Two Small Survey Tidbits

I’m posting this because I was told today that the site was lacking in fresh content. Not by a member of the site (although James is normally the one to poke us when he wants new stuff up.) Well, at least not by a CURRENT member. 😉

My response was that I didn’t have any major things to write about. I’ve got a few things lazily turning over in the vast expanse of my big ol’ empty head, but I lack the proper motivation to actually document them. What I do have, however, is two little tidbits of information for people interested in survey functionality for Civil 3D. Follow the link to find out more.

Tidbit #1

For some odd reason, if you import a point with a description of STS into Civil 3D, the program automatically changes the description to TANGENT. This is not description key specific, and I have absolutely no idea what causes it. It was brought to my attention by a good friend of mine, Mark Evinger, and I tested it in multiple templates for him, all with the same wacky result. I reported it to the survey gurus in Manchester, and the response was that it has now been logged as a defect, and they also had no idea what could be causing it.

Tidbit #2:

This one comes from my good friend Scott McEachron. Scotty Mac’s been experiencing the true definition of living on the bleeding edge – he is running Windows Vista on his work machine, complete with Civil 3D! Needless to say, he’s experienced some issues – some small, some not so small. I was scared, but James told me that it was doable. And, even though Scott and I are close, James knows me MUCH better, so I took his lead and followed suit. So my shiny new Dell Precision M90 is running Windows Vista Business and the full complement of software that I enjoyed on my old WinXP machine (with the exception of a few programs that were deemed unnecessary with this OS.) I’ve had only one small issue with the software, and I have to admit that Scott had duly warned me. Here’s my disclaimer: We can’t figure out how to replicate this. The issue is that you may or may not have problems if you decide to run Windows Vista, Civil 3D and the Survey Extension that can be found on the Civil Community Website. Scott and I have both been troubleshooting this with Rob Todd of Autodesk (and the author of the Survey Extension,) and Rob has been very helpful. It runs for Rob, and doesn’t for Scott and I. It even runs for Rob on a new install with Vista, so it’s difficult to troubleshoot to say the least. That’s why my disclaimer exists – you may have problems if you choose this combo, and you may not. If you don’t, hooray for you. If you do, it’s being looked at, so be patient.

Bonus Tidbit

Because I’m a giver, and love to share information, I have a bonus tidbit for you. This one is of interest to me and totally unrelated to everything above and to do with this site, did you know that Microsoft Visio 2007 has a Mind Mapping template? If you don’t know what Mind Mapping is, or don’t understand my utter obsession with it, google it. When I’m brainstorming, this is how I do it…it really helps me to focus and take notes on my brainstorms – ok, more like brain sprinkles, but you get the idea.


  1. johnbeatle says:

    thanks for the update.
    I think this site always has fresh content, but I especially like survey tidbits as this is the department I struggle with the most. It really does make my job and the case for using 2008 a little bit harder when the survey functionality can be so random at times.

  2. Craig Jole says:

    Mind mapping is cool. Thanks for the Visio tip – I will have to check it out.

    A few years and a couple of companies ago, I was playing with this software called The Brain (, which is basically a way to organize links to files on your PC using mind mapping techniques. Its description reads: “Dynamic mind mapping software that lets you link your ideas, files and web pages the way you think.”

    It was cool, but expensive (at least to me), though there is a free version of it which has limited capabilities.

  3. Troop_lee says:

    Jason, where can I find this Survey Extension you speak of??

  4. John Davis says:

    STS is very similar to two OOTB abbreviations (right next to each other) in the Edit Drawings Settings for tangent-spiral intersect and spiral-tangent intersect… (though it could be a coincidence).
    “Topography cracked the voices of silence”, Marshall McLuhan, circa 1967. Look up the definition of “topography” and you’ll see the double meaning and the relevance to Jason’s Bonus Tidbit and our industry. This is the same guy (McLuhan) who coined the phrase “global community”! A brilliant futurist who saw our time way back in the 60’s… “We shape our tools, and thereafter our tools shape us.” Stay tuned, I’ll give you more as the need arises!