As I sit here waiting on my telephone repairman to arrive to fix my DSL line (where is that guy, anyway?) I have had some much needed (and forced, to my dismay) time to sit down and write a post for the blog. I have been thinking about survey features a lot lately, and trying to put together a good workflow for a big posting (possibly even a white paper) but decided that I’d scratch out this little gem while I was brainstorming.
So let me set the scene – you’re a bit curious about your capabilities with automated linework. You’ve always realized that it would greatly increase your workflow efficiency, but you’ve always skirted around it and never really jumped too deeply into it. Perhaps one day while you were waiting on the day’s point file to arrive, you had a little time and played around with some settings. You read a few articles and maybe created a few figure prefixes just for fun, then promptly got distracted and never implemented it with your field crews. Then one day you bring some field data into the survey database and all this random linework starts showing up, even though you know your crews aren’t coding out in the field. You freak out a tiny bit, close your drawing, re-convert the data, delete the survey database, re-import the data – and you still get the random linework! You then proceed to throw your mouse, but forgot that it wasn’t a cordless mouse, and it snaps back, smacks you in the forehead, and requires a trip to the emergency room. Well, I’m here to save on your medical bills and explain why that is happening – remember, safety first!
With Civil 3D 2010, linework codes do not need to be entered in order to create the linework as long as the figure prefix exists in the Figure Prefix Database. Now, this can either be a pleasant surprise if you’ve never seen it before, or it can be a nasty gotcha (remember the story before the jump?) Perhaps the following video will help explain the process better.
In the video, note that the FBK file has no form of linework codes. The only thing that I have is two control points, and then a line of points coded (ironically enough) “LINE.” I also have a figure prefix set up in my database of “LINE.” You will see in the video that the LINE figure is created even with the absence of the code. So be very careful when playing with that Figure Prefix database, and if you’re not sure, set a blank one as current when importing survey data.
Thinking back on my years of working in the field and in the office with very complex surveys, I think that I am a bit torn about this functionality. I think that if implemented perfectly in the field that this could greatly enhance efficiency. However, improperly understood, I can see this causing some issues. What do you think? Is it ok as it is now, or would you like to see it change at all? Would you like the option to have Auto-Begin enabled or disabled? Leave me a comment and let me know!