AutoCAD 2016 saw the introduction of the Geometric Center object snap. If you aren’t familiar with this snap, it basically will snap to the “geometric center” of an object, such as a polyline. What’s the geometric center? Well, it’s the centroid or center of mass. The problem is, this snap is not available in the Snap Override menu within Civil 3D 2016 or 2017.

<note>It was pointed out to me that this doesn’t work in 2016. The shortcut menu in the ACAD.CUI that is installed with Civil 3D 2016 is incomplete as well. If you are using 2016, you’ll need to copy the menu from the ACAD.CUI that gets installed with AutoCAD, not the one installed with Civil 3D. Open the ACAD.CUI in the transfers tab and copy it over that way. </note>

AutoCAD vs. Civil 3D.png

AutoCAD vs. Civil 3D

You’ll also notice that in AutoCAD, you get the icons showing what the different snaps do whereas in Civil 3D, you don’t. If you want to enable this, you’ll need to replace the Civil 3D Snap Override menu with the AutoCAD version. To do this, go into your CUI editor (type CUI at the command line if you haven’t been there before).

Copy_Menu.png

Copy AutoCAD Menu

In the CUI, scroll towards the bottom (I hid the Command List to make it easier to see), expand out Partial Customization Files, ACAD, and Shortcut Menus. Under the Shortcut Menus, right click on “Object Snap Cursor Menu” and choose “Copy”. Now that the AutoCAD version is copied, we’ll go replace the Civil 3D version with the AutoCAD version. Collapse up the Partial Customization Files and expand out Shortcut Menus (directly under CIVIL), right click on Object Snap Cursor Menu and choose Delete.

Paste_Here.png

Replace the Civil 3D menu with the AutoCAD menu

Once the old menu has been deleted, right click on the Shortcut Menus and choose Paste. This will paste the AutoCAD version of the menu that we copied into the Civil CUI file. Now, simply close the CUI editor and return to Civil 3D and be happy with your new snap overrides menu.

Snap_Menu_in_Civil_3D.png

Civil 3D with the new snap menu

 

So, you’ve downloaded Civil 3D 2017 Service Pack 1 to fix those pesky issues. Which issues? These issues. Great, so you close out of Civil 3D, install the service pack, and the next time you’re in your drawing, you notice a whole bunch of warning symbols!

Glyphs

Glyphs Glyphs Everywhere!

What are these things? Well, they are a new feature that was added to Civil 3D 2017 in Service Pack 1. They let you know when a label has a text override. If you hold your mouse over the glyph, it will tell you what it’s there for.

Overriden_Text_Component.png

Tooltip when hovering over glyph

Just like the other warning symbols in Civil 3D, when the drawing is regened (run the REGEN command), the glyphs will always go back to a certain percentage of the screen size (I’m not exactly sure what that is and I don’t have a ruler handy to do the calculations).

I can see these symbols pretty much taking over a drawing so, how do you turn them off? Well, there are two ways:
1) Don’t override the text in your labels. I didn’t say they were both GOOD ways.
2) Turn off all the symbols like this in your drawing. I didn’t say either way were GOOD ways!

Yup, if you want them turned off, you have to disable the display of ALL of these warning symbols (Pressure Network Design Checks, Alignment Tangency Checks, Alignment Design Criteria Violations, Profile Horizontal Changes, etc.). To do this go into your AutoCAD OPTIONS and on the AEC Editor tab you’ll see a section called “Solution Tips” (these symbols are called “Solutions Tips” apparently). The two radio buttons allow you to control if you see the tips when drafting (i.e. in your drawing) and when your plot.

Solutions_Tips.png

Solutions Tips

I suppose the other option is to simply not install Service Pack 1. If you aren’t having any of the issues it says it fixes, and you don’t want these obnoxious symbols all over your drawing, I don’t see any super compelling reason to install it.

What do you think? Do you like the symbols? Do you hate them? Personally, I’ll give them a try. I always recommend to people that when Autodesk does something new to the software, give it a month. If after a month you don’t like it, then go back to the way it was. Now, if I could only figure out how to go back without uninstalling the service pack…

 

I’ve been doing this one for a long time and someone asked about it on the discussion groups recently. I figured I would link them to my blog showing them how to do it and I realized I’ve never written this one up.

So, here’s the problem, Civil 3D does not have dynamic labels for assemblies. There are labels for just about everything but not for assemblies.What do you do?

Well, it’s pretty simple, just add a piece of text adjacent to the assembly and then add a field to the text. To insert a field, you can click the button on the ribbon (as you are editing the text) or press ctrl+f.

Add a field to text

Add a field to text

In the field dialog box, you’ll want to change the category to “Objects”, choose “Object” from the list, and then select the object.

Choose an Object

Choose an Object

Once you’ve selected the assembly (the vertical line, not one of the subassemblies), you’ll want to choose “Name” from the list (not “Object Name” or you’ll get “AeccDbAssembly” in the text). You can also format the case of the text in the right hand window.

Adding the Name

Adding the Name

Once you are done, you’ll see the field in the text with the assemblies name. If you change the name of the assembly, the field will update when the drawing is regen’d (it’s not immediate like Civil 3D labels).

Label Added

Label Added

You can also copy the text, edit the field, and have it reference a different assembly. And, another cool thing, if you copy the assembly and the text together, the new text will reference the new assembly.

 

Well, it’s once again that time of year, we get to see what cool new features are available in the new release of Autodesk software. Well, do you want to see what I think the best features are? I’ll list a few of the new features in the order that I think they are the most beneficial. Of course I’ll leave the best for last so, ranked from 5-1, my top five features in Civil 3D 2017!

Splash_Screen

Autodesk AutoCAD Civil 3D 2017

5 – Object and Data Shortcut Folders

On large projects, managing all your data can be cumbersome at best. Having several different surfaces that end up getting combined into a single surface, multiple alignments for use in an interstate interchange, and the examples keep coming.

In Civil 3D 2017, we can now organize our object data and data shortcuts in folders, simply right click on the object collection and choose the Create Folder option. You can create as many folders as you like and can create sub-folders as well.

Not only is this option available for the objects, they are available for data shortcuts too. In fact, if you create a data shortcut for an object in a sub-folder, the data shortcut will be placed in an identical sub-folder in the project folder.

Object_Folders

Create sub-folders for objects and data shortcuts

On a related note, you can also create multiple data references at once. Just select all the data shortcuts you want to reference and drag them into your drawing (or right click and choose “Create Reference”). You won’t get the options you get when creating a single data reference but you could always go edit the ones you wanted to change from the default.

Multiple_References

Adding Multiple References at Once

4 – Style Management

There are a lot of situations where the current method of managing the styles within a drawing leave a lot to desire. Many companies have very strict CAD standards but how do you know if someone has changed a style? Other times, you may work with organizations that have different standards and you may work on these different projects daily. How do you keep track of which drawings need which styles?

Well, 2017 will greatly help you here, that’s for sure! You can now attach a drawing  or drawing template to a drawing as a “Referenced Template”. If styles in the template are changed, deleted, or added, the styles will be changed, deleted (if they aren’t being used), or added to the attached drawing. In fact, multiple Reference Templates can be added to a drawing (you can even create a template specific for a project and attach it to the project drawings only). The new command can be found on the Manage Tab of the Ribbon.

Reference_Template

Referenced Templates

3 – Pressure Network Content

This one is pretty huge and I almost placed it further down in the list but, it’s just content and not functionality. I often get asked if CAD-1 is going to create pressure network content for the Civil 3D Pressure Networks like we have for the Pipe Networks and I was always hesitant to do it because I figured Autodesk would create the content the release after I created ours. Looks like it worked out for me because that’s exactly what Autodesk did (without the me doing it first part).

In Civil 3D 2017, there has been a ton of added Pressure Network content! In fact, there are now 6 catalogs that are installed by default.

  • Flanged
  • HDPE
  • Mechanical
  • Push On
  • PVC
  • Steel

Just to give you an idea of some of the added content, the following image shows some of the appurtenances available in the PVC catalog and, yes, that’s a hydrant!

Sample_Catalog

PVC Catalog Appurtenances

2 – Featurelines as Corridor Baselines

This is one I’ve been anticipating for a long time! Yes, alignments and profiles are powerful and have a place for roadway design but sometimes you just need to push an assembly along a feature, well now you can. Featurelines can now be used as a baseline in a corridor!

Now, honestly, I probably wouldn’t use them much to replace the traditional alignment/profile workflow for roadway design but what about those offset targets? They can be used for assembly offsets too! And don’t forget curb and gutter in a parking lot!

Featureline_as_Baseline

Featureline as Corridor Baseline

1 – Corridor Corner Cleanup

And finally, you’ve made it all the way to number one! What do I think is the best feature out of everything that’s available in Civil 3D 2017? Well, that would have to be the Corridor Corner Cleanup! You have an angle point in your corridor baseline? (I almost typed alignment but a baseline can be a featureline now…) Does that angle point cause your corridor to do odd things such as crossing sections on the inside of the bend or short cutting on the outside?

With the new feature, this is no longer an issue! As long as the subassemblies used in that region of the corridor have a constant width (in other words daylight subassemblies don’t work yet), they will clean up to each other! Now, add this with the option to use a featureline as a baseline and you have amazing new tools for modeling a parking lot!

Corridor_Corner_Cleanup

Corridor Corner Cleanup

Bonus Feature

Ok, so this last one I’m not quite sure about yet. It’s a great tool, I’m just not sure how it would be used, it’s something I’m going to have to play around with for a bit and see how useful it is. What’s the feature? Well, Corridors can now be data referenced! It’s great that we can do it, I’m just not quite sure where it will fit into the workflow just yet. If you can think of how you would use it, just leave a comment and let us all know.

Data_Reference_Corridors

Data Reference Corridors

Final Thoughts

So, what do you think about these features? Would you have ordered them differently or added some of the others and removed some of these from the list?

All in all, I’m very excited about this release of the software! There’s a ton of new stuff in here but, it does come with a cost. Although AutoCAD 2017 still uses the 2013 .dwg format and is backwards compatible, Civil 3D 2017 is not backwards compatible. If you open a Civil 3D drawing in 2017 and save it, you won’t be able to use it in 2016 or earlier any longer so be cautious as you explore the new features, use copies of your drawings until you are ready to make the leap to the new version.

Now get out there and see what amazing out of the box ideas you can come up with now that we have these new capabilities!

So, I’ve been struggling for a long time with the reports in Civil 3D no longer working (at least some of the reports). It’s not directly an issue with Civil 3D, the issue is the reports only work on Internet Explorer 9 or earlier. If you have Internet Explorer 10 or newer, some of the reports don’t work. I say it’s not directly an issue with Civil 3D but, in my opinion, it’s rather silly that the reports haven’t been updated to work with the newer versions of Internet Explorer.

Anyways, I had a client call today asking about something completely different. He just recently upgraded his Civil 3D and was wondering why the ability To View Pipe Networks Part Catalog Content wasn’t working. Basically, you can double click on a .htm file in your pipe catalog and view the parts in Internet Explorer. Well, it turns out it works but not if you are using Internet Explorer (IE) 10. If you downgrade to IE 9 or earlier, it works just fine.

Pipe Catalog in Internet Explorer 10

Pipe Catalog in Internet Explorer 10

I sent him that information and he replied back with a workaround! I LOVE it when my clients teach me something new! Turns out, all you have to do is change the browser mode! Once the file is open (allow blocked content if prompted), press the F12 key, and change the browser mode! That’s it! I changed mine to IE 9 and now it works just fine!

Document Mode

Document Mode

This same technique works for the General Legal Description report from the Toolbox in Civil 3D. Run the report (make sure IE is the default browser!), change the document mode, and away you go!

General Legal Description Report in IE 10

General Legal Description Report in IE 10

On my computer I’m running Windows 7. If you are running Window 10, this still works (based on the limited testing I did with a coworker). The concept is the same but the layout is a little different. Here are the settings we used to get it to work in Windows 10.

Settings in Windows 10

Settings in Windows 10

Not sure what the warning are but it seems to have worked (didn’t test the report, just the Pipe Network Catalog).

Hopefully, this will help you all!

Ok, this has absolutely nothing to do with Civil 3D, civil engineering, and just a little bit about AutoCAD.

Anyways, I watched this cool video by Numberphile (it’s a YouTube channel that deals with numbers and math – or “maths” if your from outside the U.S.).

If you enjoyed it, go subscribe, it’s a great channel!

Anyways, I decided to try this out in AutoCAD and created a parametric drawing that shows this capability. If you would like to try it out yourself, you can download it HERE.

The white lines represent the triangle, the red lines are the medicenter, the yellow lines are the circumcenter, the green lines are the orthocenter, and the blue line goes from the orthocenter to the circumcenter passing through the medicenter.

Euler Line in Blue

Euler Line in Blue

In PART 1 of this series of posts, I showed you how to create a surface in Civil 3D from a shapefile that contained contour data. I also showed you some of the issues with using that command. In this post, I’ll show you how an alternative method for creating a surface from a shapefile. There are pros and cons to this method compared with the previous method:

  • Pros
    • Allows you to use all the data in the shapefile as needed.
    • Gives you control over the weeding and suplementing factors for the surface creation.
    • Allows you to use the correct options for minimizing flat areas.
  • Cons
    • There are a lot of steps to this process.
    • It potentially creates a much larger surface (data wise)

There are a lot of steps to this process so rather then detailing each step like I normally do, I’m going to summarize the steps here and then, if you need more detailed information, you can watch the included video.

  1. Import the shapefile into a drawing as AutoCAD entities (create object data from the shapefile data).
  2. Save the file as a new drawing and close it.
  3. Create a new drawing and attach the drawing with the contours to it via the Map Explorer in the Map Task Pane.
  4. Query the contours from the old drawing into the new drawing altering the elevations of the polylines to the elevation from the shapefile.
  5. Create a new surface.
  6. Add a dataclip boundary to the surface.
  7. Add the contours to the surface as contour data (make sure you toggle on all four minimize flat area options).

And that’s it! This will create a much better surface from your data but it definitely takes a lot longer to do.

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