from Civil to Inventor

The Autodesk enthusiast exile

Civil 3D – How do you use Civil?

Autodesk products have a long history of broad uses, form common to the really odd.  I first noted this when I began programming many years ago.  However as I began to concentrate on Civil 3D more and less on programming, this nuance faded from my consciousness a bit.  (I see it more on the Inventor side as I do more training and support).

The differing uses became quite evident during numerous meetings at AU this past December.  I met many people from different industries, and ran into situations with uses that varied significantly.

That said, I’d like to invite everyone to post how they use Civil 3D.  Just drop us a quick line about what you do and how you use the software.

  • What industry you work in?
  • In what daily capacity do you use Civil 3D?
  • What major portion of Civil do you use?
  • What major portion of civil do you not use?
  • What is your most and least favorite part of civil?
  • What is the wierdest, strangest, and off the wall thing Civil 3D has performed for you?

I will post the results in my next AUGI World Column.  I’d like to detail a wide cross section of uses, so get everyone you know to post their thoughts.

Here is your chance to get your name out there. I’ll credit those who participated and their company in the article.  I think this will turn out really great if we can get some participation.

January 6, 2010 - Posted by | AutoCAD Civil 3D, Autodesk University, industry | , , , , ,


  1. 1. AEC Industry | Civil Engineering

    2. Develop site construction drawings for new buildings, roads, utilities, or rehab of civil engineering structures (storm, sewer, roads, etc..)

    3. [in order] Corridor modeling | Pipe Networking | Featurelines\Grading objects | Parcels

    4. If it were Land Desktop I would say Cross Sections, but with Civil 3D we use it all and as much as possible. If there had to be a least used piece it would have to be Parcels due to the workflow and complexity to achieve the required detailed labeling of a property.

    5. [Most Favorite]: Corridor Modeling is the most favorite. Like I said, we mostly did not use Cross Sections in LDT because templates were so difficult to understand and very error prone.
    [Least Favorite]: That would have to be Grading Objects and Parcels. Grading Objects need major debugging in the software. Also, Parcels doesn’t lend themselves to a good work flow. For a subdivision plan, the easies workflow that I have found is to have three separate drawings: one for Existing Parcels, one for Subdivision Parcels, and one for Final Parcels. Some might say that you can have all three in the same drawing but in different Sites, but with that approach you tend to have a layering issues/nightmare since all the parcels are one object type and are placed on the same object layer by default.

    6. Modeling forcemain, waterline, stream restoration, and pond berms with the Corridor tools. Changing sewer line sizes for an entire system in 10 minutes and having it update all the plan view & profile linework, labels, notes, and tables automatically; all in separate drawings. I don’t know if this counts toward ‘crazy use of Civil 3D’, but it does count towards productive use of Civil 3D in my book!

    Comment by Mark Spatz | January 6, 2010 | Reply

    • Thanks Mark! Now that’s an awesome response! I hope everyone else puts in as much as you did. Can I contact you if I need som additional input?

      Comment by John Evans | January 6, 2010 | Reply

  2. […] This post was mentioned on Twitter by Lynn Allen, Donnie Gladfelter. Donnie Gladfelter said: Help shape an AUGIWorld article and by sharing how you use Civil 3D […]

    Pingback by Tweets that mention Civil 3D – How do you use Civil? « from Civil to Inventor -- | January 6, 2010 | Reply

  3. Site Development
    Civil Engineer
    Most Fav: API capabilities
    Least Fav: The lack of development of pipes.
    Don’t have one that I can think of right now.

    Comment by Christopher | January 7, 2010 | Reply

    • Thanks again Chris

      Comment by John Evans | January 7, 2010 | Reply

  4. What industry you work in?
    Civil Development (Residential, Commercial and Industrial)

    In what daily capacity do you use Civil 3D?
    Site design, utility design and analysis, residential subdivision design including roads, storm drains and sewers.

    What major portion of Civil do you use?
    Corridor modeling, surfaces, and pipes.

    What major portion of civil do you not use?
    Cross Sections: Very little work that we do requires sections.

    What is your most and least favorite part of civil?
    Favorite part is shear power. This program can do almost anything you can imagine. I try to tell the users in our company that the imagination is the only limitation of this software. Unfortunately, just because you can do it does not make it easy. Least favorite is H&H tools. In my opinion they are horible user interface and not customizable.

    What is the wierdest, strangest, and off the wall thing Civil 3D has performed for you?
    Most off the wall, I have done is a drainage study of 250 acres in about 2 hours using a combination of surfaces, watershed deliniation in surface, Map overlays, and parcels. Not only did I analyze the drainage area, all the area calculations left me with a drafted DA Map. I did it so quick, I took the afternoon off.

    Comment by Andy Whaley | January 14, 2010 | Reply

  5. 1) Wind Engineering
    2) Digital modeling of wind tunnel projects for physical model creation
    3) Surfaces
    4) Survey/Points
    5) The lack of visualization capabilities – can’t export a surface to 3D DWF?
    5) Creating a TIN surface for an entire Hawaiian island, then exporting it to a CNC Router to manufacture a physical model.

    Comment by Mark P | January 14, 2010 | Reply

  6. What industry you work in?
    Civil Engineer

    Mostly use the software for windfarm site tracks at planning stage.

    What is your most and least favorite part of civil?
    I like doing the alignment work and corridors
    Don’t like exporting things for GIS work, its touch and go on when it works and its very bulky.

    What is the wierdest, strangest, and off the wall thing Civil 3D has performed for you?
    not really strange but I have used it to work out dredging volumes. Also playing around to try and make a peat depth map based on site tests and a DTM data.

    Comment by Chris | January 15, 2010 | Reply

  7. 1. Civil Engineering / Site Development
    2. Typically, I use Civil 3d to knock out projects – grading, pipes, plan sets, calculations, etc.
    3. Surfaces the most. Points always.
    4. Rendering capability. Survey Database a close second.
    5. Most favorite: Cross-Section material calculations.
    Least favorite:Survey Database
    6. Craziest? I had to perform earthwork calculations for a large redevelopment site to mediate a dispute between the owner and excavator of the amount of excavation and backfill. They wanted the cut and fills volumes gridded into a small grid. We had done all of the surfaces originally in LDD. In a short amount of time, I took Civil 3d did the comparison surfaces, parceled out the few hundred little parcels and created a multiple parcel output volume report to Excel, add some color and dazzle both owner and contractor.

    Comment by Matthew Anderson, PE | January 15, 2010 | Reply

  8. I also meant to say I have used corridors to design borrow pits.

    Comment by Chris | January 15, 2010 | Reply

  9. hmmm seems my first post didn’t work!

    Ill start again.

    I’m a civil engineer I use Civils mostly for Windfarm site track design around the Welsh valleys in the UK. I use the MAP side of things alot for importing and displaying GIS info.

    I enjoy working with alignments and corridors/assemblies.

    I don’t like exporting information for GIS use, it’s just a pain! I also dislike the grading and avoid using it where I can.

    Non-standard stuff:

    As above borrow pits with corridors, soon Crane hard standings with corridors. Dredging volumes. I’m also working on a way to create a 2nd surface based on peat depth data and DTM data.

    Hope this post sticks!

    Comment by Chris | January 15, 2010 | Reply

  10. 1. Civil Engineering firm – I create site design, Street & parking, drainage design, landscape & irrigation design, subdivision design & plats, ADA compliance
    2. Civil design including site work, drainage, streets & parking design
    3. Surfaces, Parcels, Alignments, Corridors & Pipes
    4. Have not yet used Civil 3D for earthwork claculations, pond volumes, intersection design or H&H tools
    5. Most favorite = dynamic model & update from revision
    Least favorite = editing parcel labels
    6. Not weird but unexpected – the first part I created in the part builder for storm drain junction box actually worked!!!

    Comment by Kelly Rosenbaum | January 23, 2010 | Reply

    • #6 – First part builder worked!! HAHAHA!
      Thanks again for the post.

      Comment by John Evans | January 25, 2010 | Reply

  11. i am civil engineering mtech student. construction technology and management is my mtech in iitm.i am more intresting in analysis and design so i choose design of launching girder and 3d modeling of that ,is my mtech project. i dont know this inventer useful for my project.i am searching for new softwares for doing my project. kindly give sugession and solution for my problem.i weak in comunication skills so i am writing like this.please give me reply.

    Comment by chandramouli | May 1, 2010 | Reply

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