Easily manage your Civil 3D Styles and Templates for FREE

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Getting the initial manuscript for my upcoming book AutoCAD and AutoCAD LT: No Experience Required submitted has made me fall behind on reading some of my favorite blogs. This morning I took a quick minute to get caught up on what’s happening in the blogosphere, and came across an announcement on the EE Civil3DPedia blog that made me double-check today was March 1, not April 1 (aka April Fool’s Day).

One of my biggest complaints about Civil 3D has been its lack of an easy way to manage styles and command settings across many drawings. It’s certainly not uncommon to add or even update a style to your companies’ Civil 3D template. Such revisions oftentimes mean changes to your default command settings, and so the domino effect begins. With styles you do at least have the option to drag-and-drop styles from one drawing to another, but even this method has its caveats. Command settings have always been a different story; short of manually making the change across multiple drawings, I have yet to find a great way to manage changes to command settings out of the box.

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Undocumented Civil 3D Commands for Sites

image A couple weeks ago, I had what some would call the perfect storm; a major deadline, crashing grading drawings, and managerial pressure to get it fixed yesterday. Trouble was, regardless of the series of commands I threw at the troublesome drawings, the errors remained, and the drawings continued to crash.  In fact, there was a time in the troubleshooting process that I questioned if the AUDIT command actually did anything, or if it was simply a random number generator.  Sometimes the number of errors went down, sometimes it went up, apparently the AUDIT command had become a mood indicator for Civil 3D.  Long story short, this problem had The CAD Geek stumped (it happens from time-to-time).

Pressures mounting, I called some friends from both Autodesk and my reseller Avatech.  I really have to give it to the folks at Avatech and Autodesk Subscription Support.  Their combined insight and expertise made this a support ticket with a happy ending.  Just how did we end up solving this problem?

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Acquiring, Converting, and Using DEM Downloads in Civil 3D

imageWhile importing surface data from Google Earth is probably the easiest way to get some conceptual topographical data into your drawings, DEM’s have to be a close second.  For the uninitiated, DEM’s or Digital Elevation Models could be described as a surface whose data is organized in a grid.  This is fundamentally different than DTM’s (standard Civil 3D surface) which still stores a collection of points, but in the form of triangles not a structured grid.  The great thing about DEM’s is they’re readily available for FREE from a wonderful website named the Geo Community.  Now don’t be fooled when you visit the site as you will see all sorts of premium content; never fear as there’s ample data that can be had for free!

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Tracking your position in View/Edit Corridor Section

When compared to Land Desktop’s View/Edit Sections command, Civil 3D has always been the winner.  Still it was easy to get lost modifying your corridor.  Did I need to modify station 13+25.17 or 13+25?  Prior to Civil 3D 2009 I always found myself flip-flopping between plan view and the View/Edit Corridor Section command.  Civil 3D 2009 introduces some secret superpowers to the View/Edit Corridor Section command.

You may have to dust off your AutoCAD for DOS manual (from the bygone era when Autodesk gave us printed manuals) to remember the VIEWPORTS command. For the uninitiated, no I am not speaking of paper space viewports, I’m talking about model space viewports. Simply stated the VIEWPORTS command will split your model space view into a designated number of windows.

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Simple Road Transition With Feature Lines

Among the new features in Civil 3D 2009 is the ability to target Feature Lines. For those who may still be transitioning from Land Desktop, a Feature Line is in essence a 3D Polyline on steroids. Since Feature Lines are a topic of their own, I will not digress any further than to say this post will only touch on the abilities of Feature Lines. Prior to the release of AutoCAD Civil 3D 2009, to create a transition we would have to use a second alignment. While this method worked it truly wasn’t optimal.

Creating your Assembly

imageFor those transitioning from LDT to C3D, Assemblies are what would otherwise be known as Templates in LDT. It should be noted that not all Subassemblies can transition. Consequently, as you construct your Assembly you’ll want to be sure to select an Assembly which can transition. For today’s discussion I am going to choose the “BasicLaneTransition” from the “Imperial-Basic” Tool Palette.

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