Vault: Surface Safari

Part three? Four? Whatver. I spent some time discussing the files I’ll be building, now let’s talk about building our plans. So let’s look at what we get for existing information and where we stick it. For now, I need to understand existing conditions. I’m going to start with some DEM information, then Aerial data, then on-the-ground survey…where to put it all?

Looking at our file structure, these are all variations on existing ground information, so they belong in the XTO file. I’ll vary these files by having an XTO-DEM.dwg and XTO-AERIAL.dwg for my topographic data that’s based on estimated data. I’ll also assume the XTO.dwg is my real surveyed surface information and build a surface from that.

Each of these files contains a C3D surface, and each is checked into Vault. When I check these files in, I am including the surface in each drawing. This allows me to use these surfaces as needed anywhere else in my project. The thing about Vault (and in fairness, this is true of shortcuts as well,) is that you can reference information in other projects, or in drawings not even attached to projects. In this case, I might need my DEM at some future point for an adjoining property or large scale drainage area map. By publishing this surface, it’s available for future use with little to no user interaction.

So the obvious question is, “Why not put them all together in one drawing?” Just because. (I’m liking that answer more and more as my three-year-old has learned, “Why?”) Because at some level I like not putting all my eggs in one basket. I’ll go against this argument later, but I think this is a case where the datasets are fairly large, and splitting it up some makes for faster processing and actual work. And in each case, I’ll set my style to NONE to make the drawing itself as fast and small as possible.
So, let’s see what’s in the Vault so far. This image will expand as I create more files and projects as part of my project. In spite of my earlier comments about paying for Toshiba repairs, it’s, um, back in the shop, so no pretty Visio diagrams today. They’re coming, just relax. I wanted to keep up our momentum, so you get the text for now!

And a word of thanks to Jones & Boyd, Inc., George Butler & Associates, and a few other clients, contacts and peers that will remain nameless. They have let me test things and ping ideas off them as this workflow was developed.

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