from Civil to Inventor

The Autodesk enthusiast exile

Part 3 of Point Creation Scenario

Check out Part 2 here.

In this discussion I will pick up here where we left off. We will cover Creating Points.
Here we will discuss:

  • Point Creation
  • Point Identity
  • Points created by Station and Offset on a Line
  • Minor adjustment to a Point Label Style
  • Editing Point Properties
  • Description Formatting

From the menu, select POINTS->CREATE POINTS

This dialog will appear.

Sometimes just the bar at the top will show. To the right is a double chevron button. Pick it to show the remaining vista. This vista shows all the point defaults and options you may have set in the command settings, as well as 2 additional key headers Points Creation, and Point Identity.

Learning all these areas and what they can do is important. However in our scenario today, we will focus on the latter 2.

Points Creation

Expand the header Points Creation and you will see the settings contained therein. I will leave everything default, except the following: Prompt for elevations, Prompt for Descriptions, and Default Description. My description keys will process the layer for me, but not any styles. I still need them on.

Since I am reducing these points from a field book, using an alignment, then I will need to set my elevations to whatever is written in the book. Set Elevation prompt to manual. During the process, the program will ask for the elevations. With the setting on Automatic, it feeds the elevation from the Default Description field. And there is also the setting for none. With this setting on, well you get……none.

The descriptions prompt will be set to manual. You could set this to automatic, but when variations occurred, you would have to switch it back and forth. Automatic is best if your descriptions area 85% or more 1description, and 15% other. If they are grouped by page, the automatic is definitely the way to go. If they are a bit scattered, the I like manual. Less time in a dialog, more time on the keyboard. Today we will be a bit scattered, so Set the Description Prompt to manual.

The focus today will be existing grade shots, on top of a natural sedimentary muck. The bridge going in will not set well on top of the muck. We need to know how much muck there is. Set the default description to GS-MUCK. You may have asked the question, Why set it here, if we are going to be using manual prompt? Later when I change the prompt setting to Automatic (because it suits the conditions), then that setting is waiting there.

Point Identity

Expand the header Point Identity and you should see the setting contained therein. I will leave everything default except Next Point Number. This is where you get the next point number……uuhh, yeah, anyway. I will set the number to go into the range with the previous exercise, 17053.

 [*TIP* If you are setting data back and forth to the field, or a contractor, and are using a dedicated range for these outgoing points, then fix the starting point for this range in the command settings. TOOLSPACE SETTINGS TAB->POINTS->COMMANDS->CREATE POINTS. Right click and edit. You should find the same settings there. Set the Next Point Number (make sure the number is not in use, otherwise it will revert to what was already there). Now each time you Create a point, the next number will increment from there. I set all mine at 4000-4999. No one else uses that range, so we don’t walk on each other’s point numbers.]

Points Created by Station Offset on a Line


Rather than going through the great fun that having an alignment provides, I chose to simply use a line object. I set the endpoint at a known station and extend it’s length through the area I need to create in. It’s a temporary alignment. This works well if you are doing something fast, or the alignment changes everyday, and you are not dependant on having it for typical workflow.

The software asks me to select the line (always select near the lower station endpoint). Then it asks what the beginning station is. I enter 4200. Then it asks what station, and then what offset. Once there, it asks what the description should be. I set the points using the following description: GS-MUCK 14.0.

(this example was clipped at a later time, so the valued aren’t like the other examples….sorry)

 Then it asks what the elevation should be. I set 15.7 . Then it asks what station, and we begin the cycle again. When you are done simply ENTER out until you are back to the command prompt.

We will discuss the odd description format soon. All the points enter the area expected, but the bottom field looks funny. They DON’T look like the example below and we wanted them to.

They actually say GS-MUCK 14.0 . Let’s fix that now.

Minor adjustment to a Point Label Style

First we go to the Label Style Composer. TOOLSPACE->SETTINGS TAB->POINTS->POINTS STYLE->Right click on “MUCK” style->LAYOUT TAB.

In the Bottom of Muck component (Full Description) we change the text height to 0.06″. Then in contents we add () around the field in the right pane of the editor dialog as shown below.

Now onto the Elevation component, and change the precision to 1. Remember to make sure the field on the right pane highlights, after you change the precision, force the update my clicking the ARROW BUTTON. Pick OK until you are returned to the application. REGEN.

 Now the data points I formatted like this. Pretty!

The point group we had created in the previous exercise does not know about these points, but I want them included (My organization groups are field note oriented). I don’t want to use a range for this, because the only “GS-MUCK” I have in this project is this group. I could use the Point Number range, but the description is more convenient. If we were to add some more of this type to another setup, then this WILL have to be changed.

[*TIP*: For your organization groups, use INCLUDE TAB->WITH NUMBER MATHCING. For your display and function groups, use INCLUDE TAB->WITH RAW DESCRIPTION MATCHING. For your export groups, use POINT GROUPS TAB-> select groups to query.]

Editing Point Properties

Next we need to provide some changes to the points.

Proceed to the TOOLSPACE TAB->PROSPECTOR->POINT GROUPS->Right Click the organization group for the muck shots, and select EDIT POINTS.

Here you should see that I have some stray layers. Hmmm…. Select the upper point and lower point rows that need to be changed. Right Click the Point Layer Column Header, and select Edit. You should be able to scroll to the layer you need. NOTE: you cannot create a new layer here. Possible wish list item. I use the layer “PNT-TRAV-CK”. These are all check shots.

 [*TIP*: When selecting point rows, click in the grayed (or sometimes green) fields. These cannot be accidentally edited, and ar more convenient to select rows with.]

Here I make the decision to set the point style for each point manually. It would have been suitable for these to be controlled by a Parent Point Group for function, but I don’t need another function group (I have about 50 point groups in this project). I also don’t mind if these stay this way.

Once again select the upper point and lower point rows that need to be changed. Right Click the Point Style and Point Label Style Column Headers respectively, and select Edit.

You should be able to scroll down to the styles you wish to use. I have chosen the styles we created in the last post.

Description Formatting

As of right now, the points display “GS-MUCK –” etc. This is not the intent, as I don’t want to see the “GS-MUCK” part of the description.

We need some assistance. Notice the Description Format column next to the Full Description. This field takes the data from the Raw Description field, and formats it into the Full Description field. It looks for SPACES in the Raw Description and separates strings in the description using the spaces. This is why we left a space after the text “GS-MUCK”. The first string is 0, the second is 1, and so forth. The nomenclature for getting the string is the old Basic language ‘$’. So to have the second string in the description (the one we are using here), enter $1. That is what I did to the entire collection of ‘muck’ shots. See below. You should also note the Full Description has changed.

 They should all update as above.

Now, one last item needs to be addressed. That is the existing grade shots that had no secondary elevation. These are just ground shots. However for this sketch, I want them to have a nice appearance. I have created a separate style the appears muck like the old table drafting spot grade style, with the elevation split so that the decimal appears as the grade locator, the point Marker. I will not go into that in this exercise (you know I will update this post later, because it will bother me until I get it done), but I will show you the change to the point properties.

As before, select the upper point and lower point rows that need to be changed. Right Click the Point Style and Point Label Style Column Headers respectively, and select Edit. I chose the newly created spot grade styles.

And this is what you get.


Civil 3D Menu

October 15, 2008 - Posted by | Points | , , , , , , , , , , ,


  1. OK. I am with you here except that if I want to Create a Random Point on a surface, I can’t figure out how to get that point to create with a particular style (or added to a particular group, if that’s the better way).

    Case study: I want to put Grading Plan points on a surface. So I have a Grading Plan Point Style and a Grading Plan Point Label Style. How do I tell Civil 3D to use those styles when I Create Random Point?

    I see in the Create Points box under the Default Styles heading that there is apparently a selection item for Point Style and Point Label Style. But mine are grayed out. What’s up with that? Do you have a clue for me?

    Much thanks and respect,


    Comment by Tom Haws | April 2, 2009 | Reply

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