I was writing some new EE training material and was searching for a snappy way to create a waterline that was at a given depth below the ground. After a few different approaches that just didn’t feel easy enough I came across a great solution!
It turns out you can create a pipe network from lots of different objects, including a feature line. So I thought….what if I created a feature line, assigned elevations to it from a surface, dropped it 4 feet (or whatever) to set the depth, and then made it into a pipe network? Well guess what…it works great but you have to know about two key boxes that need to be checked along the way.
Here are the basic steps:
1. Draw a polyline along the path of the waterline.
2. Launch the Create From Objects command on the Feature Lines toolbar.
3. While running through the Create from Objects command be sure to check all of the Conversion Options. You’ll need them all, especially Weed Points (key check box #1). This will keep you from having hundreds of short pipe segments.
4. Assign elevations from the appropriate surface. For cases where your waterline passes through existing and finished ground, you’ll want to have a composite surface.
5. On the Weed Points dialog, use only the Length option and enter a length that makes sense. As you can see here, I used 25 feet. Notice how my waterline would have had 152 vertices without this option and will now only have 9.
6. Now that the feature line is in place you can right-click it and use Raise/Lower to drop it to the depth you need.
7. Finally, use the Create Pipe Network from Objects command to turn the feature line into a pipe network.
8. This brings us to key check box #2: Use vertex elevations.
The rest is history…
Of course this approach can be used for anything underground that parallels the ground surface (gas line, conduit, etc.)