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Our daily production work in Autodesk Civil 3D is all about what changes today in our current Civil 3D project. Let me put it this way…
“Civil 3D is all about the Project, Baby.”

We work in individual Civil 3D working drawings all the time. It is way too easy to lose sight of the shared-data, project-based perspective that is mission critical to our successful employment of Civil 3D.
Let’s call that a Managed Dynamic Model.

When Civil 3D Users sit down to work each day, this project-centric reality should be foremost in our minds.

The Civil 3D Project Changes

Needless to say, what Autodesk considers a Civil 3D project and what our survey and civil engineering design project deliverables demand are sometimes two very different things. The Civil 3D software is very flexible and adaptive about how we structure (folders and paths) our projects. I like to say,
“Civil 3D projects tend to become spaghetti.”

If you’ve been around a while in Civil 3D Land, you might remember those Dynamic Model words about Civil 3D. That Dynamic Model is all about how Civil 3D Features (the stuff in the Toolspace) can dynamically interact which each other in a drawing.
Updated Surface models update in Profile Views.
Modified geometries in multiple Alignments and Profiles trigger updates in our Corridor models.
Yada, yada, yada.

A Managed Dynamic Model means that we recognize, manage, and control those Civil 3D Feature interactions in a planned project structure.

A planned project structure is about how our shared project file and folder names and locations relate to our production workflows. There are consistent structures, names, and patterns of usage in this mix.

Separation of Civil 3D Powers

We can employ Data References (DREF), external references (XREF), image references (IREF), and even Reference Templates (TREF) to control how the Civil 3D software resolves the shared project-based data (the data behind) from multiple drawings in a drawing. We must manage the Civil 3D interactions and the resolutions across multiple drawings.

Hardly any Civil 3D Users notice the DREF world has changed. What if it did?
See the Civil 3D Data Shortcut Manager Tool post for some more details.

Frankly, Civil 3D will pretty much allow us to wing that project structure on the fly. If you don’t employ Civil 3D Project Templates, this is what you do. We can crash and burn in one project structure and are free to try out something else next time. Our repetitive project structure trial and error evolves into something that works most of the time.
We are done with that. Hoorah.
Buzzzzz. Thanks for playing.

Our Civil 3D Project Structures Change

Part of that challenge obviously relates to the type of engineering project – a land parcel development project is not a new cross town sewer line and pumping system or a levee reconstruction project.
This potential project adaptability and optionality is the reason why Civil 3D Project Templates are the most effective form of Civil 3D customization available to us all.
Register, become a site Member, and visit our Civil 3D Project implementation, Project Setup, and customization pages in Documentation and Help.

The other darker or more practical side is that the Civil 3D toolset always continues to change.
See the recent An Odd or Even Civil 3D Update post for some thoughts on those matters.
See the recent Is It Worth It in Civil 3D post for the other Most Important Thing to think about.

Civil 3D Updates are Upon Us

It is no secret. Autodesk is about to release one of the biggest Civil 3D Updates in recent history – the Autodesk Civil 3D 2022.1 Update. The Autodesk Civil 3D Project Manager said that publicly.
Put it bluntly, there is probably something everybody might like about the Civil 3D 2022.1 Update.
There are similar Civil 3D 2020.6 Update Released and Civil 3D 2021.3 Update Released updates already available.

If Civil 3D users employ the newer tools in the newer Civil 3D toolsets the structures and related workflows of our Civil 3D projects must change. Dooh.
Maybe this is a lot. Maybe this is a little.

Let’s face it. Most of the time we do as little as possible so long as what we have continues to work.

Does the PE for C3D make your Civil 3D project GO? Eheh.

What if our Civil 3D users do not, or cannot, embrace the updated Civil 3D toolset because we haven’t proactively built more adaptive Civil 3D Project Templates in the meantime.

The Arrow of Time in Civil 3D

Who has time for that? We all have work we must deliver.

You see the thing is, we either do that project structure and workflow continuous improvement as a team or many of the benefits and features of the latest and greatest Civil 3D update may become an obstacle to our daily work.

No one made a rule that a Civil 3D Project Template must do an entire project structure.
Did they?
Yes. There is an entire collection of posts and videos on this topic.
See the How To Be Ready When Civil 3D Changes post and blog series.

Funny. Even the most significant Update in recent Civil 3D memory recalls up a famous told you so post -
5 Things to Consider Before Civil 3D 2020 remains a keeper.

Seriously, Civil 3D is a project-based, team sport even if you work all alone.
Why? Because we never really do work alone.

We happily offer a hand up not a handout.

The Power to Make Civil 3D Work Harder
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