Civil 3D Site Grading Feature Lines and Corridors

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Many folks in Civil 3D Land initially don’t, won’t, or cannot see the benefits of Civil 3D Corridor tools in civil engineering site grading projects. History matters. A Site grading design is basically an annotated finished grade Surface, right? Habit matters. Why do I need all that silly, complicated Corridor stuff and hassle for? Data management matters. The last thing we need are a bunch more project DREFs to manage.

Humans are story-telling tool users. We use the tools we learned how to employ. We usually live tell the tale. We like whine about it too. If things get frustrating, we tend to blame the tool not the operator.

Hmm? That people and tool thing is interesting. All hammers do not search for a nail to whack as my previously often smashed thumbs can testify. There are a lot of types of hammers in the trades. When in doubt we want to…

Get a Bigger Hammer

Bigger and better are clearly not the same thing.

Maybe one day it hits you? The Civil 3D Corridor engine is nothing more than a new set of tools we can learn to apply.

This does mean we need the Civil 3D Style and other resources to support the depth and nuanced detail supported by the Corridor engine. The Framework for Civil 3D can certainly help with that.

This does mean we need to rethink our standard approach to Site Grading Design solutions a bit. Why we began to chew through this series of blog posts in the first place.

Adaptive Adoption in Civil 3D

We have both a training and/or Adoption problem and an Adaptive workflow implementation problem.

A customer emailed and asked appropriately about first steps in a move from site design by Feature Lines to site grading design by Corridor.

The Truth is Out There

Sorry. My bad.
There are some important public Autodesk University session videos I assume folks in Civil 3D Land should be familiar with. Let’s try to correct that issue for the record.

See the earlier New Civil 3D Keys to Limitless Site Design post and the Caffeinated Grading AU session video. Many of the fundamentals shared there can also be seen in this more recent follow up session and video from last December at AU 2019.


Open the Corri Door to On-Site Grading

Here’s the link to the AU 2019 session. Open the Corri-Door to On-Site Grading

John Armendariz, the CAD Coordinator at Kimley-Horn shares some method and practice about from moving from the classic Civil 3D Feature Line only workflow to a more Corridor centric workflow.

First Steps that Make Sense

The first step Feature Line method is more familiar ground for old school design by breakline and Surface building folks. It teaches Civil 3D users Why and How simple Corridors manage design things better. Train your Civil 3D users to employ basic Corridors with Feature Line based Baselines and basic Region Assemblies to produce the Corridor output Feature Lines then put those into our friendly and familiar FG Surfaces.

It makes sense to use the Civil 3D Corridor engine to produce and output Surface Feature Line content.

Follow the Ribbons and the Managed Styles

Note also how John deftly employs the Corridor Ribbon to manage most of the work and a custom company Ribbon to manage the displayed QAQC Style management that is also necessary for his daily users throughout the process.

Managed Style choice makes a difference because it helps make the Civil 3D mechanics make sense.

Adaptive Implementation

We don’t initially worry about implementing all the nuanced Corridor Style details and the problematic DREF publication complexity and mechanics.
Certainly, a Code Set Style or two is necessary to manage the Codes to Feature Line creation management problem.

People do seem to run screaming into the night when they face the Corridor Style complexity issues.
Resistance and then rioting and looting break out.
Best to recall that Civil 3D does behave like a virus. Eheh.

Speaking of Viruses

Did you notice that the powers that be rarely, if ever mention that rioting and looting are historically typical in pandemics? This vital factoid seems important to know and consider. Just sayin’.

Know Thy Subassemblies

This first step Feature Line method is a solution based primarily on a crafted Set(s) of Assemblies. Someone must put in the learning and testing time to develop, build, and standardize the Assemblies and Subassembly properties.

John repurposes many stock Civil 3D Subassemblies to achieve significantly better production performance and more managed results with this approach to Feature Line based design control.

Johnny Appleseed

John is also kind enough to share the details of his interesting and very useful site grading Assemblies in the available AU class handout. That is certainly worth a read.

The inventive approach to Assembly development forces us to flip a famous saying on it’s head.

Play to Pay

Did you know the ConditionalHorizontalTarget Subassembly could do things as shown in the video? Probably not.

How well we understand and creatively employ the Civil 3D stock Subassemblies matters.

See the Civil 3D Assembly State Management post. Some people commented that post was sort of a weird way to begin this Site Grading with Corridors blog post series.
Maybe that makes more sense now.

It should be clear by now from the other posts in this series that I think small Assemblies in multiple Baselines and Regions is better practice than big cumbersome Assembly collections with lots of subs and/or pkts.

Why? Multiple Baselines Corridors are more adaptive, easier for users to understand, and easier for the Corridor engine to eat and cope with too. Heck, we can even store and turn off design options in separate nearly duplicate Baselines.

Where would you keep a temporary Baseline(s) you need to produce an intermittent or molded Surface as demoed in the video?
How would you keep the Managed and Shared Design Control in your Civil 3D project?

I managed to produce all the Site Grading Corridor videos without a single new or edited Style. That includes multiple Code Set Styles. We know Code Set Styles are mission critical to both the working production drawing work and the publication of deliverables in our Civil 3D site grading projects.

The Framework for Civil 3D is sometimes an amazing freak of nature. That takes some getting used to.

Can Your Civil 3D Templates and Styles Do That?
Get the Framework for Civil 3D Release 8


Grading with Site Corridors Posts

Updates, additions, and fixes to the posts in this series are on-going.