Civil 3D 2023 Project Upgrades Revisited

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Autodesk continues to improve and change Civil 3D behaviors from one Civil 3D Update to another and from one Civil 3D Release Upgrade to another. Out here in Civil 3D Land we must learn to adapt to those changes or continue to perform our civil engineering and survey work in older versions of the software. Most folks tend to.

Are we proactive or reactive about Civil 3D Updates and Civil 3D Upgrades?

Do we reconsider Project upgrade method and practice beyond the Civil 3D Update and Upgrade Blues?

There is certainly no guarantee that what worked last time to Update or Upgrade our Civil 3D Project will function exactly the same this time around.
Fear, uncertainty, and doubt (FUD) breed inaction.
Thus, we tend to wait around for a future Civil 3D 2023.1 Update before Upgrading.

This does not solve the fundamental problem.
This common approach might be a bit like making a minimum payment on a credit card. Whoa.

Civil 3D 2023 Project Upgrades Revisited

In the recent Project Upgrades to Civil 3D 2023 post, we discussed the Joy of Batch Save and Batch Save Utility for Civil 2023 method and practice. We addressed some of the new Civil 3D 2023 default upgrade Tool behaviors and some proactive and practical responses to them.
The post is definitely worth a read.

It is much more important to Do the Do.

“The Keys to Success are often only discovered in the tedious repetitions of practiced execution.”

The most significant aspects of practiced repetition and execution are to examine our habits and rebuild our heuristics to match the current circumstances.
Simply put - We do not want to validate our own false expectations.

If we try to fight the last war, the real-world result generally sucks.

Kick the Sand in the Sandbox

The Framework for Civil 3D Jump Kit products include many Civil 3D Sandbox Projects in many releases of Civil 3D. See the Civil 3D 2023 Project Sandboxes post.

We always provide these Civil 3D Projects as an integral and important part of our Jump Kit product. Why?

  • Civil 3D Styles, Civil 3D Labels Styles, and Civil 3D Sets without the Civil 3D data behind are meaningless
  • Effective and managed Civil 3D data behind is a shared Project-based resource not a drawing resource

The Framework Sandbox Projects also supply our customers with a field to safely practice those Update and Upgrade processes that are the topic of this post.
Yes. You can, and perhaps should, build your own Civil 3D Sandbox Project(s).

Location Location Location

Dooh. Sometimes it takes a while for new realities to penetrate the thick skulls of us working folk.

Copying an entire complex Civil 3D Project structure and all those diverse references and moving that new project to a new storage location is a lot more complicated and tedious than an Update or Upgrade in place.

Upgrade the Project In-place Strategy

An Upgrade the Project In-place Strategy with the Civil 3D Batch Save Utility does not force us to manually to manually check, validate, and perhaps update all of the many project DREF (Data Reference), TREF (Reference Template), and other discrete file references in all the project drawings.
This is good news and bad news.

In place conditions:

  • A just in time backup of the Civil 3D Project before and probably after the Batch Save or manual Update is mandatory
  • Isolation of the entire Civil 3D Project is vital if Batch Save is employed
  • Staged partial project Upgrades are probably safer for larger projects and these require more attention to planning and execution.

The bad news is:

  • The project continues operation in the new Update or Upgrade with little or no QAQC or changes to the current content.
    All the common project warts and blemishes remain.
    Some issues may be more apparent in the new Civil 3D build.
  • One of the more serious issues of the In-place Strategy to consider is the Civil 3D User tendency to open the Updated project in the older release of Civil 3D.
    In other words, a change of storage location makes the use of the correct version of Civil 3D more obvious to all.

Copy the Project First Strategy

The Copy the Project First Strategy does force us to manually check, validate, and perhaps update all of the many project DREF (Data Reference), TREF (Reference Template), and other discrete file references in all the project drawings.
This is good news and bad news.

We do tend to:

  • Find and fix the usual set of bad actors that appear in most Civil 3D projects
  • Discover how the new Civil 3D and tools actually respond to the quirks of our project

The bad news is:

  • This takes multiple Batch Save Updates and individual manual visits to each and every project drawing or not
  • The process can distract us from addressing the Civil 3D User behaviors and skills that introduce the bad actors into our projects in the first place

I’m a big advocate of the accountable Civil Users performing the Batch Save post process Update steps and check whenever possible. This tends to encourage Civil Users to perform the initial project maintenance work with more discipline in the first place.

As I point out in the Project Upgrades to Civil 3D 2023 post, The Civil 3D 2023 Fix Data References Tool and the Data Shortcut Manager Tool do behave differently in Civil 3D 2023.

Civil 3D 2023 Project Upgrade Tools

The current Civil 3D Toolspace Warning Badges for Broken Data References do not all automatically display at the top of the Toolspace display structure.

We must take the time to look for Broken Data References in the Toolspace and/or ritually employ the Data Shortcut Manager Tool as drawings are opened to check for them.

Perhaps the biggest problem about all the Civil 3D Broken Data Reference Tools is we must know the correct source location in the first place.

Fix Data References Tool

The Fix Data References Tool,that operates in the Civil 3D Toolspace, appears to expect that broken DREFs will all be located in the same folder in the project.

In a simple project this kind of simple DREF structure might be used, but this structure is unlikely in many Civil 3D projects with many DREFs.

The Fix Data References Tool can successfully resolve and fix multiple DREF folder locations with repetitive use in the Toolspace. The repetitive need to employ the Tool is not always so obvious.

Data Shortcut Manager Tool

The daily use of the Data Shortcut Manager Tool (DSM) is unquestionably a mission critical Civil 3D User skill set. Is a visit to the DSM part of your open a project drawing process?

A manual update of a DSM linked DREF may not display as resolved in the 2023 version of the Data Shortcut Manager Tool. That’s annoying.
A Save, Close, and Open of the drawing will display the properly linked DREF in Civil 3D.

Beyond the Civil 3D Update and Upgrade Blues

There are other interesting and very profitable reasons why we might want to update a working Civil 3D Project that may be far more important to us than a change in the Civil 3D code base.

The Civil 3D Batch Save Utility will run cascaded scripts and lisp with its support of SCRIPTCALL.
In a Civil 3D Project with Batch Save we can:

  • Change the entire Layer System and all the Layer States in all or part of the drawings
  • Change Block graphics System in all or part of the drawings
  • Update the Style collections in project drawings
  • Update the STB or CTB plotting configuration in all or part of the drawings

Lords knows, the project submittal requirements for our deliverables never change. Eheh.

Register and visit our Documentation and Help pages for Civil 3D.
See the Batch Save Utility Tool page and links in the Implement Civil 3D section.

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