Vault Christmas Present

At least it is for me…  Smile

Suppose you have been running Vault Basic or Pro using MS SQL Server Express 2005 or 2008, depending on when you started using document management. One of the primary limitations of Express was the database having a size limitation of 4GB. With Express 2008 R2 and newer, that limitation is expanded to 10GB of data. Seriously? 10GB of metadata, data about the data? That is lots of data.

Now, if you’re using replication, you are forced into a full version of MS SQL Server. For those not using replication, here the two main reasons:

  • Manage a central file database across multiple offices, Site ‘A’ and ‘B’ listed below
  • Disaster recovery, where Site ‘B’ is simply an off-site server hosting your backup data.

Merry Christmas!

Civil3D Zero Screen–No Vault Option

Just a quick note… For those that might be using Vault already, this will not be news. For those contemplating / testing Vault for your firms, this will help you past a stumbling block.


First, the issue… Some firms like to have Civil3D startup at what’s called the zero screen as shown above. It’s a clean place to start your work effort. You’ve got a list of Recent Documents front and center. You’ve got templates available to start new drawings, and so on. What you don’t have is:

  • Open File from Vault
  • Open Sheet Set from Vault

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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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Profile Abbreviations broken?

I know everyone is well aware of drawing settings in Civil 3D. And in those settings is a tab for various abbreviations used throughout Civil3D. That dialog box looks like this:

Default Drawing Settings

Default Drawing Settings

If you collapse all of the headings, the very last group is for profile label abbreviations. Yeah, yeah, get to the point.

They don’t work.

See, be careful of what you wish for.  All other properties work in each group except for PROFILE.  Wait a minute… Civil 3D has been out awhile and so has abbreviations. This can’t be right, could it? So here’s the details….

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Infraworks offerings got you confused?

visual storytelling

For those keeping up with the Autodesk offerings of Infraworks, there are several flavors to choose from. We have the following choices:

  1. Autodesk Infraworks – included in the Infrastructure Design Suite Premium & Ultimate as well as Building Design Suite Ultimate, no direct access to cloud collaboration and tools.
  2. Autodesk Roads and Highways Module – new functionality in the 2014 version of Infraworks
  3. Autodesk Infaworks 360 – subscription benefit for owners of the various Suites mentioned earlier. Added cloud collaboration and tools to Suite version.
  4. Autodesk Infraworks 360 Pro – Rental option for those without the Suite; reduced functions compared to the Suite version
  5. Roadway Design for Infraworks 360 Pro – additional road design functions in the rental version to match the Suite version

Sadly, even with the brevity I used above, I barely keep the various offerings organized in my head. If you have happened to download the subscription update to Infraworks (R2), this added to the confusion with several icons on your desktop.


And, only one version would work depending on what you were actually authorized to use.


Well, as of tomorrow, Autodesk has thankfully decided to reorganize a bit to help reduce confusion by defining two key points; where are various functions and who has access to those functions.

  1. For those with the various Design Suites
    1. Autodesk Infraworks – included version in the Suite
  2. For those using the Rental option
    1. Autodesk Infraworks 360 – renamed without the PRO label, only way to access cloud based features
    2. Roadway Design for Infraworks 360 – requires 360 license; moved roads and highways functionality from Suite to Rental version
    3. Bridge Design for Infraworks 360 – requires 360 license; NEW functionality added today!

These changes DO NOT affect the software you currently have installed, only new purchases using the updated installer will be affected. So, the additional roads and highways module in the new release will be there for current installations.

Here’s my takeaway:

  • if you don’t collaborate on the infraworks models, then you will be happy with the Suite offerings.
  • If you need to collaborate (use cloud services), chances are good that you are working on transportation projects so the Rental option will be applicable to you.
  • If you need to collaborate or share the model but aren’t doing transportation work, you will still need the Rental version, sorry. There is no current option to include those cloud services in the Suite version of Infraworks.

GIS Data with Google Maps or Infrastructure Map Server

Good morning.  This is just a quick note for those government agencies that publish GIS data. I just discovered that Google has a Public Data program to make the information available to a wider audience. Organizations simply need to fill out a form to apply to the program.


I also found out that individuals can create their own maps using the Google Maps Engine Lite.  For me, this will provide a great venue to present my project history. You may have similar needs as an individual. But if you want to create online maps for your business, they also have something called Google Maps for Business. It appears that this service will only let ESRI users connect directly…


If you don’t want to pay a subscription, you could setup your own web mapping service with Infrastructure Map Server. With this application, you can publish and share GIS data as well as CAD data with a web-based or mobile browser interface! And Map 3D /  Civil 3D will natively work with this option!



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