Sunday, 17 November 2013

Changing Block Units

Quick reminder to myself when you define a block you can give it units mm, m , or make it unitless.

If  someone draws a block of say a title block at 800 units by 400 units and then sets the blockunits to m by mistake when the block is inserted into a drawing with the drawings units set as mm the block will be made 1000 times bigger and you will scratch your head for a while to figure it out. To change the block units use

BMAKE (not BEDIT), select the already defined block in the pull down menu. Reset the units and exit.

Thursday, 7 November 2013

Aerial Capture of surface data

In the next few years it is going to be interesting to see how the capture of point cloud data will develop and now the price an accuracy of devices will develop and hopefully come down.

For us at least forking out 60K (NZD) for a GPS base station and rover just to get a bit of surface data for  design cannot be justified for the amount of use it would get.

That why back in June i read with interest an article  Photogrammetry from the sky with Recap Photo by Jack Strongitharm where he used a DJI Phantom (less than 1K) to capture aerial photos and then Autodesk Recap to generate a point cloud of a building.

I have not played with Recap myself yet so have no idea of what sort of accuracy you would great but its probably nothing that great, and for the industry we are in of green field land development I would suspect pumping in 100’s of photos of green grass would not generate a surface of much valve.

That is why it’s great to see a small company YellowScan in France working on a light weight Lidar unit to mount on drones due out in 2014 all through the accuracy is not super great it will better photogrammetry in generating a surface in a green fields situation.

Saturday, 28 September 2013

Ctrl+Alt+Delete in Remote Desktop Session

I have just been using remote desktop from my home Laptop to run an SSA analysis on my more powerful work PC.

However SSA crashed and locked me out of a file to do a Ctrl+Alt+Delete and free up the file you have to.

Go Start->Run type OSK to bring up the virtual keyboard. Then press Ctrl+Alt on your remote machine and then use the mouse to press the delete key on the virtual keyboard. Now you can end the application session you can not see on the desktop that is locking access to the file.

Thursday, 15 August 2013

Free NCS Layer Templates Files

Been doing a bit of basic structural and architectural drawing lately and was wanting to find a free basic .dwt template file with the NCS standard layers for these disciplines setup. Found a free source here

not perfect but saves typing them all in.

Thursday, 25 July 2013

Turning Featureline and point codes on at Crown

Quick reminder to myself this post shows you where to turn on the crown featureline under the subassembly properties make sure Crown Point on inside is turned on with the basic lane assembly.

Wednesday, 24 July 2013

Exporting a Surface to DEM and then Importing

To make a similar surface you can export a grid of surface points to a DEM surface file and then import the DEM surface into a new drawing.

To export a DEM of the surface. Choose the surface name and right click in prospector and choose Export to DEM



To import and make a surface from the DEM


And the surface is created


Tuesday, 23 July 2013

Importing Contour Shp files into Civil3d

To import .shp files with contours into civil3d the quickest way I find id to type mapimport at the command line. Then following dialog comes up browse to the folder with the shp files and change the file type to .shp in the drop down list to see the files.


Next the following dialog comes up and you have to link the contour elevation data in the separate database file to the graphical data of the contour in the shp file.


Click on the button in the Data column and the next dialog box comes up. How choose Create Object Data and select the database table

To get the data linking correctly make sure the names of the shp file and database file match.


How choose ok and ok and the contour data will be imported. Usually shp files contain a large amount of data so depending what you are wanting to do you need to cut the data down by using the site boundaries in the same co-ordinate system (see converting co-ordinates post) as a reference and maybe the extrim command and the wblock command to export out the area of interest.

Hope this helps.

Labelling Intersections

Some times on complex intersections I break them down into two tee intersections to let me use the intersection wizard to model things that you can not do if you model it has a four way intersection. Such as having varying secondary road widths on either side of the intersection.


However this gives you a problem with the intersection naming label. Technically the label should be the same for both pieces of the intersection in this case J3, but Civil3d will not let two intersection objects have the same name. In this case I have added abbreviations for each road alignment to the end of the intersection object name to make them different. 

This is fine but on the plan I want them to have the same name to get round this limitation I place the common intersection name J3 in the description field of the intersection object.

and then in the label style use the description field as the label contents.


Monday, 1 July 2013

Sheetsets Manager

I always new I was just touching the surface with sheetset manager and after reading a post in the forums the other day on using views I am going to have to do some further reading.

This paper by Heidi Hewett was recommended as a good starting point.

Sheets Happen

Sunday, 30 June 2013

Policing Drawing Standards

About 6 months ago we had a new staff member come on board who has returned from Australia and he has mentioned a couple of products that his former employer had to use in working with one of their large corporate clients that sounded interesting.
CADconform and Enforcer for Microstation
and on the structural side of things they were using
Tedds which I had not heard of to produce their calculations as everything had to be typed.
I would be interested to hear what other packages are out there that companies use.

Tuesday, 25 June 2013

Lsp to Create Viewports Outline in Modelspace and Save Views and Layerstates

Over the years I have constantly found myself constantly saving Views and Layerstates and drawing the outlines of sheets in modelspace.

So a couple of weeks ago I searched the internet for a solution to automate the process. I did not find a complete one but found this lsp ModelSpace to PaperSpace viewport sync over at the swamp posted by Paul.

Anyway I have added the following lines to the original code by Paul to Save Layerstates and Views as well and reposted at the swamp and in the civil3d forums here for download.


Thursday, 20 June 2013

New Blog on Revit Structure

I have not been blogging much lately on Civil3d as I was super busy summer supervising a couple of jobs during construction and have been a bit burnt out.

Anyway in the office we have upgraded to Infrastructure Suite and being a small practice have both Civil and Structural Engineers, so i have been getting into Revit Structure. Last time i used Revit was about 10 years ago before the program was even owned by Autodesk.

Anyway to record helpful blog tips and tricks as I am getting up to speed with the program again I decided to setup a Revit blog

Dynamic Pipe Invert Profile Tool

I know a lot of you out there trace in a pipe invert profile line to get your pipe profileviews and bands producing the information you want. This work around has been in use since 2007 when pipes were introduced into Civil3d and has always been a pain and something Autodesk should address.

Peter Thomson and myself have talked for years about creating a tool to do it automatically. I got part the way there a few years back but never finished it. So recently Peter has been working with Chris Fugitt over at Civil3dReminders to come up with a neat little tool to do the job automatically.

By the way if you move the pipe the invert profile line updates automatically.

Here is a video Peter emailed over the other day demonstrating the tool. Surprising what a bit of can do attitude can achieve.



Tuesday, 18 June 2013

Installing Civil3d 2012 32bit in VirtualBox on Windows 7 64 Bit machine

As some of you may know Visual Studio 2010 and 2012 does not allow you to use debug and continue when developing code on a 64bit machine which is a real pain if you like to step thru your code and edit it as you write it. So as a work around a number of people have mentioned in the forums that you can install a Virtual Machine running a 32 bit operating on a 64 bit machine and do your development in the virtual machine before doing the final build on your real 64bit machine.

Seeing I want to clean up some old code I thought I would give it a try.

To start with i thought I could use the Microsoft VM solution but because I only have a home ultimate version of Windows 7 I can not download it for free and use the xp mode so I had to look for another solution.

From a GoogIe search I found that someone had Civil3d 2011 running on a MAC Airbook ok under an earlier version of VirtualBox and I did a second search to check that a 32bit machine could be installed inside of a VirtualBox on a 64 bit machine and found someone doing it here

To install Civil3d 2012 on VirtualBox I did the following

1. Downloaded the VirtualBox exe from there website
2. Follow the VirtualBox installation instructions 


3. Once VitrualBox is installed you have to create a new machine in VirtualBox and install the 32 bit operating system you want to use. Here is a video on install xp on VirtualBox that was useful.

4. Once the operating system is installed you have to setup guest additions so you can see folders on your host machine as per this video

5. Now you can setup a shared folder between your virtual machine and real machine to download and install Visual Basic Express and Civil3d applications. By following this video or these instructions.

To start I did not give the virtual machine enough harddisk space so I had to increase the virtualbox harddisk size using this couple of posts as a guide


do steps 4e on from here

So you do not make the same mistake you need the following harddisk space:-

Civil3d 2012
12 GB disk space for installation (7 GB for electronic download with at least 2 GB free after installation)Windows 7
16 GB available hard disk space (32-bit) or 20 GB (64-bit)
Visual Studio
3GB of available hard disk space

31GB of space required just for the software.

Sunday, 26 May 2013

Another interesting grading example


I was doing another residential dwelling site grading last week. It seemed to take a while when with the terraced wall at the back of the site being a the hardest part. The wall on the bend followed different radius at the top of the lower wall and toe of the top wall so on the corner I had to model that with a enclosed featureline to get the bank to come out nice and smooth. For the rest of the wall I could just daisy chain grading objects together.


Tuesday, 14 May 2013

Civil3d 2012 Slow Performance Part 2

I have decided that it maybe the way I had the project drawings setup as traditional being a small company it one designer per project pretty much, that has lead to some really unorganised project drawing setups in the past.

A paper I saw a while ago on Dana’s blog here looked quiet interesting and had a couple of nice project flow diagrams that I thought could be extend to my project structure. So I printed out an extra large copy and went to town with the  glue stick, scissors and coloured pens.


By using a master proposed ground composite surface it seems to have helped the speed of some drawing. the done side is you have to manually go into the master and sync up any of the sub surface regions being designed under our projects. I see you can type “SYNCHRONIZEREFERENCES” at the command line to preform a sync so a lsp routine could be written to automate the job. I see in 2014 datashortcuts have been revised so this may no longer be required but I have to wait for my computer upgrade that I have ordered before installed 2014 and trying it out.

Civil3d 2012 Slow Performance


I have been watching this forum thread for a while as I have been struggling with performance issues for a while on projects.



I decided to change the settings and see if it makes any improvements to date I have not noticed any. Before I changed system variable I use the command sysvdlg to bring up the system variables dialog to research the variables a bit more rather then just jumping in and changing them.




Wednesday, 8 May 2013

The case of disappearing profiles

I had a strange scenario today when a lot of profiles in my sheet drawing went missing. On further investigation in the profileview the profile properties had not data and were sourcing data from the completely wrong surface.


It appears somehow the datasource for every profile in question got switched to source an incorrect corridor surface that had nothing in it.

Rebuilding the corridor that the surface came from put data into that surface in the model drawing that had nothing, but that did not fix the shortcuts that were looking at the completely in correct surface anyway.

I ended up manually re do all the shortcuts, just fingers crossed they do not change again.

Thursday, 18 April 2013

Adding a number Count to Block Attribute

Just had to add a count to each block of a certain type for an as built plan to go into the local council GIS system. Found this code that help make the job much faster. You can add a prefix and /or suffix to the count number and start the count at whatever number you like.

Monday, 8 April 2013

Turning off Points Markers in Corridor Model

Everytime I go into an old drawing I want to turn off the point markers and unnecessary subsurface featurelines to make the model preform better.


To turn off the points go into the code set and change the marker style



To remove unwanted featurelines go into the corridor and deselect those not required


Wednesday, 16 January 2013

Civil3d User Group New Zealand

Having come back from AU where i caught up with a few New Zealand Civil3d user on the last couple of days. I thought it would be a good idea to setup a New Zealand User Group on Linkedin. If your using Civil3d and want to get into contact with fellow users in New Zealand follow this link and join the group.

Sunday, 13 January 2013

Surface Volume Table appearing to not insert in drawing

Last week I had an issue in a drawing with a surface volume table appearing not to be inserted. For future reference the table was actually being inserted in the drawing but as I had the UCS not set to world the picked insertion co-ordinates were taken as a world co-ordinate point that was away in the distance and hence the issue of non appearance.

Thursday, 10 January 2013

Acad.lsp file not loading

Had to troubleshoot a PC today that was not loading the standard company acad.lsp file off the server.
I found using the appload command and searching the load history that an acad.lsp file was being loaded but from a different location.

Looked into this file with notepad it appears it was loaded on the PC with the 12D Exporter and was being loaded first as it was placed in the support directory of the local Civil3d install.


Rotating Annotative Text Independent of Scale

Learning some tricks with annotative text today. I always new you could drag the different pieces of text at different scales to separate locations, by selecting them with the grip itself and not the text object. But I did not know that you could rotate the text to a different angle for different scales by changing the rotation in the properties windows as explain in this blog post.

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