AEC Bloggers Day 2009

Today was a great day for all invited bloggers. We were invited to a webcast tailored for us, to show before release, the Subscription Advantage Pack (SAP). I’m pretty sure there will be duplicate items blogged about this, so my apologies in advance.

The SAP is scheduled for release to subscription users of Civil 3D. We were in great Civil 3D company at this webcast. Many Civil 3D ‘celebrities’ were in attendance, such as Dana Probert (BIM on the Rocks and Autodesk fame), Peter Funk (THE man), “Junction” Jack Strongitharm, Jason Hickey, and I even saw a blurb from Dave Simeone. And lest I forget, our very own James Wedding was there too. These people (and many more that I didn’t mention) have been very busy for a while on getting this ready. Follow the jump to get my take on this cool event.

We are officially allowed to blog about ANYTHING that we heard/saw – talk about freedom of press!

The main additions/improvements fall under these categories:

  • Point Cloud Support

Whether you realize it or not, Point Cloud objects are already in our 2010 release. The new Point Cloud Support will give you a new point cloud object. A cool feature is that you can control the display density via thematic style tools.  And you can snap to the points in the point cloud object. The example dataset they used contained 454,000 points and was over a gig in size. They already had it loaded into the model, but changing themes and playing with it seemed very snappy.

This paves the way for even better integration capabilities  in the future.

  • Roundabout Layout

Its as easy as picking on three alignments and you have a roundabout. Well you can set a plethora of options such as roundabout sizes, radii, whether you want to show striping, islands just to name a few. This tool is mainly driven by our friends in EU (Junction Jack’s name came up MANY times). When you are done, you have a Roundabout object that is dynamic. Note that this is a 2D (horizontal geometry) object. They eluded that there is more to come in this area.

  • Visualization and Analysis Tools

This had so many options that; due to time constraints,  they couldn’t show every one. So to highlight some of them:

  1. The ability to divide/crop a surface into an exported sub-surface. (way cool)
  2. Calculate minimum vertical distances between surfaces
  3. Calculate minimum vertical distances between entities.
  4. Create surface from GIS data – no Map3D was used!
  5. Best fit alignment and profile tool
  6. Split (create subset) alignment
  7. Saveas DGN improvements
  8. Point to Point Line of Sight – another way cool feature where you can clearly show via thematic styles, line of sight obstructions (such as a cell tower). This can also be used on multiple surface to show line of sight between surfaces!
  • Transportation Design Tools

This also had many options. Again to highlight:

  1. Best fit alignment and profile tool
  2. Split (create subset) alignment
  3. Join profile tangents – you can extend tangents to PVI’s by grade intersection.
  4. Set PVI by grade and elevation
  5. Create Spiral by sweep angle
  6. Import superelevation from Excel.
  • Survey Productivity Tools

There are some nice improvements here:

  1. Zoom to point (my favorite in this area)
  2. Crossing breakline utility
  3. Survey TSS and SRV format import
  4. Survey change report
  5. Survey point and chain edit utility
  6. They demonstrated the ability of having a discontinuous curve.

In order to install the SAP, you must be running the latest Civil 3D Service Pack.

These SAP’s will become integrated into Civil 3D 2011 and beyond, but they also said that this MAY open the door to more SAP’s in the future – I hope so.

All in all – some VERY nice additions for us Civil 3D subscription users. On behalf of all bloggers, thank-you Autodesk for this special treat.


  1. Kevin Clark, P.E. says:

    Can’t wait for the visualization tools. Hope my computer can handle it though.

  2. Kevin and Rick – just a side note on the visualization stuff – from what I heard none of that is dynamic – it just creates Autocad polylines and hatches, so to answer Kevin’s question, you are probably fine as far as your computer specs go since it isn’t dynamic. This is the line of sight and zone of visibility stuff.