Point Display Strategies - Part 1

Tags implementation, customization, point display, Description Key Set, Description Key, block

One of the typical Autodesk things about AutoCAD Civil 3D is there are always a bunch of ways to get it done. Variety is the spice of life. AutoCAD Civil 3D Point display is no exception.

Some Points

This year at AU 2012 I presented a session on Metro Survey at which I briefly outlined a couple of Point Display Strategies that organizations typically employ in Civil 3D. A few people there and a number of our customers have asked me to talk about those strategies in a bit more detail. This is the first in a series of 4 posts on that topic. Inside these posts I’ll continue to reference other existing posts to clarify the related issues in some depth.

Make It Work Like Yesterday

The common approach to Civil 3D implementation is to get the stinkin’ points to work and most times look like they did in the old CAD software you used before. This has the obvious benefit of making your new Civil 3D users more comfortable.  There are hidden “issues” in this approach, however.
AutoCAD Civil 3D point display really doesn’t work the same way as any older CAD software. It can be a bit dicey.
You can search for “Points” in this blog to find out lots more about many of the specific details.
There are useful things to know and a few things NOT to do in AutoCAD Civil 3D found in the many the posts.

Get the Old Way Working

If you come over from Land Desktop you need your Description Key ported over into a Description Key Set AND you need your Figure Prefix turned into a Figure Prefix Db. You also have to construct the basic Point Styles that look like the old blocks you used. Maybe you want to upgrade to something more National CAD Standard compliant? Jump platform products make that easy and inexpensive.
You also have to at least have a Point Label Style or two that replicates something that looks like the old attributed Block mechanism.
If you make a project in LDT that employs ALL the OLD Description Keys and blocks I’m sure the tools is still in your release of Civil 3D to port the old crud over.  Way back when in Release 2010 there was a Subscription Extension Wizard that did this. I didn’t check for a “current” update. It had a messy result.
The command you want in later releases is AeccImportLDTData. This is the Land Desktop Import tool found in the Insert Ribbon. You want only the Description Keys from the project to get you started.
I’ve pointed out in a blog post or two or four you probably want to do some block cleanup and renaming work BEFORE you do even the above for a host of reasons.
Best to read the posts to find out why.

Where the Rubber Meets the Road Ahead

Now we can move on to the more important task of creating an implementation and process that is really a lot more productive for your field crew people, your Civil 3D production users, your quality control processes and therefore the bottom line of many projects.

As is usual this requires some educated decisions. That requires some experience working inside Civil 3D and listening carefully to all the players involved. It’s a team sport.

Of course, if you just keep doing what you did before you’ll probably never see the need to do more.

This seems to me to be a phase that Civil 3D using organizations must go through.
Who I am to fight human inertia? Been there and got my tee shirt.

Is it time to put the petal to the metal?

Some Points Another Way

Next time we look at two approaches you can employ to get out of the woods and onto the highway.

Point Display Strategies - Part 1
Two Paths Out of the Woods - Part 2
The Point Director Method - Part 3
Point to My Match in Civil 3D - Part 4