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Thread: Hi, My Name Is......

  1. #1
    Member ccallen's Avatar
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    Smile Hi, My Name Is......

    Well, let's give this a shot. I thought we might use this thread to just introduce ourselves, explain why we're using Civil 3D, and what we see as issues. Then, if we use new threads for each of our questions or problems or concerns or whatever, hopefully we'll all find this forum more useful. If there aren't enough of us, and this doesn't work, I guess we'll just go back to limping along as we were. Sigh.

    Anyway, I'm Carolyn Allen. I work for Advanced Geomatics just north of Detroit. We're land surveyors. We do a lot of work for McDonald's and The Michigan Department of Transportation (MDOT). So I draw topographical and boundary surveys and a lot of roads and bridges.

    I've worked with computers for almost 30 years, computer graphics for over 25, and CAD (including some Microstation) for 8.

    Other than basic line work and labels and such our primary needs are COGO. I'm concerned about annotation (bearings and distances), but mainly I need to be able to import points and put their attributes on different layers. EaglePoint, our old COGO software made this easy. AutoCAD does not.

    We switched to Civil 3D because our IT person (my boss's son, who - admittedly is VERY good) thinks AutoCAD is phasing out Land DeskTop and replacing it with Civil 3D. My boss refuses to give up AutoCAD R14 and EaglePoint and there's a BIG part of me that doesn't blame him. I don't want to give it up, either, but I feel like we're being pressured to.

    Ok, who's next?

    (I wish there was a moderator who could "pin" this thread to keep it on top.)

  2. #2
    The Silent Type Mike.Perry's Avatar
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    Default Re: Hi, My Name Is......

    Quote Originally Posted by ccallen
    (I wish there was a moderator who could "pin" this thread to keep it on top.)
    Hi Carolyn

    I think we should let the GIS Moderators make that decision, after all they are the ones that look after these Sub-Forums.

    Thanks, Mike

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    Default Re: Hi, My Name Is......

    Stephen R. Sherrill aka The Dinosaur
    Kansas City, MO

    I was using r13 and EaglePoint this time last year.

    We do 3 to 10 phase subdivisions and some small commercial sites along with several ALTA's. We will be start phasing in Civil 3D for the plats, street and grading plans and converting back to LDDT for sanitary and storm sewer plans. So far I like Civil 3D more than LDDT except for the missing Hydrology and Pipe works modules. The program is more drawing based rather than project based LDDT. This lets you start working straight away rather than set up a project and directory structure first which I think is overkill for a small project such as ALTA's and single site commercial projects. This also means, however, all of your drawing and label settings must be placed in each drawing so preparing a custom .dwt file is a must before really starting production. I am still trying to figure out the multitude of settings but so far I have been able to create the look I want for the drawing which I could not do in LDDT.

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    Civil Engineering Moderator MHultgren's Avatar
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    Smile Re: Hi, My Name Is......

    Hi Carolyn and Stephen,

    I started using ACAD with DCA (softdesk's predecessor which became LDT in Rel. 2000) back in the 80's. I mainly do design, CAD Management and Project Management for large master planned communities and subdivisions. My largest was 24,000 acres just outside of Las Vegas, Nv. Since then I have used Microstation, Inroads, VersaCAD and a couple other programs, but I keep coming back to Autodesk products. It is easier (for me) to customize and develop routines that can do many of the mundane aspects of the design for me. Inroads is a great program for roadways, but is a bit cumbersome to use on subdivisions. C3D, I see as a good PRELIMINARY layout tool, but I use LDT for the actual nuts and bolts of all of my Construction Plans. I don't see Autodesk pushing C3D into Mainstream production for at least another two releases, but you never know.
    Mark Hultgren
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  5. #5
    Member ccallen's Avatar
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    Thumbs up Re: Hi, My Name Is......

    Mike Perry: It was just a suggestion. Thanks.

    Stephen: Thanks for this. It gives me hope.

    Mark: That's interesting. I guess I'm a little put off by the thought that I'll have to use one package to do one thing; and use another to do something else. I've always liked sort of "melding" two programs together and using them as one, so to speak (like C3D on top of AutoCAD 2005, etc., but based on what we do maybe I still can).

    I really enjoy hearing about the different things you guys do out there in Reality and how you do them. I hope we can get more people to respond, here.

  6. #6
    Civil Engineering Moderator MHultgren's Avatar
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    Default Re: Hi, My Name Is......

    Carolyn,

    Don't get me wrong, I use C3D to do my preliminary design work for grading and lot layout then export it out as LandXML to use in LDT. But many times in the course of a design, you have "Minor" modifications ( yeah right - minor is, only half the project has changed to the developer) That make it tough to followup in two packages. I am loooking forward to seeing what Autodesk is going to incorporate from CAICE into both ( or one) package(s) in the future releases.
    And then you have Oracle on the horizon with a DB driven system for design (maybe).
    Mark Hultgren
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    Default Re: Hi, My Name Is......

    Quote Originally Posted by ccallen
    Other than basic line work and labels and such our primary needs are COGO. I'm concerned about annotation (bearings and distances), but mainly I need to be able to import points and put their attributes on different layers. EaglePoint, our old COGO software made this easy. AutoCAD does not.
    You will not be able to control your points in the same manner you are used to doing, but I think you will be pleasantly surprised once you get started. You can control what is visible at any given time by setting up different point display styles for any given need. Just change the style and only the node (which can even be a specified block) is visible or a spot elevation can be any style node with just the elevation showing. If you want the number, elevation and descriptor all showing they will appear as you are accustomed, remove one and the others shift position and if only one is to be visible it will move to the center position. Points can also be grouped and filtered for display properties, surface creation or visibility. I think you will find this way of handling points to be far superior once you are become familiar with them and the terminology.

    Good luck, the learning curve is quite steep especially from r13 &r14.

  8. #8
    Member ccallen's Avatar
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    Default Re: Hi, My Name Is......

    Unfortunately I know about using (at least Land DeskTop) and displaying various node attributes, etc., etc. OUR problem is that we HAVE to have the attributes for FOUR different node groups on different layers because when we translate the files to Microstation that's the only way to continue to control the visibility of the attributes (by turning off levels). It has to do with our work for MDOT and what they require (THEY only use Microstation).

    I am not particularly worried about the AutoCAD stuff. I can handle the 2004/2005 AutoCAD stuff without too many problems - I *LOVE* AutoCAD. It's the COGO stuff with either Land DeskTop or Civil3D that's the real issue.

    I am increasingly apprehensive about how COGO is handled by Autodesk. I *COULD* be wrong, but from what I've heard so far, even what *I* consider simple COGO commands readily available in the old EaglePoint (let alone more complex stuff) are all OVER in various Autodesk products. That WILL NOT work.

    Using multiple packages to work on ONE drawing is a pain in the posterior, but we do it all the time. For example: 1) We have an in-house program written by our IT guy to handle processing all our field data which uses a huge symbol library I maintain in Access to correspond to MDOT's specs to generate the correct symbols on nodes and also lines like curbs and buildings, etc. (along with other things). This program only works in Civil 3D. So I use Civil 3D to run that. 2) Then I have to use a batch conversion program to convert that file to R14. 3) I import all the nodes in R14. 4) Most of my work, and my boss's is done in R14. 5) Then I convert the file using DGNLink to Microstation and do some final work in Microstation. For any updates to the drawing, I go thru the same process.

    That's just life. We had HOPED to do steps 3 & 4 in Civil 3D. If we have to go back and forth between Civil3D and Land DeskTop to do that it's not acceptable. And THAT'S the problem.

    So far, (and, again, I could be wrong) I seem to see AutoCAD trying to satisfy a LOT of different types of user's needs by producing many programs that don't work together. This MAY satisfy a certain percentage of users who work within certain set guidelines. But I wonder what percentage of people are left "outside" these strictures - whose work does not fit the models someone at Autodesk created and who wind up having to use bits and pieces from several packages.

    Although, to some degree, that's Autodesk's problem - *IF* they even care. Maybe they have such a hold on the market they feel they don't HAVE to care. I don't know.

    Even more of a concern to ME, however, is that with all these specialized programs they're producing, NONE of them seem to have really comprehensive COGO capabilities. Possibly they don't see - or haven't been made aware of - enough users of our genre' to put all of our needs in one package. I don't know.

    I'm going to start entering some threads asking for solutions to specific COGO related problems. Maybe the answers will prove I'm wrong about the above. I *HOPE* so.

  9. #9
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    Default Re: Hi, My Name Is......

    I miss many things form EaglePoint as well, but the greatest adjustment has been the difference in terminology. Have you examined the Civil 3D "Transparent Commands" toolbar yet? There are some very usefully looking COGO tools there.

  10. #10
    Member ccallen's Avatar
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    Default Re: Hi, My Name Is......

    Yes, but it isn't clear yet how they will fit in with our needs. I guess what it's coming down to is listing what the RESULTS were from various essential EaglePoint commands and then trying to figure out how to achieve those results in Civil 3D. Of course what worries me is that we aren't going to be ABLE to achieve those same results.

    I feel like AutoCAD seems to think we have nothing else to do with our time except muddle thru their increasingly obtuse software. WIth no real guidance or help from them.

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