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: