from Civil to Inventor

The Autodesk enthusiast exile

Civil 3D – Stop using context menu for Major Style Edits

This option costs me SOOOOO much time every day.  Well, that and not saving valuable changes to my template.  So in tune with James’ famous PLEASE STOP posts, I’ll post some of my own now and then, mostly for my own sake.  Perhaps I’ll save a few of you some frustration.

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Editing a style by selection through a Right Click Context menu is such a cool, convenient option, right. So much so, that faced with a large amount of style tuning, I’ll pick it anyhow.  JUST STOP!!  Break the habit.

Why?

Here’s the thing.  It all revolves around this magic button.

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March 1, 2010 Posted by | 2010, AutoCAD Civil 3D, Autodesk, Label Styles | , , , , , | 1 Comment

Civil 3D – 3D Laser Webcast

image Autodesk sent out invitations to a webcast Thursday, February 25, 2010, presenting the first in a 3-part series discussing laser scanning technologies for infrastructure projects.  The 1 Hr event kicks off at 10:00 hrs PST.

  • Laser scanning technologies available
  • industry perceptions
  • various point cloud topics

Register Now   

February 18, 2010 Posted by | 2010, AutoCAD Civil 3D, Autodesk, Points, SAP | , , , , | Leave a comment

Civil 3D – Google Earth export

image Everything in the world seems to point into Google Earth.  The problem is that we receive GE KML files coming and going.  Client’s send them to us, we send them to crews, we send them to clients and contractors.  Generally these get sent to everyone. 

I found that everyone seems to have converters for Google Map to Google Earth, Excel to GE, ESRI SHP to GE, you name it.  I bet my wife has something that will export one of her Facebook games to GE.

I figured there were numerous options when my VP asked for something to export a KML file to ascii LAT/LON, or even to UTM/SP Grid.  I think he’ll take it any way he can get it.  I know he’s looking at ME to write it in .NET, but my working with Tekni takes all my personal time, so I need to head this off quickly.

“You know it will cost you more for me to code and debug it, than if we outsourced it. “ I said, “But I know a guy  who’ll do it for next to nothing”.  Yeah… the look I was getting said he wasn’t too hip on paying anything beyond my salary.   “Ok ok, let me go online and try to find something, then we’ll talk about outsourcing”.

After searching the wrong keywords (google and Excel) for half an hour, I found this under “KML to CSV”: 

http://freegeographytools.com/2009/online-kml-to-shapefile-converter

These folks have a slough of data outputs.  You can Import the file, or paste the KML string.  It’s online PHP, and convenient.  The output formatting is a bit caste,  but very little rework will be needed.  It’s free, and there are many options, as well as other programs. 

It got me off the hook, and it might help you.

As for using GE with Civil, I still have not seen the scaling fix yet.

February 15, 2010 Posted by | AutoCAD Civil 3D | , , , , , | Leave a comment

Civil 3D – Label Expressions

Check out my latest article “A quick fix with Label Expressions” on Civil 3D.com

http://www.civil3d.com/2010/02/a-quick-fix-with-label-expressions/

February 10, 2010 Posted by | 2010, AutoCAD Civil 3D, Autodesk, Labels, Pipes | , , , , | 1 Comment

Civil 3D – Lone Parcel Segment Site

Parcels are composed of Parcel Segments.  These are created when the Parcel was defined.  They however can be estranged for various reasons, including half of the parcel was erased. 

We always (at least I hope always) work from the larger parcel inward to a smaller division.  I have gone so far as to create a huge overall parcel in the background to help me when I knew the developer would add some land to the design later.  I have a few of those that would guarantee that nothing will change later.  It always changes.

Say for example you have a small Parcel isolated within a big Parcel.  Erase one of the sides to the smaller Parcel, and the contents bleed out to the larger one.  No problem. However the remaining sides (Parcel Segments) of the isolated parcel are still there.

The important thing to remember is that these belong to a Site.  If you check the Segments, they are tagged accordingly.

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I was cleaning up my design, and needed 2 things:

  1. to get rid of empty sites
  2. to remove land from the design and send it to the plat to the East.

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This Site was empty, so I erased it.  Subsequently I erased the Parcel Segment I planned to work with. Undo!!

The solution was to move the segment to the appropriate site.

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Use the context sensitive Ribbon Panel.  I do love the Ribbon.

Once moved the Parcel automatically joins in with the others, and we change the style to match the adjacent plat. 

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This could not have gone better.  One of the keys to making Civil 3D fun is effective organization of your Sites and styles. Amazingly cool.

February 1, 2010 Posted by | 2010, Labels, Parcels | , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Civil 3D – Error Code 21 and User Rights

Last week a new student contacted me regarding an educational install of AutoCAD, and an odd error code that did not bring much from Google.  On first run, this error flags and shuts them down.

Unable to Initialize ADLM – Internal Error Message Error Code <21>

After some research I came up empty, except that some other folks had similar issues, but no one commented.  So I suggested the “reinstall option” and checking the user rights. 

User rights was the ticket.  Make sure your user account has sufficient rights to ADLM, file and template structures, and any the Program Data file locations.

January 11, 2010 Posted by | 2010, AutoCAD Civil 3D, Error Code | , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Not just another Space Pilot Review

subnav101a3D Connexion released the newest creation in their line 3D navigation tools, the Space Pilot Pro.  I have always been fascinated by 3D Connexion’s tools, as they clearly are unique items.  However I kept them at a distance because of a few factors: Price, Uneasiness, and Dependency. 

If I can’t have it, I usually won’t go play with it.  This keeps my marriage in tact as well.

Price  – I believe that at least 50% of the users out there know something about these devices, and know they are fairly expensive.  Well, this is partially true.  If you get in at sale time, you can pickup a notebook model for 80 USD.  I don’t think there are any buttons, just view mobility.  That’s still a nice item for 80 bucks.  The new deluxe model comes in at 500 USD.  That’s pricey.

Uneasiness – Mostly my innate lack of desire to change something that works; namely the way I have been doing it.   The 3 button mouse and an ALT key covers a lot of ground.  I watched some field experts navigate quite well with a 3 button mouse, and there was no lack of speed.  Which brings us to the last item.

Dependency – Ever since Vibrant Graphics dumped us old people, I have been very jaded about dependency on non-OEM functionality.  I still wrote C++/C# code, but usually this was to cover things that were reasonably impossible with other methods.  No odd command aliases, no large menu configurations, mostly out of the box.  This way I would never be bent over the way I was in 2000, when I had to relearn the interface.

AU2009

These 3D mice have always been super-popular at AU. So I decided to do a few 3D Connexion promotions for the upcoming Tekni Creative Inventor training, and the powers that be agreed to pay for the mice.  I however was not one of the lucky ones that will get said mice.

The curiosity was killing me.  While I’d like to try it in Inventor, my question is how will it work in Civil?

So my associates introduced me to some people at 3D Connexion, and Walt and Company, and they kindly agreed to let me play with one of the new toys.  During the last discussion, they asked what I intended to do with it, and I told them I intended to review the product in different environments, and then publish the results.  A few days later a new Space Pilot Pro ended up on my door step.  Like a kid in a candy shop.

The Box

SNC00002 I told my boys, “That’s Daddy’s, get away!” I threw in the universally understood word: “Mine!”.  They reluctantly backed off.  I told my youngest, “It’s not food, go away”. 

What came in the box was a folder from the company, containing some fact sheets, Company Rep contact info, the driver CD, and the Space Pilot Pro….and a note that said basically “If you need any assistance, please call.” 

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January 8, 2010 Posted by | AutoCAD Civil 3D, Autodesk, Autodesk University, Inventor | , , , , , , | Leave a comment

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 | , , , , , | 14 Comments

AUGI World Mag – Civil 3D SAP

AUGI World 6 Check out the Civil 3D column for details on the Civil 3D Subscription Advantage Pack in AUGI World Magazine.  Page 26.

AUGI World issue 6 low-resolution (9MB) version

AUGI World issue 6  high-resolution (47.5MB) version

Browse all AUGI World issues

December 22, 2009 Posted by | 2010, AUGI, AutoCAD Civil 3D, SAP | , , , , | Leave a comment

Civil 3D – Existing Pipe Network Tip

We often do not create any Pipe Networks to represent the existing utility mains in a project.  There is usually limited information on the correct depth of the utilities, even with a utility spot.  The best we can hope for is to draw the main in the plan view based on paint markings, and draw the crossings in our profile manually based on an approximate depth after a phone call to the respective agency.

On a recent design, not knowing the depth of the existing utility mains was a problem.  We have Force Main and Water Main running along and under a dirt road that will be paved.  Everyone is concerned that vibratory packing will cause a problem.  So they potholed the lines.

Now I have 3D point locations along 2 mains.  A pipe network would be best, so that it is easy to bring into my profile, and can be managed by styles. This presents a nuisance since the locations are on top of the pipes, and there are a lot of locations; that’s a lot of pipe edits.

Here is what I came up with.  Again, not rocket science, but I hope that it will help someone else. 

  • Style the points so that it is easy to discern them from others. 
  • Make the style respond to the elevations
  • Create a 3D polyline from point to point
  • move the polyline down the HALF (see below) the respective inner diameter plus one wall thickness.  I used he move command.
  • Make sure the Pipe style prepared as desired, and the correct pipe size is in the Parts List.  Don’t forget the wall thickness
  • Create Pipe Network from Object
  • Add the network to your profile

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Half the diameter

The reason for this is that the Create Pipe Network from Object will use the elevation of the 3D polyline for the CENTERLINE of the pipe.  If you move the polyline down a full diameter, then the pipe will be created too low.  I mean to tell you that is a lot of edits. 

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November 25, 2009 Posted by | 2010, AutoCAD Civil 3D, Autodesk, Pipes | , , , , , , | 1 Comment