Autodesk Civil 3D 2021 Update Arrives

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Autodesk released Update 1 for Autodesk Civil 3D 2021. The Civil 3D 2021.1 Update arrived with the unusual group of suspects and official the new way cool Project Explorer for Civil 3D extension. I haven’t managed to locate a download of the public build for Project Explorer yet, but that may change by the time this post is published.

The unusual Civil 3D Update suspects include a new release of the Autodesk Desktop Connector for BIM 360. The new Desktop Connector is required if you want to employ the Autodesk BIM 360 cloud to share your Civil 3D projects.

Autodesk already recently released an important AutoCAD 2021.1 Update and a complementary Autodesk Licensing Service 10.2 Update. The Licensing Service update required some minor tweaks and massage to our cloud-hosted licensing server. Your experience may vary.

The Framework for Civil 3D and Civil 3D 2021

The Framwork for Civil 3D Release 8 for Civil 3D 2021 upgrades and appears to run fine in Civil 3D 2021 Update 1. Hoorah! Got to love it when the plan comes together.

I easily and quickly employed the Civil 3D Batch Save Utility to update a detailed version of the typical Framework Sandbox projects to the Civil 3D 2021 public build without issues. The projects consist of 100+ drawings with lots of DREFs. The Sandbox projects in both STB and CTB employ Reference Templates. I have yet to test a Batch Save Utility Upgrade of a BIM 360 version of the same.

The Civil 3D 2021.1 Object Model

There are minor Civil 3D Object Model changes in Civil 3D 2021.1 for Profile View Band Styles to support the new Cant Band and Speed Band Styles. A quick spot check demonstrated the new Profile View Band Styles safely cascade back into Civil 3D 2020.

Here’s the rest of the skinny and some videos on Autodesk Civil 3D 2021.1…

Autodesk Civil 3D 2021.1 Update

The latest Autodesk Civil 3D 2021.1 Update includes many new enhancements and improvements.
This includes the new Project Explorer for Civil 3D extension.
There are a lot of significant fixes in Update 1. See below.

See the What's New in Civil 3D 2021.1 help page for details.

Autodesk Project Explorer for Civil 3D


The Project Explorer for Civil 3D extension is now also available to AEC Collection or Enterprise Business Agreement customers.
Project Explorer supports both Civil 3D 2020 and Civil 3D 2021.

Project Explorer is an all-in-one hub for managing the contents of and extracting information from Civil 3D models. It helps users to review, validate, report, export and edit models.

Project Explorer Key Features

  • Project Explorer features a tabbed user interface divided into object categories such as Alignments, Corridors, and Pipe Networks. Each tab features a wide range of information in both tabular and graphical formats. Content can be easily filtered, configured, and reviewed by the user, and many parameters can be edited directly from the Project Explorer window.
  • Geometric reports can be exported to a range of popular file formats including Excel spreadsheets and PDF files.
  • Object Sets can hold persistent object selections for export to geometric reports, tables or other AutoCAD drawings. Updates can be applied to exported documents when subsequent design changes are applied in Civil 3D.
  • Project Explorer is entirely style driven, which ensures that reports, AutoCAD tables, and the Project Explorer user interface itself can be easily configured to the requirements of each user, project, or organization.
  • Project Explorer displays a range of warning tooltips for areas of the design which might not meet specified rules or design standards, or objects which may require further scrutiny. For example, pipes might be too long or short, or too deep or shallow; and profiles might have start/end stations which fall slightly beyond the station range of their host alignments. These scenarios, and many others, are far easier to spot in the Project Explorer window.
  • Project Explorer features a wide array of tools for reviewing and editing pipe networks such as a multiple part swap tool and pipe run editor.

Autodesk Desktop Connector 14.1 Update

The install of the Autodesk Desktop Connector 14.1 is manual and overwrites any previously installed version of the Desktop Connector. The new collaboration enhancements require the latest Desktop Connector. The Update build version is

Collaboration New Features and Enhancements


  • Reference templates are now uploaded and downloaded when you upload or download drawings that reference them. The paths to the reference templates are maintained when the reference templates are uploaded, downloaded, or moved within BIM 360.
  • Support has been added for sheet set data (DST) files.
  • Uploading a DST file will upload the related drawings in the sheet set.
  • Opening a DST file from BIM 360 will sync the related drawings.
  • Drawings in a sheet set that are opened from the Sheet Set Manager are automatically locked when opened and unlocked when closed.
  • Locking support for DST files is now provided. You can use a system variable named EnableDSTLock to enable this support.
  • Drawing previews can now be displayed on the Recent and BIM 360 tabs of the Start page. Click the tiles icon to display the drawing preview images:
  • Long running jobs will no longer fail due to power settings causing the machine to go to sleep. Desktop Connector will continue to process running jobs and those jobs will prevent the machine from going to sleep until the job is completed. This will not prevent the display from turning off and logging the user out of the machine. Once the job completes, the machine will be allowed to go to sleep.

General Civil 3D 2021.1 Updates

New Feature Line Edit Commands


  • Insert Points at Crossing Locations command inserts PIs or elevation points on crossing feature lines in the same site
  • Set Grade/Slope Across Feature Lines command edits the grade or slope between vertices on two or more intersecting feature lines
  • Set Corridor Baseline Elevation by Reference command sets the elevation of a point on a Feature-Line based corridor baseline at a given grade or slope from a specified location on another Feature Line

Pressure Pipe Network Layout and Edit

New and enhanced functionality for editing pressure networks in plan view and profile view.


  • The compass is now available for use when laying out path based pressure networks. Options are available on the ribbon to turn the compass on and off and to snap to bend angles when laying out a pipe run.
  • Add, move, and remove vertical bends and PVIs in a pipe run profile
  • The angle and rotation of fittings are now automatically adjusted when laying out a pressure network pipe run in plan view or merging pipe runs, and when a pressure network pipe run is edited both in plan view and in profile view.
  • The ability to select a pipe run or a part in a profile view has been improved. Clicking a part once selects the pipe run and clicking the part again selects the part.
  • The length and station range of a pipe run profile now remains consistent with the length and station range of the pipe run alignment.
  • Change a straight pipe to a curved pipe in profile view by grip editing and change a curved pipe to a straight pipe.
  • Connect a new pipe run to an existing pipe network with a tee. Click to insert the end point of the pipe run when the glyph is shown, and press Enter at the next prompt.

Pipe Run Profile Settings

  • An Overrides tab has been added to the Pipe Run Profile Settings dialog box which you can use to define station ranges of the pipe run that will be static or dynamic in relation to the associated profile.
  • For example, if there is an obstacle that you need to design around, you can define a static station range for the pipe run and edit the segment of the pipe run in that station range so that it avoids the obstacle. A static station range will not update in relation to changes to the associated profile so it will remain as designed.
  • When you graphically edit a Pipe Run Profile, a static station range may be automatically created for the pipe run and displayed on the Overrides tab.
  • The Profile selection list has been updated to include a Create From Surface option, and now only the Profiles that are in the Pipe Run Alignment collection are shown in the list instead of all Profiles.

Rail Bands in Profile Views


  • Add cant data bands and speed bands to profile views to annotate rail-specific properties along the parent alignment.
  • Add cant bands for Applied Cant and Equilibrium Cant in a profile view.
  • Add labels at specified locations in a cant band including End Level Rail, Begin Full Cant, End Full Cant, Begin Level Rail, and Cant Manual Station.
  • Add ticks at specified locations in a cant band including Begin Level Rail, Begin Full Cant, End Full Cant, End Level Rail, and Cant Manual Station.

Corridor Collaboration and Interoperability Improvements

Corridor Collaboration Workflows between Civil 3D 2021.1 and Infraworks 2021.1.

Bridge Collaboration Improvements

  • Enhanced and improved Bridges workflows between Civil 3D2021.1 and InfraWorks 2021.1.
  • Update bridge layers after a bridge has been imported, and control layers for additional bridge generic object types
  • Support has been added for configuring layers for an existing bridge in a drawing. Update the layers for bridge objects after bringing a bridge into a drawing from InfraWorks.
  • Support has been added for assigning layers for bridge generic object subtypes.

Enhanced Bridge Workflows for 2021.1

  • If the bridges are changed and republished from InfraWorks, you can reload them into your Civil 3D drawing.
  • The Infraworks 2021.1 Update includes new Bridge design tools and analysis integrations with Autodesk Structural Bridge Design.

ArcGIS Connector and Workflow Improvements


  • Add new objects that were created in Civil 3D to ArcGIS by moving them to an existing ArcGIS layer and then saving the layer back to ArcGIS
  • Changes to property set data are now saved back to ArcGIS along with the geometry.
  • Support has been added for exporting curves (instead of tessellated segments) to a file geodatabase.
  • By default, when a curved pipe is imported from ArcGIS, tessellated segments are removed and a curved pipe is created. You can add a registry key to control this behavior.

Civil 3D 2021.1 API Improvements

Updates to the API have been made in the following feature areas:

  • Catchments
  • Feature lines
  • Profiles
  • Quantity takeoff
  • Section views
  • Superelevation views
  • Surfaces

Civil 3D 2021.1 Fixed Issues


  • The highest speed value is now used for a station when multiple speeds are assigned.

Autodesk Collaboration for Civil 3D

  • Improved the display of folder paths on the BIM 360 page of the Start tab.
  • Fixed an issue in which an "AeccDbNetworkRule was repaired" message could incorrectly be displayed when the Audit command was used on a DWG file with an XREF in BIM 360.
  • Fixed an issue in which the word "You" was not translated on the BIM 360 page of the Start tab.
  • Improved performance with Autodesk Desktop Connector when working with drawings that contain circular or unloaded xrefs.
  • The path shown for drawings stored in BIM 360 now starts with BIM 360:\ instead of starting with C:\Users\ < username > \BIM 360.
  • Fixed an issue in which a host drawing with more than one point file reference would not completely update when uploaded to BIM 360.
  • Improved performance when opening and saving a drawing with BIM 360.
  • Fixed an issue in which a duplicate source file containing data shortcuts was created when the original was moved or renamed in BIM 360.
  • Fixed an issue in which a drawing that contained a data referenced surface would report having a broken reference when opened on another computer if the surface in the data shortcut source drawing referenced an .mms file.
  • Fixed an issue in which labels using a style with a custom block height would not be displayed correctly when the drawing was viewed in BIM 360.
  • Fixed an issue in which the paths to point files used as surface data would not all be updated correctly when a drawing was uploaded to BIM 360.
  • Fixed an issue that prevented the opening of multiple drawings if they had an Online status in BIM 360.

Note: An updated version of Autodesk Desktop Connector is required for working with BIM 360 related features after installing Autodesk Civil 3D 2021.1. When you attempt to use BIM 360 related features in Autodesk Civil 3D 2021.1, you will be prompted to update Autodesk Desktop Connector if you have not done so already.


  • Fixed an issue in which the station properties of bridge projection label styles were not consistent with the station properties of other label styles.
  • Fixed an issue in which modified layer property information was not updating when reloading a bridge layer.
  • Fixed an issue in which the status of an imported bridge from BIM 360 was reported as not found in the Prospector item view.


  • Fixed an issue in which the LinkOffsetOnSurface subassembly did not recognize the side of the assembly on which it was placed and targeted the wrong side of the baseline.
  • Improved stability when opening the Rehab Manager dialog box.
  • Fixed an issue in which the assigned elevation targets on spiral segments of an alignment or on an alignment with a 180 degree direction change generated incorrect results.

Data Shortcuts

  • Fixed an issue in which newly created data shortcut folders would disappear when the Data Shortcuts tree was refreshed or when Civil 3D was restarted.

Dynamo for Civil 3D

  • Fixed a stability issue that occurred when opening true/false property sets that were imported from a JSON file with Dynamo for Civil 3D.

ESRI/GIS Data Integration

  • Deprecated the unnecessary ArcGIS Dataset Information Property set created when importing objects from ArcGIS.
  • Fixed an issue in which importing a layer as a feature line would not include domain properties.

Export Civil 3D Drawings

  • Improved stability when exporting a drawing containing several long corridors to IMX.
  • Improved performance when exporting a Civil 3D drawing containing a large number of COGO points to an AutoCAD drawing.


  • Fixed a stability issue that could occur when opening a drawing with grading objects.
  • Fixed the Chinese translation of "area" in the CreateGradingInfill command prompt which was not interpreted correctly.


  • Fixed an issue in which corridor section labels could not be created for data referenced corridors when the source drawing was not available.


  • Fixed a performance issue that could occur when opening drawings on a Windows 10 operating system.


  • Fixed a misspelling in a tooltip in the Create Parcels - From Objects dialog box.

Pipe Networks

  • Fixed an issue in which the Bypass Target property was empty for a data referenced pipe network.
  • Fixed an issue in which the Invert Elevation column was empty in the Match Elevation dialog box.
  • Fixed an issue in which the folder that contains the pipe network catalog could not be selected when specifying the settings for bringing InfraWorks drainage networks into a drawing.


  • Fixed an issue in which the Operator field for the Full Description property in a point group query was not populated with the standard options.
  • Fixed an issue in which an invalid query in a point group resulted in the display of unexpected characters on the command line.

Pressure Networks

  • Fixed an issue in which a pressure pipe that was removed from a profile view could not be added back to the profile by using the Profile View Properties dialog box.
  • Improved stability when opening a drawing with a pressure network pipe run that contained curves.
  • Fixed an issue in which changes to the pipe run profile settings would not be saved if the option to offset the pipe run to a profile and the option to Update Dynamically were selected in the Pipe Run Profile Settings dialog box.
  • Fixed an issue in which a pipe run could be detached after reopening the drawing.
  • Fixed an issue in which different pipe runs could have identical names when they should be unique.
  • Fixed an issue in which the pressure pipe size on the ribbon did not match the selected pipe size in the Pressure Network Parts List dialog box when creating the network.
  • Fixed an issue in which a label would not slide correctly along a curved pressure network pipe in plan view.
  • Added the ability to add appurtenances on a path based pressure network pipe in profile view.
  • Fixed an issue in which a pressure network pipe run that was copied from one profile view to another would not include its parts.
  • Fixed an issue in which branch fittings were removed after updating the elevation of a branched pipe run.
  • Fixed an issue in which the SplitPipeNetwork command had two options that were assigned the same letter in the German version of the application.
  • Fixed a stability issue that could occur when creating a data shortcut reference to a pressure network.

Quantity Takeoff

  • Fixed a stability issue that could occur when computing materials while the default Quantity Takeoff Criteria is blank and a referenced template has been attached.

Rail Design

  • Fixed an issue in which an edited equilibrium cant formula in the Edit Feature Settings - Alignment dialog box produced incorrect values in the Cant Tabular Editor.

Reference Templates

  • Fixed an issue in which you could not reference templates created with Civil 3D 2021 in earlier versions.


  • Fixed an issue in which cut volumes were not calculated correctly when using the prismoidal calculation method.


  • Fixed an issue in which the record of elevations was incorrect when importing a survey data file.


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