Cracking the Vault: Paving Design

A couple of days since we last looked at Vault, but now let’s look at one of the more contentious areas of the workflow I propose: Paving and Corridors. And since I have my laptop back, I can actually use Visio to make pretty pictures. I have this all drawn by hand with arrows and colors, and I can read it, but I doubt anyone else could.So far we have a XPT drawing showing our typical layout, and it has been checked in to our Vault project. Creating a new XPV drawing, I will then XREF in the XPT file in order to view and understand where our road centerline alignments should flow. No need for any data reference from the XPT because it doesn’t contain any C3D objects.

Now, we’ll bring in a DREF of our EG surface from the Vault. This surface is contained over in the XTO drawing as you can see in our diagram. With these two bit of information, we can begin creating a paving design.

I had a brief conversation with Scott McEachron today regarding the “One object per drawing” workflow. While it looks good from the outside, I think it falls too closely in line with the Mechanical world’s workflow. In our view, isolating on a singular object makes sense in the gears and spings world where each piece is put together, but can be designed somewhat independently. In the Civil context, I think the paving design is the gear, with each alignment a cog. This viewpoints requires that all paving alignments and profiles be in one drawing to facilitate an easier workday.

Additionally, we’ll build a primary corridor in this same drawing in order to create a surface for ourvault1.png site grading designer to use over in the XGR file. This corridor surface (or surfaces if you’re familiar with the approach I take in the Residential Grading AOTC,) will be modified with other individual surfaces such as those created by grading objects, etc, and published via Vault. And since corridor modeling requires such a large amount of tweaking and back and forth, I think keeping the corridor with its design elements makes more sense than DREFing those objects and jumping back and forth between drawings.

Now, some will say that this makes it hard for more than one person to work in the paving. Remember that this workflow is for a team, and while only one person can be modifying the objects at anytime, other team members can be working on sheet files and the final grading that this drawing feeds into. In my experience in typical land development projects, this is a realistic division of labor.

A quick word of explanation on my sketch. Each drawing is represented as a container, showing the objects it hosts, DREFs, and XREFs. Green objects are being shared, pink are DREFs, and white objects are hosted, but not shared. Why would you want to not share objects? Because no other team member will ever need to use the EOP alignments I might use to build a corridor intersection or transition. Understanding what should be shared, and what can just be held in the current drawing is a critical part of making your Vault as efficient and tidy as possible.

Next time, making the grade.


  1. Dana Breig Probert, EIT says:

    There are a lot of X’s in Texas

  2. Kevin Currey says:

    This is making me feel pretty good about myself. It’s basically the same workflow that I have come to after refining it over several projects. I started out thinking that I definitely needed a separate drawing for each corridor, and maybe a separate drawing for each alignment & profile (otherwise I’d spend more time recovering files than working on my design). That took way too much work just to keep the drawings straight, and matching up intersections was a nightmare. Then I moved to placing all of my alignments in one drawing, and all of my corridors in one drawing. That was better, but it still was too much work to update a corridor after modifying a profile. So now all alignments, profiles, and corridors are in one drawing. Composite corridor surface is “dref’d” out for grading & utilities. And with SP2, stability has not been an issue.

    Thanks James for taking the time to share this with the masses.

    JW: Make sure you get your hands on SP3 as soon as it’s available. The speed improvements in DREFs and Corridors alone will blow you away. It’s a must have for real work!