Civil 3D Implementations and a Review of CAD Camp

Thanks to all our readers here who attended AUGI CAD Camp in Birmingham, AL this past Tuesday. I got some really good feedback from some of our attendees, and did an informal poll during my first presentation that leads me to believe two things – first of all, we have some very interested readers. That excites me. Secondly, there are quite a few people already using Civil 3D in production, and a lot more that are interested in it. I got to hang out with some great people, answered a lot of questions, and learned some things while I was there. I did read a presentation from one of the national instructors that I disagreed with, somewhat. In a handout that I’m reading right now, there are some suggested implementation tips for Civil 3D. Some are good points, some I don’t agree with at all…

Training with a small group of people to begin with on a small pilot project. That’s a really good idea – train your power users, and they’ll train the other users in turn.

Take time to set up styles. That’s a given. If you don’t, your plans aren’t going to look the way you want them to, and the boss isn’t going to be happy, and you’ve wasted your time.

Go through a small pilot project in Civil 3D and run it parallel in Land Desktop. Sure, if you’ve got the time, that’s a great idea. Even better – take a project that you did in Land Desktop and recreate it in Civil 3D. See how the features map.

Do part of a project in Civil 3D and then XML to Land Desktop to finish it. What? Why would you feel the need to do this? My feelings on this are pretty strong – there’s very few customers who will need to use Land Desktop as a “crutch.” Even worse, if your users have it available, they’ll continue using it and never “wean” themselves off of it. Contrary to what some seem to believe, there ARE companies using Civil 3D as a complete design package, and they’re very happy with it. When you look at the features that are available in both products, you’ll find that there are very few things missing in Civil 3D.

Decide what you want to do in Civil 3D and when to transfer data to Land Desktop. If you agree with my above statements (and not everyone will), then you’ll realize that you want to do EVERYTHING in Civil 3D, which really negates the need for Land Desktop. So this one is a moot point.

Please note that the methods that I use are the ones taught to us by Autodesk. The Implementation Certified Expert (ICE) course for Civil 3D makes a point that legacy data should be handled appropriately (which may require Land Desktop for legacy projects, or you can use the “Import from Land Desktop functionality in Civil 3D), but does not suggest using one program for pieces of a project, then migrating to another program. It’s just not a good idea – once you migrate objects such as alignments, surfaces, and profiles from Civil 3D back to Land Desktop, you just lost the very thing that makes them so amazing – their “dynamic” state! Once you get them back to Land Desktop, you’re still working with the same old boring static data that you always have been.

And speaking of ICE – I’ll be in Manchester next week taking the ICE course for Civil 3D 2007. Hopefully, I’ll get a chance to post some as I go along next week. And as Nick pointed out regarding my riveting review of the Carlson Civil Suite (that’s sarcasm there, folks), I need to pick back up on that. I’ve got some posts brewing regarding that, just haven’t had a chance to get them down on (virtual) paper.

Have fun!

One comment

  1. JoshNelson says:

    When I first started with Civil 3D, I stumbled across one feature that still allows one to work with Civil 3D and Land Desktop and be dynamically linked still-sort of and I would recommend it for a first jump into Civil 3D. You can “Import a Tin” from Land Desktop. The key thing with this method of getting data from Land Desktop is that it is still dynamically linked to the TIN. It doesn’t alert you to changes, but a rebuild re-reads the TIN and any changes someone made via Land Desktop show up in the Civil 3D surface, so essentially if you were working on a project in Land Desktop, but wanted to jump over to Civil 3D for a specific task (this is the way I first used Civil 3D) – it works. I think this is a good way to get your feet wet if you haven’t tried Civil 3D yet.