Is It Time for a Super-Entity?

Some of the coolest stuff in Civil 3D 2009 has to do with extended functionality with feature lines.  For instance, now you can link a feature line to an alignment with the option of linking it to one of the profiles as well.  This really opens up some doors when designing.  But as with most users, it hasn’t taken long for me to get spoiled.

So I’m laying something out and I want to take advantage of geometric constraints.  Well darn it, that means I have to use an alignment.  But I really like using the elevation editor to set grades…well then a feature line is the best choice.  But I’d like my feature to have a vertical curve….back to alignments/profiles.  Yes, I have these conversations with myself sometimes.

So I’d like to raise the question…Why not wrap all this stuff into a super-entity?  One that has geometric constraints, can be edited with elevation editor, can have assemblies attached to it, can be used with the grading creation tools, can be shown in a profile view, can be infused with vertical curves, and I’m sure some other stuff that is currently specific to certain object types.  When you think about it, isn’t a feature line just an alignment and profile all rolled into one?  Would this make Civil 3D simpler or more complicated?  What do you think?


  1. I was wondering the same thing…why is a featureline and profile and an alignment seperate things?

  2. Now that is a cool idea.
    While we’re at it, how about a super-entity that combines a grading object and a surface?
    Maybe not a super-entity like you describe above, but should we be able to add grading objects as Surface Data?
    And where is my mutant Pipe + Subassembly + Section View entity?! Just kidding on that last one. 😉

  3. Dustin Manning says:

    Nice idea, Eric. Are you giving us a hint to Civil 3D 2010? I suppose that this would be the next logical evolution for design. Me? I’ll stick with 3D polylines…what?

  4. A hint?….I wish! But who knows, maybe those super-awesome, ingenious programmers at Autodesk (flattery never hurts)will read this and start kicking around the idea?

  5. Jon Rizzo says:

    This IS a cool idea, but at this point I’m not greedy. I’d be happy with stable grading objects. 😉

  6. Matt Kolberg says:

    How about this for a Super-Entity:

    A Subdivision Object!



  7. John Mayo says:

    The profile 3D Chain seems to be the magical item. It’s in the profile stlye but you can’t use it (without explodeing :o).

    It would be great to be have design access to it but I’m with Jon R. on this.

  8. Well, you do have the option in 2009 of making a feature line from the alignment and profile, which puts us back to the beginning of this coversation, but that fl is essentially the chain without the explode. It’s all fun and games until someone tries to use it in production.

  9. Jon Rizzo says:

    yes, this would be perfect if it worked. Dynamic subdivision grading without corridors!

  10. Alan Pew says:

    Good idea. I’ve been using simple corridors and feature line extraction to correlate with feature line elevations with profiles (in 2008). Seems like the process could be simplified — a super entity would be very helpful in this regard.

  11. J Burke says:

    I think this would be a great object. I know I should drink the corridor Kool-Aid, but I still love using feature lines for grading. I find they are much easier to manipulate in all three dimensions, and the updated functionality in 2009 is a great thing. If I could have a vertical as well as horizontal curve in a feature line, I think my site grading would be at least twice as efficient.