Fix the Spaghetti

So you’re a surveyor who wants to make the most of automated linework creation in
Civil 3D 2011.  You tried your best whilst surveying, but you end up with lines connected where they shouldn’t.  What to do?  Read on…

Here is what we have…spaghetti.


This is what we want.


A road with some driveways.  The western driveway was an afterthought and was picked up at the end of the day.  Let’s fix it.

Some, who shall remain nameless, will explode these into 2d polylines and AutoCAD edit their way to success.  While that may be a viable option, it doesn’t help you when you want to share these edits over multiple files or when you’re reprojecting them into multiple coordinate systems.  No, our goal is to maintain a clean survey database.

Let’s look at the west edge of the west driveway.  What we really want to do is connect points 4, 30, 32, 34, and 36.


One option is to select the figure and use the Insert PI and Delete PI ribbon tools to get the line you want.  Then simply right click the figure and select Update Survey Data from Drawing.  Any edits you make will be forced into the survey database.


That works fine, but it may take some fiddling to get perfect.  Here’s what I would do in this circumstance.

  1. Right click on the figure and select Edit Survey Figure Properties.  You’ll see a blue screen graphic showing the figure being edited.  And you’ll also be presented with a dialog with all of the vertices in the figureas well as a slew of buttons put there to make your life easy.
  2. Use those buttons to make your life easy, such as the Delete selected vertices button.
  3. Click OK.

Ok, there wasn’t really a third step, but I had to make it look like there was actually something to this.  No, it’s really freaking easy!  Some would say even easier that PEDIT.

Do this edit as needed for other figures.

If you need to delete a figure, do it from the Browse to Survey Data right click option.  Then right click the figure in the Panorama and select delete.


If you need to make a brand new figure, do it from the Create figure interactively or Create figure from object right click menu in the survey toolspace.


If you’re really set on editing using AutoCAD tools, you can certainly delete the figures (from the panorama), draw polylines all you want and then just create figures from them.

There you have it.  It CAN be easy to edit figures and fix the spaghetti..


Matt Kolberg


  1. Well, I guess if would be easier using control codes as begin (b) to re-order the behaviour of the figures.
    Also if it wasnt used at the field, afterwards the description code may be changed and re-processed the figures obtaining the real figures.

    Anyway, I’m expecting to download 2011 version, from suscription center, in Spain we dont have it yet 🙁 to check these new features “create figure interactively)


    Pedro Jesús Ortiz Toro

    [Please use your full name when posting, does not allow the use of pseudonyms. Thanks. JW]

  2. Brian says:

    Do you know of a way to do “on-curve” curves without editing your point descriptions? I.E. Autocad calculates the point of tangency and point of curvature based on the lines coming in and out of the curve.

    • Matt Anderson says:

      Brian –

      When your field crew shoots a 3point curve, only label the OC point with the OC designation.

  3. Mark Pendergraft says:

    My biggest issue with survey figures has to do with the elevations. It would be nice to leave them as figures, but everytime I snap a line to one the line assumes the elevation of the figure. Same with distances and offseting them. And yes, I have the figures flattened to 0.00. If I turn my drawing sideways, they are all 2d, but snap a line and it acts like it’s 3d.
    Just my 2 cents.

  4. Ryan Noyes says:

    Not sure if this would work for you or not but in 2010 couldn’t you set the object snap option in the “options” dialog on the drafting tab to “Replace Z value with current elevation” In some quick testing by me it seemed to let me measure 2d distances from survey figures and draw lines off figure points that remained at zero for my elevation for all points.