How to Place the Built-In Bing Imagery in Surface Coordinates

I had a customer call yesterday wanting to place an aerial image into the drawing. After logging into his machine and showing them how to use the built-in Bing imagery, I noticed that his drawing was in surface coordinates. The Bing imagery is in grid coordinates. If you have every tried to scale the imagery, then you have noticed it doesn’t work.

We came up with a workaround that seems to work pretty good.

Basically what you are going to do is perform a SAVEAS. Save the drawing somewhere and rename it. Your surveyor should supply you with a scale factor. Scale the entire drawing using the basepoint of 0,0 and entering the scale factor provided to you. 

Now, turn on the Aerial image from the built-in Bing Imagery. NOTE: You must be signed into A360 and a coordinate system set in your drawing settings. Now, capture an area. Once the area is captured, turn off the Aerial. Click on the area you captured and in the ribbon change from Optimal to Very Fine. This resamples the image for better clarity.

Next, close and save the drawing. Open up the original drawing. Once there, XREF in the other drawing. Now you can scale the XREF’d image. Scale it from basepoint 0,0 with the opposing scale factor (1 / Scale Factor).

A big thanks to John Guajardo with JAG Engineering for providing the data to create the instructional video below…

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Are You Using Civil View? You Should Be…

I’m sure many of you have noticed when installing Civil 3D (especially if you have a suite or collection), that there is a plug-in called Civil View. This is a plug-in for 3ds Max. If you’re not using this, YOU SHOULD BE! This is an easy way to present to a client or stakeholder your proposed road design animated with cars, signs, lights, etc. 

The most common phrase I hear is, “I don’t have time to learn 3ds Max”, and “It’s a too convoluted to learn”. This is a big misconception. Reason being, is that you don’t have to learn or know 3ds Max, you just use the Civil View plug-in to do it for you.

In the 20 minute video below, I show you how to create a design road in InfraWorks 360, bring it in to Civil 3D, build a corridor, export it out to 3ds Max, then create an animated presentation. This process literally took me 20 minutes to do. Hopefully this will aid you in starting to use your Infrastructure Design Suite or AEC Collection to it’s full potential.

Once you view the video, if you have any questions, please feel free to contact me at trogers@tcadsys.com, or you can call our office at (281) 445-6161.

Civil 3D Drawing Format

I want to clear up some confusion.  I have been getting several calls about the 2017 drawing format with Civil 3D.  As you may be aware, 2017 does have the 2013 drawing format.  So, nothing changed with the drawing format.  However, the Civil 3D AEC object were upgraded. 

What does this mean?

It means that you can NOT go backwards!  Be careful!  If you open a drawing in 2017, save it, open it up in 2016, you will get the dialog box below…

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When you see this, you can click OK.  Keep in mind, if you save this drawing in 2016, and then open it in 2017, all of the Civil 3D AEC objects will be hosed.

Manhole Labels in Profile

Some time ago, I posted about creating manhole callouts in profile view.  I got some good feedback and said that I would post more to it at a later date.  Well I have finally got around to doing it today.  Below is step by step instructions on how to accomplish this.  Enjoy!

As many of you know, the label style for structures used out-of-the-box (OOTB) are not very compliant to what is needed in a production environment. Most people prefer the structure callout to be at a 90-degree direction, at the bottom of the grid, and with a line projected from the middle of the bottom of the structure. That is what we are going to accomplish. Our finished product will look like the image below…

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The first thing you will want to do is copy one of the existing styles from OOTB. In this example, I am copying the Name Only (Sanitary) label style from under Structure>Label Styles…

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On the Information tab, give the style a name. I am naming mine Proposed Sanitary MH (Profile).

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Now click on the General tab. Here you will assign your layer and text style. The only thing I am changing here is the text style. I am changing it to ROMAND. I am leaving the layer set to C-SSWR-TEXT.

Now click on the Layout tab. This is where the magic begins. Notice under the Component name, the only component in the list is Structure Text. We will start with that. The first thing we will do is go to the Text Contents and start our label style. Click in the Value column, Contents row, under Text. An ellipsis will appear. Click the ellipsis…

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This will open up the Text Component Editor. Highlight <[Name(CU)]> on the right side of the dialog box and delete it. You should now have a clean, blank box. Place your cursor in the blank box and type PROP. SAN. MH, then hit the ENTER key to start a new line of text. Type RIM ELEV. = …

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Now click on the Properties pulldown and select Insertion Rim Elevation. Click the arrow to insert it under the PROP. SAN. MH…

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Place your cursor after the string and hit the ENTER key to start a new line of text. Type STA. [space]. Under the Properties pulldown, select Structure Station, change the precision to 1, then click the arrow to insert it…

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That’s all we need for this part of the callout. Click OK. You will see the results to the right in the Preview box. Alternatively, you can opt to place the offset after the station, but that usually is for the plan view callout.

Now we will put the flowlines (inverts) on the label. To do this, we need to create a new component. Then new component will be Text for Each. Click on the arrow to the right of the Component Name and select Text for Each…

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There will be a dialog box that pops up to select the type. Select Structure All Pipes and then click OK…

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Under the General property for Name, change the Name to INVERT. For the Anchor Component, change it to Structure Text. This will anchor it to the text we just created prior to the flowline (invert). Change the Anchor Point to Bottom Left.

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Now we will create the text for the flowlines. Just like before, we are going to click on the ellipsis for the Text Contents…

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Highlight the text “Label Text” and delete it. Notice there is a Format tab besides the Properties tab. Click on the Format tab and change the justification to Left. Click back on the Properties tab…

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From the Properties pulldown, select Connected Pipe Inner Diameter or Width, change the Precision to 1 and hit the arrow to insert it. Place your cursor after the string and type the quotation mark “ [space] FL = …

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Go back to the Properties pulldown and select Connected Pipe Invert Elevation, keep the Precision at 0.01, then hit the arrow to insert it. Place your cursor at the end of the string and hit the spacebar for a space, then type an open parenthesis ( …

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Now, back under the Properties pulldown, select Connected Pipe Direction and then click the arrow to insert it. Place your cursor after the string and type a closed parenthesis ) …

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We are now finished with this portion of the label. Click OK.

You will now need to change the Attachment to Top Left. Notice that the flowlines are now lined up with the rest of the label…

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The last, portion of this is to add another component for the line. Then we will go back and tweak a couple of settings for the other components, as well as the Dragged State.

Under the pulldown arrow to create a new component, choose Line…

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For the Name, rename it to Line Extension. Change the Use End Point Anchor from False to True. For the End Point Y Offset, change it to -3.0000”…

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If your label style looks like mine in the Preview pane, as shown above, then you are doing everything correctly so far. If not, you will want to backtrack to find out where you went wrong.

Back under the Component Name, select Structure Text. This is the first component we created…

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Under General, change the Anchor Component to Line Extension and then change the Anchor Point to End…

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Under Text, change the Rotation Angle to 180.0000, the Attachment to Top Left, and the Y Offset to -0.1650. I am changing my color to Yellow because that is my “proposed” pen color, and it works good with the ROMAND text style…

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We are almost there. All we have to do now is change a couple of settings in the Dragged State. Click on the Dragged State tab. Once there, under Leader, change the Arrow Head Size to 0.0000”. Now under Dragged State Components, change the Display to As Composed…

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Our label style is complete. Click OK. Now let’s test this out! Create a profile with some structures, or use an existing one. Add this label style to the structures in profile view. Once you add the label style to the structures, you should see this in profile view…

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It’s still not quite right. Do you happen to know why? Don’t forget the Dragged State. Click on the label and grab the grip at the end of the line. Turn on your Ortho, and drag the label to the bottom of your grid. And there you have it, a nice line from the BOTTOM of the manhole attached to your text…

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This label style will also allow you to stagger the labels by adding vertices to the line in dragged state. If you liked this article, and you would like to know how to stagger the lines, let me know and I will post it. Thanks for checking this out!

Performing a Mapcheck on a Cul-De-Sac Lot

Have you ever tried to perform a mapcheck on a lot in a cul-de-sac?  Did you notice that you cannot do the curve around the cul-de-sac? I noticed it.  With a little help from a customer of mine, Stephen Matovich, R.P.L.S., we were able to figure out how to do this.  It is actually the label style that controls this.  I have made it easier on you by providing a video below.  The video will show you how it performs by default, and then how to get it to work the correct way.  Enjoy…

Bring Your Corridors Into InfraWorks with Style Rules for Materials

From the Ground Up blog site has posted a great workflow to directly bring in Civil 3D corridors, with assigned materials attached, into InfraWorks or InfraWorks 360.

Keep in mind, you will need Civil 3D 2015 Service Pack 2 installed in order for this to work.

Read about this great workflow here.