Drive Civil 3D Corridor Quality Checks

Tags Multiple Baseline Corridors, Drive, corridor surface, surface, Code Set Styles, Surface Style, feature line, survey figure, video

Autodesk Civil 3D is loaded with useful and powerful tools to help us create, edit, and manage Complex Corridors. Whether the Corridor design addresses a roadway or a site grading design condition, Design Visualization becomes a significant Civil 3D user issue for any Multiple Baseline Corridor (MBC).

Complex Corridors include a host of intricate details that may be addressed and checked via robust collections of Civil 3D Style display representations, the many Corridor Properties tabs, and elsewhere throughout the multifaceted Corridor engine interface.

If we have access to Project Explorer via an AEC Collection product subscription license, even more Design Control, Assembly and Subassembly, Corridor resolution, and many useful reporting details are available to us.

Corridor Design WTMI

The Corridor WTMI (way too much information) problem can indeed be overwhelming for new Civil 3D users and experts alike. New users may not understand what they see. Jaded Civil 3D Corridor experts sometimes see only what we expect to see. These false expectations happen to me. They happen to you.

Surface QAQC Best Practice

If we construct any type of complex Surface in Civil 3D, we soon understand the issues of TIN resolutions and the need to thoroughly check our expectations and what we see. The Surface appears to triangulate as we expect in a plan view, but all too often we discover the Surface really does not.

Hence the well-documented best practice in Civil 3D

Check every Surface with a least three (3) different Surface Style representations and always in a 3D view.

In the on-going series of posts and videos on Multiple Baseline Corridors (and a previous series on Site Grading Corridors) the example videos are often introduced with simple Civil 3D Drive tool recorded animations. This is not an accident.

Sure, Civil 3D Drive based animations make for a pretty, cheap video. Eheh.
There’s more to the tool than a pretty face.
In any case, a Framework for Civil 3D customer asked for more about Drive…


Employ the Drive Tool in a Complex Corridor

The video explores the simple Drive tool mechanics and how we might learn to employ the Drive tool a bit differently.

Even a basic automatic Drive animation down a Baseline or any Alignment/Profile pair can help us quickly find hard to see problems in a complex Corridor or any Civil 3D Surface.

The Drive path can be a 3D polyline, Alignment and Profile, Corridor Feature Line, Grading Feature Line, or Survey Figure. We can switch Drive Paths within the command. If you plan to do this, it helps to employ a two Horizontal viewport screen setup.

A Drive of a Corridor with only the Corridor Feature Line output and the applied Assemblies rendered can be very instructive. At times the Corridor Surfaces may disguise the Link and Feature Line resolution problems.

We can employ Drive to visualize and successfully debug existing condition survey Surfaces. We only need a viable Drive path and 3D Model View Style display representations of the Civil 3D Features.

Drive with Style

The reason the Corridor Surface, the applied Assembly Frequencies, and the Feature Lines all appear in the video in detail is a conscious choice to employ the integrated Civil 3D Styles for the Surface, Corridor, and Code Set supplied in the Framework for Civil 3D. Your Style results and display representations may vary.

Surface Styles that employ Triangles and Points in 3D Model Views with colored themes effect the Drive rendered Surface display. See the updated Framework for Civil 3D Surface Style thematic collections.

A Code Set Style with assigned Link Styles will render the Assembly Frequency display. The current Corridor Code Set Style also determines the Feature Line Style results in Drive. See the Framework’s Shapes with Slopes Only Code Set Style.

Today, anyone can get and afford the 3000 functional Civil 3D Styles and more in Templates Only.

The handy thing is that we can control the Level of Detail we want to visualize in Drive and elsewhere with simple Civil 3D Style assignments.

Drive the Limits

As our Multiple Baseline Corridors get more complex and before we initiate Drive, it certainly helps to reduce:

  • The Baselines and/or Regions currently generated by the Corridor engine
  • The number of Civil 3D Features with visible Styles assigned

Drive works on the entire drawing. We need to think about that.

Drive Share

Drive works just as well on a Data Referenced (DREF) Corridor and/or with DREF design control as a live Corridor, Surface, or design control.

We can Drive check the results in a QAQC throw away drawing with less risk to the working production or Corridor construction drawing.
DREF sources greatly reduce to odds of crashing and improve the performance of results at the same time.

Drive Systems Check

We can employ variations of the shared Project data scenario and perform a Drive Systems Check. In QAQC drawings, we can couple and Drive our DREF design Corridors, the DREF Pipe Systems, etc.

This Data Reference visualized reality also applies to those other infamous 3D visualization tools.

It can be useful to remember that the throw away drawing technique applies to sources we select to visualize in the Civil 3D Object Viewer tool as well.

The Quick and the Dead

The Civil 3D Object Viewer is notable for its useful and quick 3D view capabilities. The tool’s interactivity and immediacy come with a price. Sadly, the Object Viewer also tends to crash Civil 3D. The larger the Surface (or Corridor Model) the more likely this happens.

We know the drill…

Always Save before we invoke the Object Viewer.

The warning is much easier to say than remember to do.

Drive Civil 3D Corridor Quality Checks

Civil 3D provides better ways and means and tools to enhance our design decision making skills and project quality control and assurance processes.

Better Civil 3D Templates, Civil 3D Styles, Sets, and other integrated Civil 3D resources matter.
These tools should be consistent, robust, and adaptive within our Civil 3D production environment.
These tools can be affordable.

Make Civil 3D Work Better
Get the Framework for Civil 3D


Complex Corridor Posts