Today is just a short reminder, again, to not use layers to control visibility with Civil 3D objects. I’m doing a project where I was given a file that had contours (same at elevation but most were not), text next to 2 lines in an X arrangement, spot elevations that were pointing to random spots along a curb line, etc. I would have hoped this came from an exploded version of the Civil 3D model, but with other factors like layer naming, I was not hopeful. So I set off to build the surface from scratch.

Initially, I looked at the contours. So I isolated those layers and split my view so I could understand which “lines” were at the correct elevation. In one view I used a TOP orientation and the other view used a LEFT/RIGHT/FRONT/BACK view. In this “side” view, it was easy to see the bad elevations. So I changed the color of those objects to something in contrast to the layer color. As I made the appropriate elevation change, I set the object color back to BYLAYER.

Next up were spot elevations. I had a single Mtext with 2 lines forming an ‘X’ indicating the location of the elevation noted in the text label. What to do here… My first thought was to create a dynamo script, but it was only about 100 or so points. So I set the point creation settings (automatic description, manual elevation) and set the OSNAP to intersection. It went rather quickly even though it was quite monotonous.

Wait, I thought you said this was a quick reminder about layer management of civil objects. It is… Wait for it……

Last objects I needed to create were feature lines representing curb and other hard edges. I simply joined all contiguous lines as much as possible with zero elevation. I intended to use Quick Elevation Edit to run down each feature line as quick as possible to add the elevation data. By this time, I had used Layer Isolate to have the feature line layers ON and the 2D CAD layers ON as well. When I went to edit the elevations, the tooltip would show the elevation or grade of the feature line as expected. However, the green glyph indicating which vertex or slope I was editing was NOT visible. Did I mention I was given this file? Initial reactions were that it was a setting in the file. Then, for some reason, I used layer Unisolate and tried again. Voila! Green glyphs were now visible? Great… It’s a layer thing. See, I told you…

But there was way too much going on, I needed the isolation to read the labels and pick the right spots. So I returned to my previous layer state and tried turning certain layers I thought might be used to show those glyphs. No luck at all. So I started to go through and turn individual layers ON one at a time to find the needle in the haystack, starting with layer zero. To my surprise, this was the layer! How random. After all that pain, I thought I should capture this little bit of knowledge and share with others that may have had similar troubles.

The moral of the story? Don’t use layer states to control civil 3D objects, chaos will likely find you!