from Civil to Inventor

The Autodesk enthusiast exile

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 – Rotate/Translate selection of Points

In Land Desktop rotating a selection of points was a piece of cake.  Well….if you had Lisp code, and we had tons of it.  Since writing about solutions (and actually solving them) takes more time that writing code, my group doesn’t really have a great deal of new code turned out, and use mostly native AutoCAD/Civil commands and features.  I’d love to finish .NET’ing all my old LISP, but I just don’t have the time and money.  I tried to get dirt on fellow coders, but coercion and blackmail will not work on Christopher (he is a clean cu chap), so I guess I am stuck with work-arounds.

The situation in the image below is nothing new to anyone dealing with Point data coming in, especially when it is fill for an existing design.  The backsight is wrong.

If you don’t have a survey network loaded, then you may be scratching your head.  There are no tools to select a group of points and modify them using standard AutoCAD tools.  You can get a group, but you still can’t affect a group with the touchy feely interface that you understand.


Identify the group of points that are wrong, and make a Point Group, and position it at the top of the Group List.  Set both of it’s styles to be Standard.  Then take the ‘All Points’ Group, and send it just below the new Group.  Set it’s styles to be ‘<none>’ for both styles.  No big Mystery here, just filtering out the problem points.

Now the key is how you have organized your Object Layers.  Mine are all “PNT-*”.  So I go to the command line and lock all layers, and unlock the Point layers. “-la lo * unl pnt-*”

When I window the area, only the visible points will be selected.  All the rest of the entities are locked by layer.  Here a simple rotate by reference command gets me going.


We used to have a really nice tool written by Dexter Lundy, that selected LDD Points by Description, Point Range, and Elevation Range.  That will probably be the next tool I recode.  It wasn’t possible to get it in 2007 when I last investigated it, but I believe it would be a cinch to get working now…..hint hint.

September 30, 2009 Posted by | 2010, Points | , , , , , , , | 1 Comment

Civil 3D – Point Label block issue resolved

Civil 3D 2010 Update 1 cleared up the Point Label style block issue that had plagued many of us.  Kind of a relief, I have been hesitant to edit ANY Label Styles, since being tortured by the problem.  Just he knee jerk reaction to being pounded by the software.  All is well……I still crash, just not at that time.

September 7, 2009 Posted by | 2010, AutoCAD Civil 3D, Points | , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Civil 3D – 2010 Write Block and Point Groups


Transferring Civil entities by ‘Write Block’ has always been tricky.  We used to have to decide which we wanted more of; Re-layering all the points by copy paste and then erase the unwanted data; or exporting out the sometimes painful selection, and then use the description keys to re-layer.  Point Groups were just left out of the equation.

In 2010, the process is much easier.  Copy paste is a dream. The interesting thing is that the parent Point Group is transferred with the block.  ONLY the parent group.  All others are left behind. 


At first I was a bit miffed, but then I saw the possibilities to skim off some of the excess.  Just think, we don’t have to transfer as much garbage.  If you are asking “what garbage”, the answer would be the decision to keep 3-10 megs of garbage that we cannot get rid of without surgery; if we block out the section taking with it the corridors, pipe networks, points we will either crash, or be fighting dependencies and errors for days.  When the job was just a permit submittal, you Save As and fight a 10 meg sketch just to get it done.

In the example above, I needed all RELATED groups, but not ALL the groups.  I simply dropped the All Points group to the bottom; the points fell back into the organizational groups.  Now Civil can see the remaining related groups, and the application transfers them beautifully…

.. allowing me to leave a lot of trash behind.

August 3, 2009 Posted by | 2010, Points | , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Civil 3D – Export Group for CSO


This is just an organization idea, not a revelation.  I was tired of posting problems, and wanted to post something useful.

Problem with exchanging construction data

I used to rewrite all the data out to the crews, and give them a new file.  I had to bring in the old file each time, recover all the check data for review, as well as any new control.  A genuine PITA.  I did not mind so much, but once in a while the crews would level through horizontal control, and revised elevations.  I’d miss those.  The next day was quite frustrating if they did not notice my mistake.

I decided to stop the madness by exporting only new data, and merging the data into their files.  They have 2 free ranges; 1 for control, and 1 for recollect checks.  I have 1 free range for calcs.  This way I can merge the points without worry of overwrite.  When I need the recollects, I pickup new control at the same time, so those control points show up on the calc plots.

Export Group

Each time I export the NEW data, I assign the NEW point to an export group, from which I export out of.  The trick is to use this as an organizational tool.  I have assigned sort point and label styles, and the group lies below the All Points group.

Continue reading

June 25, 2009 Posted by | 2009, 2010, Points | , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Civil 3D – 2010 Point Label style BUG REPORT

I logged a Bug Report on, and you can check it out HERE.

Autodesk Welcome Screen

I wanted to thank James Wedding and the staff at EE for putting up with me, and always being willing to assist.  I always know I’ll get some relief when I call.

I want to thank my VAR, Applied Technologies Group, for some outstanding dedication and support.  The entire team was at a remote function.  I called John Sayre who was driving in a hail storm at the time.  He insisted on getting all the details and reassured me, when most would have backed out for obvious reasons. The bug confirmation came within 10 minutes, and the support case was already logged in to Autodesk by the time I got the message. Rob, you better hang on to that guy, he means business.

Thank you Dana, for always trying to help.

June 15, 2009 Posted by | 2010, Bug Report, Points | , , , , , , , , | 1 Comment

Civil 3D – Create Point in Gap Crash


Life without strife would be boring.  It’s the occasional issues that give the good times meaning.  Civil 3 is an example of this reality.

…Its kind of like playing ball with your kids before cleaning up after the dog.  It can be really enjoyable….if you are quick footed and observant.

Point Error

This instance occurred while trying to create a point in the numbering gap left by one of my oversights.


The result was not friendly.  As soon as I picked the location for the point placement, Civil proceeded to smack me about, and left me on the Vista desktop.

I have not had the heart to repeat this process in multiple situations, but even if this does not happen every time, I suspect it will get you eventually.

June 12, 2009 Posted by | 2010, AutoCAD Civil 3D, Points | , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Civil 3D – Point Style File Size Issue

If you hadn’t noticed (I didn’t), the size of your Civil 3D 2009 drawing will change depending on style factors. 

A buddy of mine questioned me yesterday about some substantial differences related to the size of the drawing he was using, and noted that while he saved his site plan with trees (point styles) on, the drawing was twice the size.

I just tested it.  I took a huge site plan, and saved it with trees on, and saved it with all point styles overridden to standard.  Sure enough, I got a 30% reduction in size.

It appears that the application does not treat the Point style blocks as it treats normal blocks.  Normal blocks are place holders, an entity shell that contains the standard DXF table entries for location, scale…….etc, and then upon regen, it goes to the block table, and pulls the information to display it, where the place holder says it should be.  Instead of saving 40k 1000 times over, it stores 1 40k reference, and stores 1k 1000 times. 

However, for point styles, it appears as though the application is treating the drawing as if it had 1000 different entities, and is storing all the reference information at each point location.

If anyone has additional input, please comment. Christopher, James, Dana, that means you!

April 27, 2009 Posted by | 2009, AutoCAD Civil 3D, Points | , , , , , | 1 Comment

Civil 3D – Point Style Default

I thought I had something on this, but I couldn’t find it.

One reader was having trouble with the default points.  He wanted to do some specific point styling for a specific purpose, but regularly, and to that I offer to following possibilities:

Best Solution –> Description Keys!

Set a permanent Key and use FG perhaps as the description code, and the application will assign the Point Style and Point Label Style as specified in the keys.  This is hard coded to the point.

Next –> Point Groups

Us FG as the description code and crate a Group up at the top to trap all FG codes, and specify the Style and Label Style there.  This is only as permanent as the group remains at the top of the list.

Lastly –> Point Defaults

Set the current default Point and Label style to what you want in the Create Point command settings.  Then all the points you set will default to the FG style.



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April 13, 2009 Posted by | 2009, Points | , , , | 1 Comment

Civil 3D – Transparent Point Number Warning

Transparent commands are a nice feature with Civil 3D, and have eliminated some of my custom programming.  No sadness there, because the features are so well integrated.  I just wish I was responsible for them.

With that said, there are a few things that I’d like to see altered, like the Point Number query.  Recently I was filling in for some missing people, and I was doing some connect the dots from field notes.  I kept running into geometry that wouldn’t play together.  I checked my point style, and everything was flattened.

Here’s the catch.  When you query the point number by transparent command, you get 3D values, not the value from the Point Style.

Here are some excerpts:

A simple line command…


Note the elevations…


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February 16, 2009 Posted by | 2009, Points | , , , , , , | 5 Comments