Point Rotation and Issues You May Experience

On Monday, I was showing a group of Surveyors some of the features of Civil 3D. We discussed the pros and cons of the survey database, and compared those to what I consider to be a “dumb” text file – you know, the PNEZD comma-delimited files that you see so often. As I was explaining point rotation to them, I ran into something that I’d seen before, just not paid attention to. Minor bug, come to find out, but relatively easy to workaround. Follow the link to find out more.

So I have a set of points – see below, it’s my points:

I happen to know that the west line of this property has a bearing of N0°0’0″E, but currently seems to be running a bit northwesterly. So, I figure it’s time to rotate my points. Now, since we’re not using a survey database and these are just fairly dumb points, we can rotate them utilizing the standard AutoCAD rotate command. I can pick a base point and a reference angle, and everything is rotated nicely, as shown below:

At first glance, everything looks good, right? As I look more closely, though, there seems to be something amiss…

I checked with a few people, and determined that this is a bug – the individual point marker and label were supposed to stay at a 0 rotation. One workaround suggested was to create a new label that showed the correct orientation reference, but that doesn’t help the point marker. Hmmm….what to do….

I wonder if I can edit all of these at one time? If I go to the points area of Prospector (the Civil 3D prospector, not Dana’s baby…I’m not pointing at him….) I can see that I can right click on points and select Edit Points. Let’s see if something shows up there!

Hey, there’s a point rotation column (as with most Panorama displays (NOT Dana’s other kid!!!) you can hide columns that you don’t need to see) How do I edit all of these at one time? I tried selecting all of them, then highlighting one to edit, no dice. So I select all of them, right click on the header of that column, and select EDIT, as shown below:

Now, type in your real rotation angle (0) and close the panorama display, and take a look at the points again!

Much better!


  1. JohnCobb says:

    It could be seen as a benefit that the point symbols & labels retain their original rotation: to show you that you are on the ‘surveyed’ orientation or if someone’s messed with your file. But what would really be cool would be if symbols & labels rotated normal to the view in paper space. Best of both worlds, but probably asking too much. Good bird-doggin’, Jason.
    John Cobb-Kentucky
    Landscape Architect
    Former Land Surveyor

  2. Troop_lee says:

    Thats a nice find, I am still setting up Civil 3D so I haven’t had that problem yet. So thanks for pointing out the edit with right click on the column.

  3. Eric Riddering says:

    The company I work for is just getting into Civil3D. Is there a way to rotate points when using a survey database? I’ve been getting the same feeling from this software as I do with Windows Vista. It seems that functionality is reduced to prevent people from altering data, but by doing so we lose out on performance. In surveying it is necessary to rotate/translate points to “get on” various datum. Any thoughts?

  4. Jason Hickey says:


    You can use the survey extension from the civil community site (I don’t have a link to it, should be easy to find) to perform a translation on points in a survey database. The functionality is built in to the new version (’09)