Well, it’s so much fun being on the road. I’ve had two days at home this entire month, and it’s not looking too open for the rest of the month, either. As I said before Christmas, it’s a great time to be working with Civil 3D. I’ll be back in the office next week for a few days auditing a Civil 3D class taught by my ISD compadre at ALACAD, James Murphy.
Anyway, I was cleaning out my Outlook inbox, and found an email from Matt Anderson of Joseph A. Schudt and Associates. Matt and I met for the first time in early November in Manchester, NH, but had talked via the Autodesk discussion groups for quite a while. Matt’s a great guy, and we bounce survey ideas back and forth between the two of us. Back in late November, Matt sent me an email regarding converting TDS files to be able to be used in the Civil 3D survey database. For some odd reason, I never got around to documenting his email here in a post, and now I know why – the process has simplified significantly since he sent me that email. Click below to find out how:
Matt had figured out how to use the Geodimeter connection features of Carlson Connect to convert his TDS RW5 files to FBK format. It worked, no problems. However, many users may not know to use the Geodimeter section of Carlson Connect to be able to do this. Since Dave Carlson was nice enough to write the TDS functionality for Carlson Connect just in time for Christmas, we now have an intuitive place to go and look for the functionality that we require.
First, let’s take a look at a typical TDS RW5 file and see what makes it so special for the survey database. Here’s a look:
If we look closely, we can see the highlighted notes in the raw data – these notes (BEG for this page) tell Civil 3D to begin a figure. There are quite a few other codes that we can put into the raw data, and a lot of these can be found over at From the Ground Up. Chris Berends wrote that post just in the nick of time – as I was researching for the codes for a client of mine – Thanks, Chris! (speaking of Chris, if you haven’t visited From the Ground Up, you’re missing out on a unique perspective from across the pond. I’ve found their information to be timely and informative, and they constantly remind me that Civil 3D is a global program – especially when I’m sitting next to some of them in meetings and hear what some of the feature wording translates into in locations other than the US.)
Now, on to how to perform the conversion – how do we get this information into Civil 3D:
First, under the Carlson Connect menu in Civil 3D, select TDS Transfer to begin:
This will bring up the following dialog box, which allows direct connection to a TDS data collector. The button we’re looking for is Convert RW5 to Fieldbook:
Pressing that button brings up the following dialog box:
(people who look closely will notice a few things missing – photo edited to protect the innocent)
Now, once we select the RW5 file, click open and it will throw up another window that asks us to name the file that we want to create:
Once we enter the name of the file, click save and it creates a FBK file for us.
Now, to get that into Civil 3D, we first have to create a Survey Database. To get the FBK file into the database, we have to create a new network (you can do that by right-clicking on Networks under the database name and creating a new network.) Once the new network is created, we have to import the FBK into the network (again, right-click on the network name and select Import Fieldbook.) Doing this will cause the lil’ surveyor to run around the screen taking shots and drawing the figures in. We can see the results here in the drawing window:
SInce we also want to see the figures, we need to go to Figures (under the survey database), right-click and click Insert Into Drawing – this brings in the linework that was created from these raw data notes:
Next, to see the points, we’ll need to go on down the list under the survey database and select Survey Points, right click and select Points, then select Insert Into Drawing (seeing a theme here?) Now we can see the points in our drawing (once we update our point groups)
So there – an easy way to get started with automated linework in Civil 3D – if you’re just starting, I’d love to see examples of what you’re doing – email them to me and I’ll be glad to give you publicity here on the website.
Ed Note: You’re not drunk, they’re a little bit fuzzy. It’s a Live Writer issue and we’re working on it. The content’s still the same…. JW