Archive for June, 2010

AutoCAD Map 2011 New FDO Provider for SQLite

June 25, 2010

SQLite is an in-process library that implements a self contained, serverless, zero-configuration, transactional SQL database engine. I have created a spatial dataset for Harris County, TX, (City of Houston). The parcel layer holds 1.3 million polygons and their associated tabular information. The screenshot below shows the new SQLite provider accessing this information stored in a single SQLite file (1,137,600 KB). The performance is excellent. I encourage users to explore this new provider. It’s Small, Fast, and Reliable. More information can be found in the AutoCAD Map Help file and also on the SQLite Public Domain site link below.


Civil 3D 2011 Hotfix Number One!

June 22, 2010

Being a child at home alone in the summer is a high-risk occupation. If you call your mother at work thirteen times an hour, she can hurt you. ~Erma Bombeck

Hi, All! It is officially Summer. Ironically, Autodesk has released their first “Hot”-fix for Civil 3d 2011. Many of the corrected issues pertain to Survey, but not all. Some of the things that have been addressed are:

 Parcel creation from several selected objects using a DGN attachment
 The Help menu now represents the correct information when running Civil 3D 2011 as AutoCAD 2011
 Large datasets with particularly large numbers of points open and import faster
 The program no longer unexpectedly exits when creating a feature line from a closed polyline with elevations
 Survey figure prefix databases coincide with lower case survey figure names

Here is the link to the Civil 3D service pack/hotfix, be sure to install it to avoid the issues prior to its development.

Take care!

How do I extract a Cut/Fill Contour?

June 22, 2010

This is a question that runs past me time to time. As we’ve come to acknowledge with such a diverse product like AutoCAD Civil 3D 2011, there are about a million ways to achieve the same result. I confess, a slight exaggeration!

For such an easy task, I, myself struggled in means of a fail safe solution for:

1. Identifying elevation zero (0) which graphically represents the location of where cut areas meets fill areas.

2. And once identified, how do we extract those contours from the surface.

Prerequisite: Two surfaces would need to be created and a “Volume Surface” would contain both surfaces to inquire cut and fill volumes but also offers us the locations of cut and fill areas on the job site.

Finishing steps:

1. Create a surface style whether by New or Copy and name it to User Contour then under the Display tab, turn off all Components except for User Contours.


2. From your “Volume Surface”, go to Surface Properties and under the Information tab set the Surface Style to User Contour then click on the Analysis tab. Set the Analysis type to User-defined contours and the Range Number to 1 then click on the Run Analysis button (the down arrow button).

3. From the Range Details, you can edit the Elevation value to 0.00 and click the OK button to apply and exit dialog.


4. Here come the easy part! Select the User Contour in plan view and on the Contextual Ribbon under the Surface Tools panel you will find the Extract Objects command. A dialog will appear including the User Contour object Property just click OK to complete the command.

If you find this useful, place your User Contour surface style in the drawing template for future use. Enjoy!

Total CAD Systems, Inc.

Civil 3D and Navisworks

June 17, 2010

This post is for all of you out there that are learning Navisworks.  As many of you know, sometimes it can be a real pain to view large surfaces within Civil 3D, especially if you do a 3D Orbit.  By having Navisworks installed on your machine, Civil 3D notices that it is installed and gives us some new commands and functionality within Civil 3D.  So, having said that, there is a viewing engine that will open inside Civil 3D by using the NWNAVIGATOR command.  Dialog box is shown below:

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Once this dialog box comes up, you may then click on the refresh button within this dialog box, and your Civil 3D model will appear.

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Once refreshed you will have a nice, rendered model of your surface that you can rotate, pan, zoom, or orbit, without any lag.

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Nice little utility thanks to Navisworks!!

Point Clouds….in Autocad!?!

June 15, 2010

“What dreadful hot weather we have!  It keeps me in a continual state of inelegance.” –Jane Austen

…and it is only June, guys.  This time of year I am particularly thankful that I have an indoor job—and I also wish I had a backyard pool!  Nonetheless, I’ve spent the better part of the day searching around looking for tidbits or pearls of wisdom to share in Civil 3D this week.  I stumbled across something impressive that caught my attention—not in Civil 3D, but in regular, basic, plain, vanilla AutoCAD.  I don’t know if you guys have noticed, but AutoCAD has made some significant improvements over the years, and with the introduction of mesh surfaces, parametrics, and point clouds, 3D maneuverability is quickly melding into the AutoCAD workspace.  Today, let’s look at point clouds. 

Using the point cloud dialog box, point clouds can now be attached in much the same manner as external references, as ISD or PCG formats. (Look for the Point Cloud panel on the Insert tab of your ribbon)

The point cloud ribbon also allows control of the display density.  You can attach more than one point cloud, but the density controls all point clouds attached. (Use the slider bar to control point cloud density)

Point clouds consist of 3 dimensional point objects, usually shot by lasers, and you can rotate, zoom, as well as orbit around them.  Point cloud information can be used to assist in creating real, three- dimensional geometry.  Given the fact that AutoCAD can handle up to 2 billion points, you’re not in any danger of information overload since  typical point clouds are less than 50 million points.

So, check it out and let us know what you think…take care and keep cool!