Five Questions Answered: Dan & Dave

So it took a little bit longer than I hoped, but here are the answers, straight from the horses mouth. We’ve already put a few requests to play along for the next round, but feel free to comment and tell us who you would like to see on the seat. Dan and Dave and your Five Questions, after the jump.

1. I would like to know why there are still big issues with grading stability after 5 years of product releases. I suspect there is a fundamental problem with the topology model. Could we get some explanations as to what is the reason for the continued problems? -Neil Wilson

The Civil 3D grading functionality approaches the grading solution in a revolutionary way. The solutions leverage technology from the mechanical industry which results in a very precise solution to the grading intersection problems. This allows the user to grade from an arc which has varying elevations (i.e. Helix), grading inside corner cleanup, and grading cleanup with adjacent grading objects. Another key advantage of the Civil 3D grading functionality is the user does not need to tessellate the feature lines  which are being graded from. In fact, tessellating the feature line actually greatly complicates the solution. We have seen several examples where users are working with tessellated linework and it is highly recommend to use the weeding functionality to improve the base geometry. In 2009, we actually present the weeding dialog before grading if the default weeding settings should be applied to the feature line.

The topology model referenced in the question provides ways for Civil 3D to detect overlapping gradings. The topology model also allows for duplicate points. You may have seen this capability when working in parcels. You can create overlapping linework and the linework can participate in the same topology. his is a very powerful concept but it can lead to complexities in cases where the user intended the linework to be exactly duplicate but in reality there are very slight deviations in the linework. This degenerate geometry makes the solution more difficult to solve.

We continue to look for specific examples which result in problems with the grading functionality. If you are having problems with the grading functionality we encourage you to contact us and provide examples where it is failing.

2. I would like to know why in certain areas of labeling we have access to certain information and not others. To me if the program has the information, then why is it only available in limited areas? And finally, why can we not edit labels and add any “Fields” to the labels? When will data in C3D objects be exposed to Fields? -Daryl Standrich & Matt Anderson (Forgive my merging, trying to get bang for the buck here. JW)

In Civil 3D 2008, we introduced the concept of reference text. This was done to allow labeling of attributes between different objects.   This functionality has been extended with subsequent releases. If there are specific additional requirements Autodesk would like to have you provide these. The AutoCAD Fields were added to AutoCAD after the labeling property fields had been supported in Civil 3D. The Civil 3D team has not revisited this functionality to bring these two capabilities together.

3. Why have all the “RETIRED” macros and the LDT utilities been taken away from Civil 3D that have been in Land Desktop for years? -Jonathan Stewart

Several of the LDT utilities do not work effectively in the Civil 3D model. If you could prioritize what Macros and LDT utilities you think are critical, we can evaluate incorporating them into Civil 3D.

4. As Surveyors are targeted as users of Civil, can you explain why geospatial features, particularly FDO data acces capabilities are left out? Base geospatial data integral to many Surveyors’ workflow are increasingly supplied via WMS severs and server based data stores. I can understand leaving out GIS analysis tools from Civil, but why base data access capability? – Steve Nieradka

These capabilities are included as part of Map in the Civil 3D product. We are evaluating the minimal GIS data access requirements needed by the Civil products.

5. When will there be more work done on (Insert Pet Feature Here)? – A bunch of folks. We al know that won’t be addressed, but maybe we can work it… Can you give us ANY guidance on the C3D development roadmap? What’s do YOU see as the important features to be addressed still?

This is a difficult question to answer in an open forum.   We will continue to focus on the requirements of the industry, including fit-and-finish across the product. The most important information which helps us prioritize the roadmap is your input. If there are specific areas that you think we need to address, please get those requirements to us. You will also see incremental functionality in the form of extensions.

* Bonus Question: Where are they now? What happened to the Dan and Dave Show? Why the lack of Civil faces everywhere now a days? Back when we first started down this road with C3D, Dan, Dave & Peter were always on the boards and such discussing problems and offering advice on work arounds. Seems like since C3D was moved under the AEC group, we’ve lost our 3 Musketeers. Just doesn’t seem the same anymore. I’d like to know what happened? – Rick Graham and Shawn Caldwell

Dave, Peter, Dan and the entire Civil 3D team have been very busy tackling something really cool.


  1. Fred Mitchell says:

    Referring to the question 5 answer; how do we get that information to them? CERs? Subscription tech support requests?

  2. The response to question 2 seems incorrect. Fields have been in AutoCAD since at least 2006 (the oldest version on the computer I use). Dave and Dan can you please provide further clarification to the question?

  3. I don’t want to make a mountain out of the issue, but Dan/Dave/Peter/Tom etal – Please revist exposing Civil3d object data to things like AutoCAD FIELDS.

  4. John Mayo, PE says:

    I have also asked for C3D data in fields for some time now. It would really make labeling the model & creating tables with C3D data much easier when we create plan sheets. Sheet tables often need to data from different objects like alignments & points and surfaces & pipes, etc… I bet all the companies that have AutoCAD users creating sheets from C3D models would love this more than we would.

  5. john coon says:

    It took that long to get those answers. I wouldn’t waste your time getting new ones.
    Your doing a much better job getting the message out to everyday users than they ever have good & bad.

  6. Daryl Standrich says:

    Thanks first for including my question in what got passed on to Dan & Dave. To expand on question #2, my first specific addition would be: To get to the pipe length reference within a structure label. Here a standard label for us reads as follows:
    Sta. 29+00 CONSTRUCT
    Type 22 x 10′ Curb Inlet Rt.
    INSTALL 15″ x 264′
    Storm Sewer (RCP)(W)
    See Sheet No. 20
    We can get almost everything, but because we can not get to the length of pipe AND add in the Field for the sheet number, we are adding these notes to the layout sheet using mtext, because on a State DOT project the odds of renumbering sheets outweighs updating Station and Inlet information.
    Thank you for both submitting my question and for the answers.

  7. chris wallis says:

    GOD, YES!! – let me get a pipe length or other info thru fields!!! They’ve been around since 2005 (w/ sheet set manager) – that would be killer! (a.k.a. wicked cool…)

  8. Dan Philbrick says:

    Regarding question 2, I may have been off in the release timing of fields and label properties. Nevertheless, we’ll revisit the requirement of exposing Civil 3D properties in Fields.

    Regarding question 5, I’d suggest the Civil3D.wishes newsgroup.

    Dan Philbrick

  9. Conan Witzel says:

    In the case of question number 1.
    I don’t think I have one grading drawing that works, should I send them all?. Complex solutions are wonderful, IF they work. How about giving me an option of using something simple that works or the complex one that doesn’t. Often I find myself exploding the object and taking it to LDD to do a simple daylight. I need 3 to 1 to existing, the result can be a 3dpoly. As long as it works I could care less.