Tuesday, 11 March 2014

Stone Hatch Patterns

I regularly get asked about stone hatch patterns - where to find them and what to do with them once you do find one that suits.

I was working on a job recently and needed some different type stone hatch patterns. A Google search should give you plenty of options - I found some useful ones here - http://www.eldoradostone.com/trade-community/specification-library/hatch-patterns/

Once you have downloaded the files (they will be in .pat format) what do you do with them? The best solution is to copy all of your custom hatch patterns to a folder (C drive or network) and then set up a Support File Search Path pointing to this location. To do this type OPTIONS in AutoCAD. On the files tab select Add and browse to the location where you saved your hatch patterns.
Once this file path is set up you will then have access to your new hatch patterns from within the hatch command.

Friday, 7 March 2014

Importing Point Files - warning message

If you are importing point files into C3D and you are getting an error message like below:

Your point file might be in one of the typical formats (PENZD) when you open it and look at it but C3D still doesn't appear to recognise it. This usually happens because there is something in the file that C3D doesn't understand. Typically this will be a number in a column where it is expecting alpha characters or vice versa. Check your point file to make sure that, for example, the 'P' column contains only numbers. Looking at my file I see that the first point was a base station and this point does not have a number, rather it uses the STN code in the 'P' column.
C3D doesn't know what to do with the STN as it is expecting a number. Edit the point file and try reimporting and it should work ok.

Friday, 28 February 2014

UKIE template - Dynamic Section Chainage

If you are using the UKIE drawing template and create cross sections using the default options (_Design and Existing Levels with Offsets band set), the chainage label on the x-sections is not dynamic.
The label used in the band set above is taking the sample line name as it's value. The sample line name does not update if the sample line moves. What you can do to add a dynamic label is delete the part of the band set that is displaying the chainage and then insert a label by editing the section view style instead.

First, select the section view and click on Section View Properties on the ribbon. In the bands tab delete the chainage band, see below:
Next select the section view, right click and select edit section view style. In here on the Graph Title tab we will add a label in the graph view title that reads the section view chainage, see below:
You can edit the position of the label. Also on the Display tab make sure that the Graph Title display is turned on.

Tuesday, 14 January 2014

Stringing Survey Points

An oldie but a goodie. Worth posting as it can save literally hours for anyone that is manually stringing survey points - (If you don't have Civil 3D set up to automatically process survey data). The drawing used below is from the Civil 3D Essentials book by Eric Chappell.

If you have surveyed a string of points and the numbers are sequential then you can use transparent commands when you are joining them in Civil 3D to speed up the process. Below I have a fence that was surveyed from start to finish (1 to 5 in the image).
There are 27 points surveyed along the fence, starting at point number 123
and ending at 150...
To string these quickly start the 3DPOLY command (or polyline command). Select your start point by clicking with the mouse. When it looks for the end point type 'PN (apostrophePN). Then press enter. Type 123-150 and press enter. Civil 3D will automatically string all the points between the numbers for you.

Wednesday, 8 January 2014

Cogo Points from Text

Very often I come across survey drawings that have AutoCAD blocks and text representing the surveyed points.
If we want to create a surface in Civil 3D from these points we will need to add in the blocks (cross where the point was surveyed in image above) if they have levels. If they have no levels then second best is to add in the text (13.18) if this has a level. (the insertion point of the text wont be at the same location as the surveyed point but the difference this would make for a topo survey would be negligible in most cases). In my case neither has any level information - they are both at zero elevation. There is a workflow available that uses queries in Map 3D to raise the text up the elevation value in the text itself. I am going to show a different approach here using the AutoCAD Data Extraction command to create a csv file which contains the x ,y coordinates of the text and also the contents (elevation). we then import this back into C3D as cogo points.

First isolate all the 'elevation' pieces of text. Then type DATAEXTRACTION. On page 1 of 8 create a new extraction and save it. On 2 accept the defaults and click next. On 3 tick Text or MText - whichever the elevation text is, click next. On 4 on the RHS tick Geometry and Text, on the LH pane tick Contents, Position X & Position Y, click next.
On 5 untick Show Count Column and Show Name Column, click next. On 6 select 'Output to external data file' and choose a save location and file type. Step 7 is skipped if you just export to external file so on 8 just click finish. Job done. You now have a csv file with x,y,z for the survey points (with the point location at the insertion point of the text but close enough for a lot of surveys!)
You can then inport this back into Civil 3D as you would normally and create cogo points from it. One thing to be aware of is the first line of your csv file will be header info so delete this before trying to import into C3D or it will fail.

Thursday, 19 December 2013

Getting Set Out Info. from your Corridor

The reporting end of Civil 3D can be frustrating. Generally I have found that there will not be a report that gives you exactly what you want. Some reports will give you one bit of what you want and also probably a lot of information you don't need.
I have found that you usually need to export bits from multiple reports and edit them in excel to create one final report with the info you want. This can be time consuming and for something simple like x,y and z points for say road edges and centreline I prefer to create points from corridor and then export these to csv file for set out. There is a report in Civil 3D that looks like it will get you this information and it does to a certain extent but it is not in a format that is easily unloadable to a GPS logger for setting out. Below is the procedure, which is by no means a one-click solution but it does the job.

First set your corridor frequency to the chainage interval that you want setout info for. In my case every 10m.
Next we will edit the assembly we are using to add Mark Points with specific codes for the points we are setting out - Road Edge Left, REL, Road Edge right, RER and Centreline, CL. Open your tool palettes (CTRL+3) and open the Civil Subassemblies and on the Generic tab browse to the Mark Point subassembly. This just inserts a point into the assembly and corridor - a point which we can give our own unique code to.
When you go to insert this into your assembly you can set the point code in the properties dialog box.
Set the code and then select the relevant location in your assembly - right edge of carriageway in my example above, just click on the existing marker at the end of the lane subassembly where you want to point to be. You will probably not notice anything different happen on the assembly as it is just inserting a point. Repeat this for any other points that you want to extract from the corridor, naming the point code appropriately.

Next select your corridor in plan and click on Launch pad on the top right of the ribbon and then select Points from Corridor and only select the codes from the Mark Point subassemblies.
This will create cogo points from the corridor at 10m intervals for each of the mark points using the point code for the cogo point description (RER, CL, REL). Next step is to separate these points into point groups based on their descriptions and export them to csv file. Create point groups for each code (RER, CL, REL) and include points related to that groups code. i.e for the point group CL only include points with description CL.
Next export each of the point groups to csv - right click on the point group and export points and fill out the info in the following dialog box.
When Civil 3D creates points from corridor it does so for each string along the length of the corridor. This doesn't suit from a setting out point of view where it will probably be set out in a cross section manner rather than doing each string separately. When you export each of the point groups to excel you will need to renumber the points and then copy and paste them into one excel file to create one complete set out file. In my case I have 3 points at each chainage so I renumber all the REL points 1,4,7... CL points 2,5,8... and RER points 3,6,9.... This is easy done in excel and then copy paste into one excel file and sort by number. You now have set out points at each chainage. By no means the smoothest of workflows but it gets the job done. There are 3rd party add-ons you can get for Civil 3D that allow you to create custom report formats. I haven't explored what sort of results you get from using the Trimble add on or similar to export a corridor to a logger.



Wednesday, 18 December 2013

How to Hatch a Corridor

This is another one of those things that is easy to do in Civil 3D when you are shown how. From experience I know a lot of people aren't aware that it can be done or think that it is difficult to do. The result is that a lot of people are exporting Civil 3D models to AutoCAD and hatching manually (madness!).

The code set style is what is used to control the appearance of your corridor in Civil 3D. It is a pretty big style and can look intimidating at first (it controls display in plan, section and 3D views, as well as labelling). This has been the most common thing that I have been asked from users in relation to corridor appearance - how to hatch a corridor in plan. Here's my corridor before, not exactly jumping off the page:
Select your corridor and go to Corridor properties on the ribbon. On the codes tab you will see the current code set style in use (3D Render Basic Plan in this case), we want to create a new one as below:
Before you create the new code set style, take a minute to look at the some of the ones currently available. You will notice that the style itself is broken down into Links, Points and Shapes - see image above. These L, P & S come from the subassembly you are using. Without digging into that too much, basically the L,P & S are parts of your subassembly. Points are joined by links and shapes are bound by links in your subassemblies. See below:
When we want to style our corridor in a particular way it is these elements of the subassembly in the corridor that we are styling effectively. When you create a new code set style you will see that the L, P & S are empty:
The quickest way to populate these to suit what is in your subassembly/corridor is to click Import Codes at the bottom of the dialog box and browse to your subassembly in your drawing and select it. You can then assign styles to the L,P & S, see below:
To hatch to corridor in plan we are only interested in links, and only in the Material Area Fill Style section. I am using the UKIE drawing template and picking some of the styles from that and assigning them to particular links in my corridor. Note that the Top link is generally common to most subassemblies so applying a style to this will likely colour your corridor all the one colour so best not to use it. If you are having trouble figuring out which link you should be applying a style to then hover ('hoover' if you are Dutch! ;)) over that link in your corridor and you will find the name of it in the tooltip that appears.
If you are not showing links in your corridor you can find the code by selecting your subassembly, right click and select properties and find the Top Link Code name as below:
The end result of editing the code set style is below: