Archive for May, 2011

Civil 3D 2012: “HELP” isn’t like the old help.

May 4, 2011

One of the most obvious change in the 2012 release is when you select the Help menu. Rather than opening the Help dialog locally, it opened a URL on my Internet Browser. This may be fine for most users but depending on what type of security implementations are in place at the workplace or if you have Internet connectivity, you are out of luck. You can change the option to open the Help locally.


1. Type OPTIONS in the Command line.

2. From the System tab, uncheck Use online help from Autodesk website when available


3. Now go to your Help menu!

Ryan Caudell

Importing GIS Data Into Pipe Networks with Civil 3D 2012

May 2, 2011

There is a new feature with Civil 3D 2012 that allows you to import GIS data into Civil 3D as a pipe network.  However, it can be real touchy.  The basis of this blog is to keep you from getting the same result I kept getting for a week straight.

The problem that I was facing is that when I brought the data in, all the pipe sizes were set at 12”.  I data connected the .shp file, and double checked my mapping to make sure that I was mapping the correct tag to read the pipe diameter.  Sure enough, I was mapping it correctly, but to no avail, it would only give me 12” pipes.

I am going to guide you through the process below so you won’t have to deal with this issue, as I did.

Best practice would be to data connect the .shp file and read the table to know exactly what to map in the GIS data import wizard.

Once you have connected the .shp file, select the .shp file in the Map Workspace and pick the Table button:

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This is where you will make note of what you want to map.  Keep in mind, for the pipe itself, you will need material, pipe inner diameter, upstream elevation and downstream elevation.  For manholes and inlets you will need the material, rim and sump.

Below is what the table looks like and what you will need to look for:

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Notice the “mapping” name.  It’s a good idea to write these down so you can use this in the “mapping” stage of the process.  You will get a better understanding of what this is when we get into the import GIS data wizard.

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As you can see here, the pipe diameter is called SEMIMAJORA.  This is why it’s important to take note of all the “mapping” names prior to executing the import GIS data wizard.

Now we can execute the import GIS data wizard.  On the Insert tab, Import panel, click on Import, then click Import GIS Data as shown:

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This brings up the wizard.  Here you can connect to a file, or a folder, as you do when you data connect in the Map Workspace.

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Here I connected to a folder.  Once you click the Connect button, the Next button becomes available.  Click Next.

This brings you to the Object Options page.  Give the Pipe Network a name.  Select a parts list, a structure label style and a pipe label style.

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Click Next.  This brings you to the Schema and Coordinates page.  Your .shp file should already read the correct coordinate system.  If not, you can select the ellipsis to the right, under the coordinate system column.  If you set the first one, it will populate the rest of them for you as shown:

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Click Next.  This brings you to the Data Mapping page.  Select the desired feature class and click the Add button:

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This will populate the Pipe Attribute Assignment.  This is where we “map” the data fields as shown below:

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Notice the Imported Data Unit column.  This is VERY important.  This is what caused me to have all 12” pipes throughout the pipe network.  If you don’t specify the Imported Data Unit, what happens is that is will read the first pipe size in your parts list and assign it to ALL the pipes.

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Make sure you go through the list and assign all other mapping fields.  Example below:

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Remember when we checked the data table from the map workspace that the pipe diameter was called SEMIMAJORA.  This is why it’s important to write down the fields that are embedded in the .shp file so your operation will perform correctly.  Click Next.

Now you will have add the manholes and inlets in your feature class, and assign their data fields as needed.

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Click Next.  A dialog box appears.  Select the first option as shown:

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Click Next again.  You are now on the Query Options page.  We want to Import All GIS Data and click Next.

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The last and final page, Clean Up.  Here we want to Snap Pipe and Structure Tolerance to 10.  This is because when these are drawn in, they are usually drawn with gaps between the structure and pipe.  This will fix the gap and join the pipe to the structure.

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Click Finish and wait.

Now you should have a pipe network, labeled and ready to go.

This operation was done without a surface or an alignment.  On the first page of the wizard you have an option to select a surface, IF you have one in the current drawing.  Also, the station and offset will have question marks if you did not have an alignment in the drawing prior to running this operation.

Contact us if you have any problems with this feature and we will help you the best that we can.

Have a great week!!