It’s the Little Things – 4

Here’s another tidbit of information that, while a very small and easy thing to do, has been on the wish list for some time and it will just give you the warm and fuzzies.

Here’s the scenario;
You’ve imported a bunch of points and your description keys did their thing and you now have some trees, manholes, and other such symbology in your drawing.  You discover a few of your description keys were defined incorrectly and your symbols need to change.  Problem is, you’ve already made your surface and removing and re-importing those points just to get the symbols right is not an option.

Here’s the solution:


Nuff Said.

Matt Kolberg


  1. Tom Snyder says:


    That looks to big be a very handy command that they added to 2010.

    I have a question about the points though…

    Do you need to have a style for every description from your code list before you can use your survey points to create a surface? Example would be a style for a MHE, MHW, MHS, ELV, etc…

    If yes, you would need to do a LOT of work before you could even use the function of points in Civil 3D, which may be impossible for the time schedules and budgets of projects in order to switch to Civil 3D.

    This could be a factor that some are not switching. Although it’s the future of design engineering, it’s a costly investment that’s not to straight forward for “an out of the box” uses when you have 2D capabilities already.

    I’m using the LDT topo, surface, and contours; then building our pipe networks, profiles, and plan production tools from them. Because of time and budgets, we haven’t the luxury of building a entire 3D model to work from.

    Am I correct or incorrect in thinking this way? My “Mastering Civil 3D 2008” book has lead me to think this way, but I would like to take the department (me) to the next step in full functionality of Civil 3D…just not quite sure how to accomplish this next step into the future with time and budgets constants.

    Any suggestions for easy implementation of points to Civil 3D would be appreciated. I need some real world advice with the regards to survey points within Civil 3D.


  2. Matt Kolberg says:

    You do not need a separate style for each description you use if all you want to do is create a surface. You don’t need any styles at all to make a surface, you just need 3 dimensional data. Where you DO need separate styles is for each description you want a symbol (manholes, valves etc.) This is how description keys work. Yes it takes some time to create these, but once you have them they’re done.

    Yes, Civil 3D out of the box isn’t entirely useful when it comes to your company’s unique drafting standards, but that’s the beauty of it. It’s so incredibly customizable, you can make it do nearly everything you need. You can go ahead and spend weeks or more doing this setup yourself, but honestly, hiring someone to do this is almost always a better idea. Styles and settings are complicated and it takes quite a while to get comfortable with them. I’ve done dozens of these things and I can generate a pretty complete DWT in less than a week, including all of your descriptio key point styles etc. And we know the tricks not just to create the styles, but to make your template very efficient and usable. I’ve had many clients attempt it themselves trying to save money, but after a couple months they often call me anyway. So they’ve in fact, spend far more.

    I’m not trying to sell anything to you here (well, maybe a little), I’m giving you some honest advice from someone who’s been on both sides of this argument.

    Regarding the 3D model thing, it’s no luxury; it’s a neccessity for me. Once you get good at Civil 3D you can appreciate what that model does for you in terms of dynamic labelling, volumes, sections, everything. I wouldn’t have it any other way.

    Hope this helps.

  3. Tom Snyder says:


    3D data, being points? My points are copied into the dwt as an
    “X” with number, elevation, and description text. I would need to bring in the points from the .fbk or .job file with the styles set already, right? How would you get 3D data any other way?

    Yes, it did help in understanding the next steps for me. Thanks for your honesty about your experience with creating yours/many DWT’s for Civil 3D. That’s quite impressive!

    I appreciate your efforts from the business side of this discussion and have received a proposal from EE and would have no problem in doing something like that, but I don’t get to have that luxury of deciding what or when we go in that direction.

    I’m a user that’s trying my best to implement this software for the department that has a sole user; me! With that said, my supervisor is willing and able to allow me the struggles and hardship of the trials and tribulation in building it piece by piece, to the point of completion. All though this process is not ideal for projects of budget limits and time constraints, it is evolving. And, I’m learning a lot of new things everyday to help the process move along in a positive direction. If my skills and experience can be of half yours, then I think we will make a complete DWT for new projects. Until then, we will be forced to use it in a limited form. I can’t wait for the day when we can use its full functionality that it was developed for. I love what I’ve done so far. Civil 3D ROCKS! And your correct in saying, I wouldn’t have it any other way. But I can’t…yet!

    Thanks again,

  4. John Mayo, PE says:


  5. William Neuhauser says:

    A good description key combined with linework will pay for the price of the software! The time saved is huge! Spend a little time now to save a whole bunch latter!

    Even with LDT I used to tell people that a good description key file would pay for the price of LDT in 30days….

    Think about it? If you downloaded say 500 pts in either LDT or C3D and you did not have DKs working for you. The next step for the user would be to spend about a half day adding in symbols, lines and separating pts to different layers etc. Half day is on the low side! Now do this two of three times a week with 50 to 80 bucks an hour being wasted. Now with C3D the ability to have the software go one step farther by changing the label styles as per DK. This also adds in more time saved…..

    Sure you could argue that a good list of Pt groups could do the same but the time it takes for C3D to “sorting pts….” gets real annoying and time wasting! My 2cents….

    Linework in 2010 is just frosting on the cake! And don’t forget that wecan now reapply DKs! (Wish of mine from a couple of years ago!)

    Bill Neuhauser P.E.