Controlling Points in XREFs


This is a post about conversations I have frequently with Surveyors and their office staff. First and foremost, DO NOT EXPLODE any Civil 3D objects! OK, now that I’ve said that… Civil 3D uses point groups and description keys to control how points are displayed, not layers.

Every surveyor just now threw up their hands and said, well… things I cannot repeat here. Let’s take a breath and find out how we can calm the masses while maintaining the Civil 3D model.

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Corridor Cul-de-sac troubleshooting


Corridors are quite fun to build, configure and eventually model various surfaces. Everyone has seen the smooth and clean examples.

 

Sometimes, the corridor object can get out of whack; subassemblies targeting the wrong alignments, daylighting specified to the wrong surface, etc. Maybe you’ve seen this simple error…

image

Of course intersection can pose their own problems, but what about all of those other corridor examples like bus stops or knuckles or even cul-de-sacs. Recently, I had a chance to help someone with just such an issue. And it looked like this. For some reason, the lane was not respecting the closest target making a hole in the surface.

SNAGHTMLa601a59

Let’s see what we can find out….

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Civil 3D Style Evolution


I teach a fair amount of classes around the functionality of Civil 3D. One common dilemma I hear students discuss is how to handle styles. Yes, you can put them in a template and have the standard set of styles available. But what happens when I need to present an object differently than the company standard? Agent Smith once said “You hear that Mr. Anderson?… That is the sound of inevitability…”

Yes, style change is inevitable. After the break, I’ll give you my solution which does not end in death…

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Disappearing Shortcut Node


This is a quick service announcement for those that don’t use data shortcuts. You or your firm probably do this for one of two reasons. Either you’re standardized on Vault or you put everything in a single file. Either way, you often find that having the data shortcut node visible in Prospector is the most annoying aspect of using Civil 3D.

SNAG-0137

Well, you are in luck.

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Working with Civil 3D templates


[Update: Civil 3D 2015 Service Pack 2 has been released (11-24-2014) and resolves the issues related to using acad.dwt as a basis for a new Civil 3D template. Currently, this update is apparently only availble through the Autodesk Application Manager. I would suspect that will change over the next few weeks.]

How do you start creating a new Civil3D template? As most people know, Civil3D ships with a few templates as shown below:

Default Templates

Default Templates

Basically, the choice boils down to either “acad.dwt” OR “Civil 3D NCS.dwt.” Of course, acad.dwt is completely empty of any style or setting including no layers, text styles, etc. While Civil 3D NCS.dwt contains the national cad standards with several styles and settings pre-defined.

If you use the national cad standard layers, then that template would be a great starting point. But what if you don’t use those cad standards? Do you start with the blank acad.dwt and add all of your content? Do you start with the NCS template?

The answer you chose could very well create undesirable results down the road. Let’s take a look at your options after the break…

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Infraworks Model Location


Just a quick tip to keep track of the roller coaster that is Infraworks 360.  When you use Model Builder to generate a quick model OR are using the collaboration aspects of Infraworks, the application will download a model to a default location on your hard drive.

Infraworks download model

Infraworks download model

For most people this default location (C:\Users\\Documents\Autodesk InfraWorks Models) might be satisfactory. For me, I need to manage the location and subsquent models without having to dig too deep on my hard drive. I prefer to use my secondary drive and a specific folder, in this case D:\Autodesk InfraWorks Models. That defines the requirement. You might prefer to use a folder in the root of your hard drive as well. How do you set a new location?

Update: Infraworks360 2016 now has the ability to save/store the model on a network shared drive. When Infraworks360 opens the model, it creates a local cache of the model for performance reasons. The model still resides on the network.

Again, this post was intended to show how to enforce a specific location other than the default. You could previously browse to any local hard drive folder; but you had to do this every time.  By hacking the registry, the desired destination would become permanent.

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Maryland Considering Digital Signatures


Maryland Digital Signature

Hey… I just read (i got it almost 3 months ago in the mail…) the quarterly newsletter from the Maryland State Board of Engineers. An article in this newsletter caught my eye simply because every firm and government agency I visit is talking about how to streamline plan delivery and recording of said plans.

Here’s a snippet of the newsletter:

Regulations Allowing Digital Signatures to be Published
For several years, the Board for Professional Engineers has been discussing how to implement the use of digital signatures on engineering documents that are submitted to clients and public authorities for permit purposes. This spring, a set of proposed regulations has been formulated, and the Board intends to have them published in the Maryland Register shortly.The regulations are intended to allow for, but not require, the use of digital signatures by professional engineers. They do so by clarifying the definition the definition of “original signature” in Md. Code Ann., Bus. Occ. And Prof. §14-4A-02(a)(1). If a professional engineer opts to sign and seal documents with digital signature instead of a handwritten one, the digital signature will be acceptable in Maryland as long as it satisfies the following four requirements:

  1. It contains identification unique to a licensee using it, such as the licensee’s name and license number;
  2. It is under the exclusive control of the licensee using it;
  3. It cannot be repudiated and is independently verifiable; and
  4. It is linked to the document in such a manner that the digital signature is invalidated if any data in the document is modified.

After the proposed regulations are published, there will be a comment period for the public to respond, followed by final action to adopt them at the next open meeting of the Board.

The question is more around defining authenticity it seems. We all like to DIGITIZE our signatures for letters and other transmissions. In this case, it seems the Board is looking more for a DIGITAL signature. What’s the difference? Wikipedia says…

digital signature is a mathematical scheme for demonstrating the authenticity of a digital message or document.

What do think, is this a digital signature?

MDpeseal

Me thinks this would meet three of the four requirements mentioned above. The difference is the fourth requirement – invalidating the signature if the file is modified. To get that level of authenticity, we can create our own PKI or self signed certificate. But this can be duplicated by anyone. What may be a solution is for a firm to create a Coporate PKI. Many states already have a requirement that the firm maintain a Certificate of Authenticity to practice Surveying/Engineering in a given state. Interestingly, Maryland is also implementing this requirement in October 2015. They are terming it a FIRM PERMIT.

So, it seems that the onus of authenticity may shift from the individual to the firm in order to manage the digital stamps. What say you community?

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