Add an offset boundary line to a corridor

I got a question of one of my students of how to create a land acquisition boundary line from the outer limits of a corridor at an offset of 0.50m outside the daylight cut or fill feature lines.

My first reaction was to do it by extracting a feature line from the corridor and then stepped offset it with a distance of 0.50m and a grade of 0.00% to the outside of the corridor, assign elvations from surface, assign it a style and you’re done. But then you have to recreate it over and over again every time when the corridor is rebuild.

If you want to automate this, the solution lies within the corridor itself. In fact, within the assembly it’s built from. So this is how I solved it: add a LinkWidthAndSlope subassembly placed at the end of any daylight or LinkSlopeToSurface subassembly, add 0.50m to the Width value and 0.00% to the Slope value.

Last but not the least: Omit the link, so it will not be used by the corridor for creating corridor surfaces. And you should also name the P2 point code to a more appropriate name like: Boundary or OffsetPoint, and incorporate this code to your code set style where you assign it a feature line style.

Now every time you recreate the corridor, the boundary is updated.

But this is not quite what I was looking for. It works great for plan view purposes only. But if I want to have information of the existing ground surface for stake-out purposes for example, then I want to have the boundary line to follow the exisiting ground conditions. So I added an extra subassembly to determine the exact daylight point at the applied offset. And I added the LinkSlopeToSurface subassembly with a cut or fill slope of 99999% which is near to vertical placed at the end of the outer LinkWidthAndSlope subassembly.


Don’t forget to Omit the link. This will show a total different layout than when it’s not omitted.


Rebuild the corridor and you’ll see like in below picture in Plan view and in Section view how the boundary line looks like.


In cross section view I added a guardrail markerpoint to see it more clearly of where the boundary line will follow the exisiting ground.


So by going horizontal first and then going vertical next answered the question.

If there’s a better way to do this, please respond. I’m open to any suggestion.


Note: There is a LinkOffsetToSurface subassembly, but that one offsets only from the Assembly Baseline and not from the attached point of the subassembly itself. I’ve tried to use it instead of the above solution by using (turning on) the Use option with the assembly which should transfer the value of another subassembly value. I’ve tried to copy/use the LinkWidthAndSlope.Offset End value but that one failed.

May 13, 2013 at 12:40 pm Leave a comment

AutoCAD WS supports Civil 3D drawings

Great news. At least for the mobile AutoCAD WS users.
AutoCAD WS, for the iPad at least, now supports Civil 3D drawings, and it works great.
When you open an AutoCAD Civil 3D drawing in the AutoCAD WS app you will see the drawing in one of the 3 available Views: 2D, 3D Wireframe and 3D Solid. You can easily switch to either one of those Views.
If you have a Surface in the drawing, the 3D Solid View will show you the solids of the triangulation of the surface. Just like you would see when you make use of the Object Viewer by selecting the Surface within AutoCAD Civil 3D.
Switching to 2D View will show you the drawing in Plan View.
Switching to 3D Wireframe View will show you the drawing in 3D View showing Civil 3D objects like Feature Lines and probably more objects as I first have to test this more.

See: AutoCAD WS
See also below images made from my iPhone:



November 13, 2012 at 11:20 am Leave a comment

Adoption of a Digital Terrain Model (DTM) with Microstation V8i (SELECTseries 3)

This video will show you how you can import a LandXML file containing a DTM surface into vanilla Microstation V8i (SELECTseries 3).


Yeah, I know. It has nothing to do with AutoCAD Civil 3D itself, besides that Civil 3D can export (and of course also import) LandXML files. So when you have a contractor or client or other project team using Microstation V8i (SELECTseries 3) you could share your Civil 3D TIN surface through LandXML export.

I really like this adoption of the LandXML DTM/TIN feature with Bentley’s flagship Microstation because it has all the functionality to change the style of the Surface and annotate it where needed in the drawing. You can not though change or alter the TIN surface in anyway. But in most cases you don’t need to alter the TIN surface when you are in a phase of the project when you need to create construction drawings and the existing or proposed ground surface does not change at all anymore.

I really would like to see this functionality in vanilla AutoCAD too.

Go see and check it out: Import LandXML into MicroStation V8i (SELECTsereis 3) and Annotate – Terrain Model  (via Twitter: @EnvisionCAD and @Blip)

November 4, 2012 at 7:24 pm Leave a comment

Unable to execute the tool – Fixing the Toolpalette

Here’s a quick remedy for the following error:

In AutoCAD Civil 3D 2012, when I want to insert a subassembly from the Toolpallette or Content Browser, I get this error:

I did not know what caused this error. But repairing or even re-installing the application did not solve the issue. At least for me it didn’t. I couldn’t find any solution from the Autodesk support website so I made a support request at Autodesk Subscription Tech Support. They replied: re-install the application. Well that didn’t work.
So I was delivered to the resources of the internet community. And that’s not bad as you may read right after the jump.

Out there on the web I read that it had something to do with the way you’ve made the installation, through manual installation or through network deployment. Working as a CAD application administrator I always use deployments because of the many installations we need to make. Looking further on the internet, I even found a blog page describing the same error and the solution for an AutoCAD MEP installation. Read here for their findings. Their solution was that within the User’s roaming Support\RegisteredTools folder I should have had the appropriate files in it.

So I made a manual (stand-alone) installation on another system and compared that with the network deployment. With the manual installation under the User’s roaming Support\RegisteredTools folder I found the right files in it as described before with the AutoCAD MEP installation. Where the network deployment installation did not had these files under the User’s roaming Support\RegisteredTools folder.

The location for Windows 7 or Vista is:
“C:\Users\<user account>\Roaming\App data\Autodesk\C3D 2012\enu\Support\RegisteredTools”.

So I’ve copied those files from the manual installation location to the network deployment installation location, started AutoCAD Civil 3D 2012, and there you go. Inserting subassemblies from the ToolPalette or even from the Content Browser did not gave me the “Unable to execute the tool” error anymore.

You can download these 3 .atc files here.

November 1, 2012 at 5:25 pm 4 comments

Preview of Queried Survey Points seems lost

New survey features are introduced with the release of AutoCAD Civil 3D 2013.

One of those new features is the Survey Query Builder. The Survey Query builder gives you the opportunity to build your survey data (point and figures) by using queries or filters. This way you can select what survey data you want before you import it into the drawing.
On the internet you can find lots of information how you can build such a survey query. The User Guide documentation of Civil 3D 2013 has also sufficient information how to do so.

Once you’ve build your query, you can preview the result in the drawing editor. And if satisfied you can save the query for later use to import your result into the drawing.

One thing I’ve noticed when I tried to Preview a points query only, is that I could not see the result (any points) in the drawing editor.
Taking a closer look, and I actually had to zoom in from great distance, you could finally see the points. That is awkward.
I could not find any documentation how to change the display style of the points in preview mode.

So to see the points in preview mode I have added a large drawing (or annotation) scale like 1:5,000 or 1:10,000 to the scale list. Set this large scale before you want to see a preview of your queried survey points and voila there are your points.

When you’re done with querying your survey data do not forget to turn your drawing scale back to an appropriate scale. If not you could end up with very big annotations or graphical representations of your points when you want to import those points into the drawing. If so, you know how to change the scale back to a more working presentation.

Note: this problem only occur with the Metric version of Civil 3D 2013.

August 10, 2012 at 7:40 pm 2 comments

Civil 3D book reviewed: AutoCAD Civil 3D 2013 Essentials

As a Civil 3D addict I read a lot of resources about this subject. Besides the many great resources found and available on the internet like blogs, I also read great Civil 3D books. One of those great books is AutoCAD Civil 3D 2013 Essentials written by Eric Chappell.
I have reviewed this book with Amazon. You can read it right here
The clear approach of a likely real world Civil project from start to end through the whole book is really great. Not to mention that besides Imperial units it uses Metric units too. The approach of the use of supported videos is innovative and can be downloaded via the Amazon or Wiley website but can also be watched via YouTube.
The book is targeted for starters, but even I as a Civil 3D teacher have learned better understand the automated field to finish in Survey. This is the first Civil 3D book I’ve found which clearly and extensively explains how the automated field to finish works in Survey using a point file in the PENZD text format in a likely real world project. The only thing I’ve missed in this part is the explanation of how a surface can be build by using the newly introduced survey query command. Besides that it is really a great book.
I can recommend this book to everyone who wants to learn Civil 3D by themselves or as a guidance when learning by a teacher in a class.

July 12, 2012 at 7:33 pm Leave a comment

Productivity Tools for AutoCAD Civil 3D 2012 Updated

As you probably know as an Autodesk Subscriber you can access and download Product Enhancements from the Autodesk Subscription website.
One of those product enhancements are the Productivity Tools for AutoCAD Civil 3D 2012 which include a lot of extra tools which you can add to your Civil 3D 2012 installation. These tools were released on 10 May 2012.

Lately, as of the 1st of July 2012, the Bridge Modeler tool from Autodesk Labs has graduated and is also made available to Subscription customers. But you can’t find it under the normal download root where all the other tools are found. Instead Autodesk choose to add them under the Productivity Tools for AutoCAD Civil 3D 2012 section. Other new tools were also added in this section.
So the list of tools is now updated by these new tools:

  • Bridge Modeler
  • CorridorSolids
  • Curb Gutter Subassemblies

Go and get them!
And don’t forget to check this page regularly. You never know when other new tools will be made available here too.

July 2, 2012 at 8:36 am 1 comment

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