It’s an exciting time of year for all of us Civil Software Geeks, new software is coming out and we get to see the new and exciting things in the latest release. If you haven’t seen it yet, check out my recap of What’s New in InfraWorks 2016.1. I just downloaded the latest release of Civil 3D 2016 and there are several things that are new. Here are the things in this release and the bold ones are the ones I’ll be discussing:

  • Manage data shortcuts to repair broken shortcuts and replace DWG objects
  • Display vault project objects that exist in subfolders within object type
  • Create data references to objects that exist in different vault projects
  • Import and export IFC (Industry Foundation Class) files
  • Select alignments by layer to be used as width and targets
  • Control the direction of sections in section views
  • Subbassembly Composer loop geometry support
  • Create exclusionary catchments
  • Crossing pipe and pressure pipe profile view labels
  • Pressure pipe labels in section views
  • Import Bridges from InfraWorks into Civil 3D

Just because I’m not discussing them here doesn’t mean they aren’t great improvements, it’s just that I haven’t installed Vault 2016 yet and I haven’t had a chance to learn what an IFC file is yet.

Oh, one more thing before I get started, NO DRAWING FORMAT CHANGE! That’s right, 2016 has the same drawing format as 2013. They’ve broken the 3 year cycle on changing the drawing format.

Manage Data Shortcuts

This one is sweet! Ever have a drawing move or have IT move data to a different drive? I know what you’re thinking, “Brian! They would never do that!” Yeah right. Anyways, this command allows you to repath your data references to a new drawing or to the original drawing if it moved on you. Not only that, you can replace an object in your drawing with a data reference and all the references to that original drawing are maintained!

Manage Data References

Manage Data References

Another fantastic thing that isn’t advertised in the “What’s New”, YOU DON’T HAVE TO SAVE PRIOR TO CREATING DATA SHORTCUTS!!!!!!

Data Shortcuts Without Saving

Data Shortcuts Without Saving

Alignment Targets By Layer

If you have several alignments that a corridor region needs to target, you can now choose the targets by layer.

Alignment Targets By Layer

Alignment Targets By Layer

Section View Display Direction

Section Views have finally caught up to Profile Views, they can be drawing “Right to Left” or “Left to Right”. This should make all those hydraulic modelers happy!

Section View Direction

Section View Direction

Subassembly Composer Loop

Have you needed to put benches in your daylight or a series of walls or something else repetitive in your subassembly? New in 2016, you can now add a loop component that will continue until either a criteria is met or a maximum number of iterations has been done (this keeps it from blowing up on you).

Subassembly Loop

Subassembly Loop

Exclusionary Catchments.

I’ve always liked the idea of creating catchments (or drainage areas or drainage basins or whatever term they use in your area) in Civil 3D from a surface but the problem has always been, but what if I need to subdivide this large basin into smaller ones? For example, I have a road with inlets at a low point and so I create a catchment to that inlet but, the flow in the street is too big. What do you do? You add an inlet upstream and then define a catchment to it. Now in 2016, this new catchment area will be removed from the original catchment so you won’t have duplicate areas!

First Catchment Added

First Catchment Added

Additional Catchment Added

Additional Catchment Added

Crossing Pipe Labels

We’ve been asking for this one for a LONG time and it’s finally here! We can label the a pipe where it crosses in a profile view!

Crossing Pipe Label

Crossing Pipe Label

In the image you can also see the different crossing properties that you can place in your label.

Pressure Pipe Labels in Section Views

In addition to being able to label pressure pipes crossing in a profile view, you can also label them crossing in a section view as well.

Pressure Pipe Crossing Section

Pressure Pipe Crossing Section

Import Bridges from InfraWorks

So, you have InfraWorks 360 with the Roads and Highways and the Bridge tools and you’ve created a nice bridge in InfraWorks. When you import that model into Civil 3D 2016, the bridge comes along as well now!

Bridge from InfraWorks into Civil 3D

Bridge from InfraWorks into Civil 3D

So, what do you think of Civil 3D 2016?

A lot of people I’ve talked to recently have been confused on the new release of InfraWorks 2015. Do I have that tool? If not, why? And where do I get it?

First off, if you haven’t checked out the new InfraWorks, you really should. They’ve made some great changes to it! It’ has a brand new user interface (UI) and some great new functionality.

InfraWorks 2015 User Interface

InfraWorks 2015 User Interface

That’s all nice but, what is available? Well, there are now two versions of InfraWorks for 2015: InfraWorks and InfraWorks 360. If you have one of the suites (Infrastructure Design Suite Premium or Ultimate or the Building Design Suite Ultimate) you have InfraWorks.

InfraWorks

What’s available in InfraWorks? Well, pretty much everything you had in the Premium Suite from last year. This includes:

  • Creating the existing model from GIS data
  • Laying out proposed features (roads, buildings, plants, coverage areas, etc.)
  • Visualization and storytelling
  • Sight analysis
  • Theme features based on their data
  • Shadows and lighting
  • Many more

InfraWorks 360

So, what do you get if you have InfraWorks 360? Well, first off, you get everything you get with InfraWorks plus:

  • Online collaboration with other InfraWorks 360 users.
  • Publishing scenarios for online viewing by anyone.
  • Using Autodesk servers to convert 3D models to InfraWorks data.
  • Model Builder – Create a model simply by choosing the area you are interested in on a map (this is a preview function and may not be in the product in the future).
  • Add-on advanced design tools

Basically, if it touches the cloud, you need InfraWorks 360.

Model Builder Preview

Model Builder Preview

Missing Features?

At first glance, it may seem as though there are some missing features such as the Roadway design, profile optimization, intersections, etc. Well, these are available in that “Add-on advanced design tools” listed above but, they are just that, an add-on. They don’t come with either InfraWorks or InfraWorks 360 but if you want that functionality, they only work on InfraWorks 360, not InfraWorks.

Autodesk Roadway Design

The Autodesk Roadway Design add-on allows you to do the things that were available in the ultimate suite from 2014.  This includes:

  • Design Roadways with true curves and spirals
  • Apply different styles and number of lanes for regions of a road
  • Profiles with vertical curves
  • Intersections between design roads
    • Ability to edit curb returns and add in turn lanes
    • Create site triangles
  • Profile optimization (requires cloud credits)
  • Corridor optimization (requires cloud credits and is currently a preview functionality only)
Design Road Intersection with Site Triangles

Design Road Intersection with Site Triangles

Autodesk Bridge Design

The Autodesk Bridge Design allows you to create very realistic bridges as well as edit things such as number of piers, pier locations, concrete or steel, etc.

Bridge created in InfraWorks 360

Bridge created in InfraWorks 360

Other Add-ons

When InfraWorks 360 first came out for the 2015 version, there was some preview functionality (it timed out May 7th, 2014). Examples of this was Drainage Areas and Culvert Design. The Culvert Design tools did just that, it added a culvert under the roadway. The Drainage Areas would delineate the contributory area to a design point or road that crosses a drainage way. Remember, these are previews of upcoming technology and there is no guarantee that they will be a part of the final product (in other words, don’t buy the software expecting this functionality).
Culvert Design

Licensing

This is the important part! If you have a suite version of InfraWorks, you’re good to go. Nothing new here. But, if you want InfraWorks 360, there are some things you have to be aware of.

Desktop Subscription

InfraWorks 360 and it’s add-ons are only available via Desktop Subscription. What is Desktop Subscription? It’s, in essence, a term license of the software. You purchase a license of InfraWorks 360 and you get access to it for a set term (1 month, quarter, or year). Another thing to note, this license is assigned to a specific user. That user needs an Autodesk ID (they are free) and that license will be assigned to that user. Your software manager can assign those licenses to what ever user in your organization you want.

The nice thing about Desktop Subscription is you can get the software for just the time you need. Got a project that you need 10 users to be able to access the software but the project is only going to last a year, you only pay for that software for a year.

More Information

If you want more information, check out the Autodesk website for comparing the different version of InfraWorks. Since the Autodesk website often changes, I’ve printed out that page and included a link to the .pdf HERE.

If you have any questions about this, make sure you talk to your reseller. If they can’t help you, let me know and one of the sales folks at CAD-1 can help you!

As I’m sure most of my readers are aware, with the 2013 release, the ability to import images from Google Earth was not included. The fine folks at Autodesk have been working on getting us a replacement and this is it (at least for imaging). When you are in a drawing that is georeferenced (the tutorial file “Intro-1.dwg” works if you want to test it out) all you have to do is turn on the image.

In the drawing (with the assigned coordinate system), simply go to the Geolocation tab on the ribbon and choose the Online Map type you want.

Map Type

Map Type

You’ll need to log in to your Autodesk account (if you don’t have one, they’re free) and agree to the terms, etc. etc. Once you’ve done this, your image just shows up (provided you have a decent internet connection). Nothing too new here, we’ve been able to do this for a while (see my other posts HERE and HERE).

So, what’s new in 2015, THEY PLOT!!!!!

Ok, so there’s another step you have to take before they’ll plot but it’s not difficult, you have to capture an area. Once the imagery has been displayed in your drawing, go back to the Geolocation tab and choose “Capture Area”.

Capture Area

Capture Area

After you have captured the area, a new object type will be created, a GEOMAPIMAGE or “Map Image” as it’s displayed on the ribbon when selected. This object will plot as you can see in this plot preview:

Plot Preview

Plot Preview

Another really cool thing about the GEOMAPIMAGE is, if you edit the image extents, the image will update. Simply select the image frame, adjust a grip, and the image updates. Additionally, if you need a better resolution or less resolution, when you select the image, you’ll have those options on the Ribbon.

Image Options

Image Options

Oh, and by the way, this isn’t really a Civil 3D feature, this is a core AutoCAD feature!

So, if you haven’t heard yet, Civil 3D 2015 is due out soon. Wondering what’s new in the latest and greatest? Well, the C3D team has released the help for 2015 already. If you are interested, you can find the new features listed HERE.

Stay tuned. As the software gets released, you’ll see some more detailed information on exactly what’s in the new version.

W08_C3D_install_help_banner

So, Civil 3D 2013 is just around the corner and I wanted to let you all know a few of my favorite things in this release.

PERFORMANCE

Well, I can’t really comment on the performance yet as I haven’t had much chance to push the software around but, if you listen to those in the know, they’ve made some serious improvements to the performance.

SURVEY

There are some major improvements to the survey tools in this release. In fact, there is an entire new tab on the ribbon for your survey tools. What’s the big thing? Querying your survey database. One of the things I’ve always found awkward about the survey database is the disconnect between it and the drawing. With this release you can query your survey database and add the results of the query directly to a surface. If you add additional data to the survey database that matches the query, when you rebuild your surface, it will update (in my testing, the surfaces wasn’t marked as out of data if the survey database changed).

Survey Query

Survey Query Ribbon Tab

Now that’s pretty cool and really useful for surveyors but, there is also the ability to create a line label, WITHOUT A LINE! How many times have I been asked if you can do this? I’ve lost count and now I’ll be able to say, YES!

Line Between Two Points Label

Basically this tool creates a phantom line that is labeled. Grab the label and you can adjust the points it’s labeling between.

Transportation

I’m an engineer. Why did I get into engineering? I wanted to drive trains. Three years into college and I realize that I won’t be driving any trains (I was wondering what statics had to do with trains) but now with Civil 3D 2013, I can design rail lines. There are new alignment types and settings (I’ve seen many times on the discussion groups people asking about Degree of Curvature and now we have it). Honestly, I’ve not done much with the rail tools in 2013 so I’ll leave that for someone else to write up (at least for now).

Rail Cant

The corridor creation has a new dialog box that makes it a bit easier. It’s a small improvement but hey, I’ll take anything they’ll give me. The assemblies have had some very nice improvements. When you add a subassembly to another subassembly, it will detect the correct side that it’s on for you so you don’t have to constantly change the sides as you are creating the assembly. Additionally, you can replace an existing subassembly in an assembly as well as insert a subassembly between two subassemblies.

Insert Subassemblies

Surfaces

The Volume Dashboard Extension is now a part of the program. If you have checked out this great tool, check out the write up I did on it earlier HERE.

One thing that I always struggled with is when you need to cut out one surface at the limit of another surface. Not a difficult task but if you change these surfaces, the process for adding the boundary again is very manual in nature. Now you can simply add one surface as a hide boundary to another surface (be careful not to get into a circular reference issue).

Surface as Hide Boundary

Pressure Networks

Yup, you heard me. You can now model pressure networks in Civil 3D 2013. There is a brand new type of object, a Pressure Network. It has it’s own parts lists and everything. Bends, tees, crosses, valves, etc are all available for you to add to your network. This is a pretty big addition to Civil 3D and I haven’t had a lot of time to get down and dirty with this yet so stay tuned for more posts on this topic as I learn the ins and outs of this.

Hopefully you’ve seen something here that makes you go, “Oooh! I can use that!”

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