounds like a most important question we need to answer.
More about that is a second.
First, let’s take a peek at a great recent Civil 3D tips and tricks video that directly relates to the actual issue at hand.


Faster Parking Lots from Widenings

Jim Coppinger of ZenTek Consultants explains how to inventively employ Offset Alignments and Widenings to perform parking lot layout design in Civil 3D. Thanks Jim. You made my day.

This is the best short video I've seen in a long while than makes this excellent point about Civil 3D functionality that often gets lost to our old work habits and heuristics.

We do have to practice at these Civil 3D create and edit skills to get good at them.
Grips skill and the related edit skills are not built by seeing but by doing the do.
See the recent Come to Grips with Civil 3D post.

We need more design optionality and new and improved design heuristics to manage those options.

Old school AutoCAD Design layout with polylines, line, and arcs is not only tedious it is far less flexible than well-developed intermediate and advanced skills for Alignments and their many children in Civil 3D.

The Alignment – The Design Control Manager for Civil 3D

Simply put…Autodesk put the big bucks into the Civil 3D Alignment Feature (and all its many children) and all of those Alignment dependent Features.
Can you say Corridors?
Do you now practice Site design with Corridors?
Replace Site design any of the Civil engineering sub-disciplines we talked about earlier.

Put another way…the faster and more managed way to those Surface results we seek are all Alignment-based in Civil 3D.
Register. Become a site member and check out the Civil 3D Book of Alignments.

The video doesn’t cover the vertical and cross section design control issues at all.
We can learn to do and manage that too.
Maybe now you want to turn your Feature Line into an Alignment?
See the Create Alignment and Profile from a Feature Line video.

Production Skill and The Design Control Managers

Production skill in Civil 3D is directly connected to how well you employ and manage Alignments and their many children inside your projects.

All those old Civil 3D 2018 Alignment feature improvements should be second nature and a part of your daily Civil 3D workday. Most of the 2018 Alignment tools have been further tuned and improved upon since then.
If not, see the Civil 3D 2018 Connected Alignment Upgrade post and the related links and videos.

Maybe you missed Autodesk’s purchase of ProjectExplorer last month?
See the A New Autodesk ProjectExplorer for Civil 3D post and videos.

Can you say better managed published results in and from Civil 3D?

Two Releases of the Framework for the Price of One

Customers who purchase the affordable Jump Kit Release 8 2020 between April 15, 2020 (the Civil 3D 2021 ship date) and our upcoming Jump Kit Release 8 for Civil 3D 2021 ship day will receive a free upgrade to Jump Kit Release 8 for Civil 3D 2021.

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