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AutoCAD Civil 3D 2008

Getting Started

23705-010000-5000A April 2007

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1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10

Chapter 1 Introduction . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 1
Installation . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .2
Installing on a Single Computer . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .2
Installing on a Network . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .2
Highlights of AutoCAD Civil 3D . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .2
What’s New in AutoCAD Civil 3D 2008 . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .3
Plan Production Tools . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .3
Project Management . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .3
Visualization . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .3
Lines and Curves . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .3
Annotation Menu . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .4
Survey . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .4
Pipe Networks . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .4
Labels . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .4
Surfaces . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .4
Grading . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .5
Parcels . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .5
Points . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .5
Alignments . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .5
Corridors . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .5
Profiles . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .5
Profile Views . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .6
Sections . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .6
Sample Data Provided with the Program . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .6

Tutorial Drawing Files . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 6
Getting Started Guide Drawing Files . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 6
Sample Drawing Templates . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 7
Learning How to Use AutoCAD Civil 3D . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 7
Getting Started Guide . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 7
Online Tutorials . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 8
Help System . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 8
Skill Builders . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 8
Autodesk Training Programs and Products . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 8
Moving from Land Desktop to Civil 3D . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 10

Chapter 2 Designing with Objects . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 11

Object Model . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 12
Object Relationships . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 14
Object Interface . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 16
Toolspace for Object Management . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 17
Prospector Tab . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 17
Settings Tab . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 19
Survey Tab . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 20
Toolbox Tab . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 20
Menu Standardization . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 21
Shortcut Menus . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 24
Layout Tools . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 25
Consistent Editing Methods . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 25
Item View . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 25
Grips . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 26
Panorama Window . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 27
Property Editors . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 28
AutoCAD Properties Editor . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 29
Standard Controls for Styles and Labels . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 29
Precision Layout Strategies . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 31
Object Building Blocks . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 32
Corridors . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 32
Pipe Networks . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 33

Chapter 3 Using Styles and Settings . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 39

Managing Styles . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 40
Types of Styles . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 42
Object Styles . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 42
Label Styles . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 44
Table Styles . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 47
Band Styles . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 48
Using Styles with Layers . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 49
Label Objects . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 50
Object Settings . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 52

vi | Contents
Chapter 4 Designing Drawing Standards . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 57
Creating Templates . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 58
Drawing Settings . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 59
Layer Standards . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 60
Object Styles . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 61
Label Styles . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 61
Plan Production Tools . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 61
Enhancing Drawings with Visualization Tools . . . . . . . . . . . 62

Chapter 5 Managing Project Data . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 65

The Collaborative Environment . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 66
Autodesk Vault . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 66
Access to Autodesk Vault . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 67
Autodesk Vault Set Up . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 68
Database Projects and Folders . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 68
User Accounts and Roles . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 69
External References (xrefs) . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 70
Data Shortcuts . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 70

Chapter 6 Exercises . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 75
Points . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 76
Surfaces . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 80
Grading . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 84
Parcels . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 88
Alignments . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 93
Profiles . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 99
Sections . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 103
Pipe Networks . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 107
Corridors . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 111
Survey . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 116
Object and Label Styles . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 120
Visualization . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 126
Label Objects . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 131

Glossary . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 137

Index . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 153

Contents | vii
AutoCAD® Civil 3D® is an easy-to-use design and drafting In this chapter
program that supports a wide range of civil engineering tasks. ■ Installation
■ Highlights of AutoCAD
The AutoCAD Civil 3D Getting Started guide introduces the
Civil 3D
program and provides some initial hands-on experience, using ■ Sample Data Provided with
the Program
the sample data included with the product. This first chapter
■ Learning How to Use
AutoCAD Civil 3D
contains brief descriptions of the most significant features and
■ Moving from Land Desktop
provides advice for users of AutoCAD Land Desktop who are to Civil 3D

learning about AutoCAD Civil 3D.

You install AutoCAD Civil 3D using the Installation wizard that opens
automatically when you insert the product media. Using the Installation
wizard you can access several pages of links, from which you can open online
versions of the documentation and locate other information to support the

Installing on a Single Computer

To install AutoCAD Civil 3D on a single computer, click the Install Products
link on the first page of the Installation wizard. Then, follow the instructions
on the screen. The Installation wizard provides links with answers to common
installation questions.
For information about installing AutoCAD Civil 3D on a single computer,
consult the Stand-Alone Installation Guide. To access this guide, in the
Installation wizard, click either the Quick Start to Installation or the Installation
Guide link. You can also click the Documentation link to access a PDF version
of this guide.

Installing on a Network
To deploy AutoCAD Civil 3D on a network, click the Create Deployments link
on the Installation wizard. Then, follow the instructions on the screen. For
information about deploying AutoCAD Civil 3D on a network, consult the
Network Administrator's Guide. To access this guide, in the Installation wizard,
click the Documentation link, and then click Network Administrator’s Guide

Highlights of AutoCAD Civil 3D

AutoCAD Civil 3D® is designed for land-development professionals, such as
civil engineers, surveyors, engineering technicians, and drafters. It features a
consistent, modern interface that is easy to learn and to use. Subsequent
chapters of this Getting Started guide introduce the objects and styles that are
the main structural features of the application.

2 | Chapter 1 Introduction
What’s New in AutoCAD Civil 3D 2008
This release of AutoCAD Civil 3D includes some new features and
enhancements to existing features, as described in the following sections.
More details about these enhancements are available in the New Features topic
of the Help and in the New Features Workshop.

Plan Production Tools

AutoCAD Civil 3D has new plan production tools that automate the process
of creating construction documents from your designs. Two new wizards
quickly guide you through the process of creating plan only, profile only, or
plan and profile sheets from an existing alignment.

Project Management
The feature is enhanced so that you can create a project using a project
template. Modifications have been made to the Data Shortcuts vista as well
as to the the Properties - Civil 3D Projects dialog box.

Enhancements to visualization features include the replacement of the Civil
3D Render Material Style by AutoCAD render materials. You will no longer
see a style collection for Render Material Styles in the Toolspace Settings tree.
When you open a legacy drawing in AutoCAD Civil 3D 2008, the AutoCAD
render materials corresponding to the materials that were used in the render
material styles are applied to the objects. A Drape Image command has been
added to the Surfaces menu.

Lines and Curves

AutoCAD Civil 3D has added new line and curve creation commands which
can be accessed in the new Lines/Curves menu.

What’s New in AutoCAD Civil 3D 2008 | 3

Annotation Menu
You can use the new Annotation menu, available in the Annotation and
Drafting workspace, to easily create and edit feature labels and tables.

You can import and export Survey LandXML data, manage LandXML
attributes, and create user-defined properties. You can now edit extended
properties. Now, when a Survey Network object is inserted into a drawing it
will provide feedback by displaying tooltips. You can create survey points
(control points and non-control points) from AutoCAD Civil 3D points
contained in the current drawing. Modify figure commands are available when
you right-click a figure collection or an individual figure.

Pipe Networks
You can now label a series of connected pipes with a single label, and create
new annotation tables for pipe and structure network parts.

You can use standard AutoCAD commands in the Object Property Manager
to control labels, most of which are now independent objects. You control
labels using styles or with layer control.

Surface building and editing operations are enhanced with faster performance,
direct import of more point file formats, and a new command to check for
contour problems.

4 | Chapter 1 Introduction
You can easily edit Feature lines using new commands and enhancements.
You can select Break and Trim commands on the Feature Lines toolbar. Feature
lines now display on the Prospector tab and you can view individual feature
lines in the list view. It is also now easier to edit feature line elevations with
the Elevation Editor.

You can add multiple parcel area labels. You can also display multiple parcel
labels in multiple viewports. The editing of multiple parcel styles and properties
is facilitated with the Edit Parcel Properties dialog box.

Points are now independent objects that you can individually select and
manipulate graphically. You can also list and modify point properties in the
Object Property windows.

You can create lines and arcs by best fit, add reverse floating curves with spirals
to fixed or floating entities. Alignments can now be created outside of a site.

The process of defining corridor surface boundaries has been enhanced. Also,
new subassemblies have been added for improved corridor modeling.

Profile creation and editing has been improved with new options. Profile view
bands and Profile view styles have been enhanced. You can create Profile Line

What’s New in AutoCAD Civil 3D 2008 | 5

and Curve elements based on a best fit. You can use new wizards to create
single profile views and multiple profile views.

Profile Views
New grid clipping and grid padding options have been added to the profile
view style.

Swath width editing has been facilitated with AutoCAD commands. You can
use the Section Sources dialog box to directly resample sections of a sample
line. In the Group Plot Style dialog box, visual cues are added to the Array
and Plot Area tabs. You can also plot Volume and Material tables with their
section views.

Sample Data Provided with the Program

To help you learn how to use AutoCAD Civil 3D and start experimenting with
its features, the product media includes sample drawings and data files.

Tutorial Drawing Files

Use these files with the tutorials that are part of the AutoCAD Civil 3D Help
After installation, the default location of the files is the following folder:
C:\Program Files\AutoCAD Civil 3D 2008\Help\Civil 3D Tutorials\Drawings

Getting Started Guide Drawing Files

Use these drawing files with the Exercises chapter of this Getting Started guide.
There is one file for each feature-specific concept discussed in that chapter.
You can open these files and follow some simple steps to learn more about
AutoCAD Civil 3D concepts.

6 | Chapter 1 Introduction
After installation, the default location of the files is the following folder:
C:\Program Files\AutoCAD Civil 3D 2008\Getting Started Guide

Sample Drawing Templates

AutoCAD Civil 3D also provides several drawing templates that contain sample
content for settings, styles, and organization of objects. Use these files as a
basis for developing your own content.
After installation, the files are located in the same folder as the AutoCAD
templates. To create a file from a template:

1 Click File menu ➤ New.

2 In the Select Template dialog box, select the template you want to use.
The AutoCAD Civil 3D templates are at the top of the list, with names
such as _AutoCAD Civil 3D (Imperial) NCS Base.dwt.

Learning How to Use AutoCAD Civil 3D

AutoCAD Civil 3D provides learning materials to get you started using the
software and complete documentation to serve as a reference. User
documentation for AutoCAD Civil 3D is comprised of the following:

■ Getting Started guide (in PDF format)

■ Online tutorials

■ Help system

■ Skill builders

■ Moving From Land Desktop to Civil 3D guide

Getting Started Guide

The Getting Started guide introduces the most important concepts in AutoCAD
Civil 3D. After reading through it, and perhaps doing some of the suggested
exercises with the sample files provided, you should feel comfortable enough
with the application to start experimenting on your own.

Sample Drawing Templates | 7

Online Tutorials
Access the online tutorials on the AutoCAD Civil 3D Help menu. The tutorials
offer a more in-depth guided tour of the major features of the application,
using realistic engineering drawings and data. For a thorough knowledge of
AutoCAD Civil 3D, it is recommended that you explore the tutorials after you
have read through the conceptual information provided by the Getting Started

Help System
The AutoCAD Civil 3D Help system is a Help file in HTML format with a table
of contents, an index, and a search function. You can print out the Help topics
that interest you. To print entire sections, you might prefer to work from the
PDF version of the Help system. By default, this document is available in
C:\Program Files\AutoCAD Civil 3D 2008\Help as civil_ug.pdf.
Use the Search tab in the Help to find topics that contain a particular word
or phrase. For the best results when searching for a phrase, enclose the words
in quotation marks, for example, “Quantity Takeoff.” Search results appear
in the left pane. The Help System home page lists topics by classifying them
by task, by feature, and by job role. The home page also includes links to
Learning Resources, Workflow Guide, the New Features Workshop, Tutorials,
and the Moving from Land Desktop to Civil 3D guide.

Skill Builders
Autodesk Civil 3D Skill Builders are advanced learning exercises that enable
you to practice performing design tasks using Civil 3D drawings.
To download Autodesk Civil 3D Skill Builders, visit

Autodesk Training Programs and Products

Training programs and products from Autodesk help you learn the key
technical features of your Autodesk software and improve your productivity.
For the latest information about Autodesk training, visit or contact your local Autodesk office.

8 | Chapter 1 Introduction
Autodesk Authorized Training Centers

Be more productive with Autodesk software. Get trained at an Autodesk

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Autodesk Training Programs and Products | 9

Moving from Land Desktop to Civil 3D
Many Land Desktop users are transitioning to using Civil 3D. The new Moving
from Land Desktop to Civil 3D guide, provides concepts, best practices, and
procedures for successfully moving from Land Desktop to Civil 3D. This guide
is available from the Help menu as compiled (.chm) as well as PDF. It contains
information on how to successfully plan for and transition an organization
from using Land Desktop to using Civil 3D. This guide also contains
information on tools for moving Land Desktop data into Civil 3D.

10 | Chapter 1 Introduction
Designing with Objects
The underlying object model in AutoCAD Civil 3D creates In this chapter
some major efficiencies in the engineering design process. ■ Object Model
■ Object Interface
Because of this model, changes to one object can affect related
■ Standard Controls for
objects, and object styles can control many aspects of object Styles and Labels
■ Precision Layout Strategies
appearance and behavior. This chapter describes both the
■ Object Building Blocks
object model and the AutoCAD Civil 3D user interface for
■ Exercise 1: Familiarization
working with objects.

Object Model
The architecture of AutoCAD Civil 3D ensures that each object, such as an
alignment or a parcel, has a standard set of attributes and relationships to
other objects. These objects are “intelligent” in the sense that they
automatically react in predictable ways to changes in related objects. As a
result, you do not need to spend hours ensuring that design revisions are
transferred correctly among surfaces, alignments, profiles, sections, labels,
tables, and other objects. The tedious tasks of redrafting and relabeling are
eliminated. Design options and “what if” scenarios can be created more easily
and analyzed with precision, resulting in significant process improvements.

12 | Chapter 2 Designing with Objects






Exploded representation of the object model

Object Model | 13
Object Relationships
The following illustration shows a simplified view of object relationships and
data flow in an AutoCAD Civil 3D drawing:

Object relationships and data flow

Field survey data creates figures and points that can be used to generate an
existing ground surface and parcels. This surface is referenced as other objects
are created in the design process, resulting finally in a designed surface.
Solid-line relationships indicate required inputs. Dotted-line relationships
indicate optional references. Parcels, existing ground surfaces, pipe networks,

14 | Chapter 2 Designing with Objects

and gradings have no solid-line inputs, which indicates that they can be
created independently, or from data sources not shown in the illustration.
Such objects are usually linked to other objects during the design process, if
not at the beginning. The object type with the most complex set of
relationships is the corridor, as it requires data from an alignment, profile,
and assembly. For the sake of clarity, this diagram does not show that in actual
practice a pipe network is built from pipes and structures.
Changes to any object automatically flow along the arrows to dependent
objects, with predictable results. For example, if you correct the elevations of
an existing ground surface, updates flow to any related grading objects,
corridors, profiles and pipe networks. As a result, all values represented in
labels and tables are also updated.
In the design process, after you create an alignment you can create many
profiles and sections. However, the display of these in profile views and section
views is optional and separate from the flow of data required to create the
final product—a designed surface. Similarly, the data from objects, such as
parcels and alignments, can be output to a table or report if desired.

Object Relationships | 15
Object Interface
The user interface of AutoCAD Civil 3D reflects the object architecture of the
application. The major elements are shown in the following illustration:

AutoCAD Civil 3D User Interface

The following notes describe the numbered items in the illustration:

1 Toolspace. For object management. Uses four tabs: Prospector, for

navigating through the object collections, Settings, for managing styles
and settings, Survey for managing survey data, and Toolbox for generating
object reports.

2 Item view. For a list view of the contents of the selected folder or a graphic
view of the selected object.

3 Layout tools. For creating and editing objects, such as gradings or


4 Standardized menus. For consistent access to the full range of commands.

5 Tabbed property editors. For modifying individual objects and their


16 | Chapter 2 Designing with Objects

Each part of the user interface is described in more detail in the following

Toolspace for Object Management

The Toolspace window provides an object-oriented view of your engineering
projects. The window is divided into four parts or tabs: Prospector tab, Settings
tab, Survey tab, and Toolbox tab.

Prospector Tab
On this tab, all of the objects in a drawing or project are arranged in a hierarchy
that you navigate in standard, Windows Explorer–like fashion. To access this
tab, click General menu ➤ Toolspace. To view all the collections in the
Prospector tree, select Master View from the list at the top of the Prospector
tab. The three collections available here are Open Drawings, Projects, and
Drawing Templates. Note that Projects lists projects available after you have
logged into an Autodesk Vault server and Vault database. A site collection
includes objects that are related to one another because they share topology.
The following illustration shows a typical structure. The Oak Street site folder
contains collections for alignments, grading groups, and parcels that belong
to the site. The Parcels folder contains the parcel objects defined for the Oak
Street subdivision. Note that the view selected is Active Drawing.

Toolspace for Object Management | 17

Objects are managed
in collections.

Expanding folders to the

lowest level shows the
individual objects.

The Prospector tab in Toolspace

18 | Chapter 2 Designing with Objects

Settings Tab
On this tab, styles are organized for different object types. Even in a blank
drawing, most of these styles are present in a standard hierarchy. You can
create and modify styles in a drawing, then save it as a template. Subsequent
drawings based on the template will automatically have the same set of styles
available. You can modify object, label, and table styles. You can also control
settings for drawings and commands. To access this tab, click General
menu ➤ Toolspace. In the following illustration, label and table styles for
parcels have been defined:

Each type of object can

have an unlimited
number of styles.

Predefined label styles

can be applied to any
parcel in the drawing.

The Settings tab in Toolspace

Toolspace for Object Management | 19

Survey Tab
To access this tab, click Survey menu ➤ Open Survey Toolspace. This tab
displays survey project data, organized within databases for survey projects,
equipment, and figure prefixes. The project databases record the survey points,
networks, and figures. The equipment databases record standard deviations
and other operational parameters of individual pieces of survey equipment.
The figure prefix databases record the conversion routines that are applied
when creating lots, buildings, or other figures from survey points.

The Survey tab in Toolspace

Unlike the Prospector and Settings tab, the contents of the Survey tab are not
specific to a drawing. This tab reflects the survey data in your AutoCAD Civil
3D Projects folder, so it facilitates access to survey data from multiple drawings.
The surveyed points and figures in a project can be converted to Civil 3D
points and parcels.

Toolbox Tab
To access this tab, click General menu ➤ Toolbox. This tab organizes reports
for each object type. The reports provide useful engineering data from a
drawing in a compact, portable format. AutoCAD Civil 3D includes many
standard reports. Some are in LandXML format, with predefined or custom

20 | Chapter 2 Designing with Objects

XSL style sheets. Other reports are VBA programs, with custom dialog boxes
that allow you to select the data and various options.

The Toolbox tab in Toolspace

You can add your own reports to the Toolbox menu. These reports can be in
a variety of formats, including XML, VBA, COM, or .NET.

Menu Standardization
The menus in AutoCAD Civil 3D are designed to be as consistent as possible
for all objects, making it easy to find the command you are looking for. This
standardization reflects the fact that the workflows for creating, editing, and
annotating various objects are quite similar.

Menu Standardization | 21
Comparison of the Pipes, Parcels, and Alignments menus

AutoCAD Civil 3D comes with several workspaces that you can use as-is or
change according to your preferences. Workspaces are sets of menus and
toolbars grouped together to enable you to customize workspace settings.
AutoCAD Civil 3D workspaces include Civil 3D Complete, Design, Annotation
and Drafting, Survey and Topographical, and Visualization and Rendering.
For more information about using workspaces, see the Help system.
The Annotation menu in the Annotation and Drafting workspace is designed
to ease the creation of annotation labels and tables. The Annotation menu
provides access to all label and table commands. The feature menus, such as
the Pipes, Parcels, and Alignment menus, also include options for the creation
of labels.
To modify label styles and settings, use the Add Labels command to access
the Add Labels dialog box. This command is located on both the feature (Civil
3D Complete workspace) and Annotation (Annotation & Drafting workspace)
menus. For a quicker method to add labels when your styles are already set,
you can use the direct creation method for specific label types. For example:
Parcels menu ➤ Add Parcel Labels ➤ Single Segment. To access the Add Labels
dialog box to edit or create features label styles, use Parcels menu ➤ Add Parcels
Labels ➤ Add Parcels Labels. See the Help system for instructions on creating
labels for features and objects.

22 | Chapter 2 Designing with Objects

Annotation Label and Table menus

Menu Standardization | 23
Shortcut Menus
AutoCAD Civil 3D uses shortcut menus extensively. These menus appear when
you right-click one or more objects in the drawing, or an individual item in
Toolspace. Shortcut menus provide quick access to common functions and
Here are two examples. The menu on the left opens when you right-click an
alignment object on the Prospector tab. The menu on the right opens when
you right-click a parcel.

Shortcut menus for an alignment and a parcel on the Prospector tab

The options on the shortcut menus on the Settings tab are also very similar
for different object types.

24 | Chapter 2 Designing with Objects

Layout Tools
AutoCAD Civil 3D provides separate dialog boxes, called Layout Tools, for
designing surfaces, alignments, grading, and other features. Each layout tools
dialog box provides access to object-specific design and editing commands in
a floating dialog box.

Layout tools for Grading, Alignments, and Pipe Networks

Consistent Editing Methods

Object editing in AutoCAD Civil 3D uses an approach that is quite consistent
for all objects. The main editing tools are described in the following sections.

Item View
When you click an object or an object collection on the Prospector tab, for
example, Points or Alignments, an item view appears. An item view can be
either a list view or a graphical view, depending on the object selected.

Layout Tools | 25
The item view presents a table in which you can review and edit data for each
object in the selected collection. For example, if you select a point group, the
item view table includes a row for each point in the group.

Click a table cell to

edit the value.

Item view showing a set of points

When you select an object in the drawing, grips appear on the object. You
can use these grips to click and drag the object to a new location. For example,
when editing alignments, you can use grips to move points of intersection or
points of line-arc tangency.

Direction of drag

Editing an alignment by dragging the grip at the midpoint of a curve

26 | Chapter 2 Designing with Objects

When you use a grip to drag a label object to a new location, a round reset
grip appears. You can click this round grip to return the label to its original
location. No matter how many times you have moved the label, the reset grip
will restore it to its original location.

Use the round grip to reset label location

Panorama Window
Some object types, such as alignments and profiles, use the Panorama window
to display a table of entities that make up that object. The Panorama window
is a floating, dockable window that you can keep open as you work. It can
include several tables, called vistas, on different tabs. Panorama data shown
in black text can be edited; data shown in gray text cannot be edited.

Double-click a table cell

to edit the value.

Panorama window showing an alignment

Consistent Editing Methods | 27

Property Editors
When you right-click any object on the Prospector tab, and then click
Properties, you can view all the AutoCAD Civil 3D properties of that object
and edit some of them. These properties typically include the styles, labels,
related objects, and some structural details of the current object.

Properties editor showing properties for a surface (above) and a point group (below)

28 | Chapter 2 Designing with Objects

AutoCAD Properties Editor
When you right-click an object in the drawing, and then click Properties, the
AutoCAD Properties dialog box is displayed. You can use this dialog box to
review and edit AutoCAD properties, such as the layer on which the object is
drawn. You can view the style assigned to the object, but you cannot change
it here. You can edit an object style on the Settings tab. Right-click the object
style and click Edit to open the <feature> Style dialog box.

Click a table cell to

edit the value.

Editing AutoCAD properties for an alignment

Standard Controls for Styles and Labels

Every AutoCAD Civil 3D object has a style assigned to it. These styles are
created, assigned, and managed in a consistent way for all objects. All objects
have an object style and can have one or more label styles. Some objects have
table styles as well. To browse the collections of styles in a drawing, see the
Settings tab of the Toolspace window:

Standard Controls for Styles and Labels | 29

Each type of object has a
default style, called Standard,
that you can copy and

The triangle indicates that

the style is currently assigned
to an object.

Each type of label also

has a default style.

Style collection folders on the Settings tab of the Toolspace window

To create a new style or to edit an existing style, right-click the style on the
Settings tab, and then click Edit.
The Style dialog box for labels is called the Label Style Composer. It contains
a preview window that makes it easy to adjust label location and appearance.

30 | Chapter 2 Designing with Objects

Label Style Composer dialog box showing a point label style

For more information about styles and labels, see the chapter Using Styles and
Settings (page 39) in this guide.

Precision Layout Strategies

When creating objects such as horizontal alignments, parcels, and profiles,
you may need to use several different methods. Sometimes you want to draw
quick freehand versions, other times you have specific distances and angles
to enter. AutoCAD Civil 3D supports both methods of working.
The main layout tools have settings that you can use to control some design
elements while you draw each object. For example, when drawing alignments
or profiles, you can create a series of linked tangents and add curves later, or
you can have curves of standard dimensions inserted at each tangent
intersection as you draw. Similarly, with parcels you can specify a default area
for each one and a minimum frontage distance.
You can also use the transparent commands feature to specify precise point
locations while you are laying out an object. From a current point in an
alignment or parcel you can specify the next point using standard surveying
methods, such as angle and distance, northing and easting, latitude and
longitude, or point number. As shown in the following figure, for a profile,
you can specify a point by methods such as station and elevation or grade
and distance. In each case, you use the command by entering a short code on

Precision Layout Strategies | 31

the command line (for example, ‘bd for bearing and distance) or by clicking
an icon on the Transparent Commands toolbar.

Distance transparent command in progress on a profile


Object Building Blocks

Corridors and pipe networks share a similar complex structure, in that both
objects are built up from standard components. These components exist in a
catalog, and you can modify them to create additional components.

A corridor is created from one or more assemblies, which are standard roadway
cross-sections. You design an assembly from subassemblies, such as lanes,
curbs, shoulders, and ditches. The subassemblies are provided in a set of
catalogs, which you can review by clicking General menu ➤ Catalog or General
menu ➤ Tool Palette Window.

Roadway assembly (left), with subassemblies shown in a tool palette (right)

32 | Chapter 2 Designing with Objects

Each subassembly has a defined cross-section, and some subassemblies
automatically adapt to their location. For example, the slope of a road lane
changes as superelevation is applied, and a side slope automatically creates
either a cut or fill slope, depending on the relative elevation of the existing
The dimensions of a subassembly, such as the width of a lane or the height
of a curb are stored as properties. If you want to create a new subassembly
based on an existing one, use this simple procedure:

1 Right-click a subassembly in the Tool Palette, copy it, and paste it.

2 Right-click the copy and click Properties.

3 Rename the subassembly and modify the numeric parameters.

You can also create custom subassemblies from AutoCAD polylines. In this
case, you must also specify the subassembly behavior within an assembly and
in the process of corridor creation. You can define custom subassemblies and
their behavior using Visual Basic for Applications (VBA) scripts, then use the
AutoCAD Civil 3D COM application programming interface (API) to link these
to the main application.
A subassembly definition references point, link, and shape codes. Points are
the vertices of the subassembly, and they can be attachment points for adjacent
assemblies. Links are the line segments or curves between the points. Shapes
are two-dimensional polygons that represent the cross-sectional shape of the
subassembly. The following figure shows a coding diagram for a Basic Curb
and Gutter subassembly:

Pipe Networks
A pipe network is constructed from various pipes and structures that appear
in a parts list. You can see the available lists on the Toolspace Settings tab by
expanding the Pipe Network ➤ Parts Lists collection.

Pipe Networks | 33
AutoCAD Civil 3D includes a utility called Part Builder, which you can use to
edit the dimensions of parts and create new ones. You can create a new part
by saving an existing one with a new name, then modifying its dimensions
in various tables.

Detail from a PartBuilder edit window for a concentric cylindrical


34 | Chapter 2 Designing with Objects

Exercise 1: Familiarization Tour
In this exercise, you will explore the Toolspace and Workspace settings.
Using an alignment as an example, you will explore objects and styles located
on the Toolspace Prospector and Settings tabs. You will also examine the
workspace menus.

To view Toolspace tabs in AutoCAD Civil 3D

1 Open the file C:\Program

Files\Autodesk Civil 3D 2008 \Getting
Started Guide\GSG_alignments.dwg.
To access the Toolspace, click General
menu and click Toolspace.
In Toolspace, on the Settings tab, ex-
pand the Alignment collection. Note
the Alignment Styles, Label Styles,
Table Styles, and Commands collec-

2 Right-click the drawing GSG_align-

ments.dwg. The context menu
provides access to dialog boxes where
you can edit drawing settings, label
style defaults, and LandXML settings.

Exercise 1: Familiarization Tour | 35

3 In Toolspace, on the Prospector tab,
expand the Sites collection and ex-
pand the Conway Farms and its
Alignments. Right-click East-West
Drive. The context menu enables you
to open dialog boxes to view and
change properties such as Object Style
and reference points.
Make changes as desired and click OK.
Now expand the Parcels collection and
observe how parcel data is displayed
by opening the Properties dialog box.
You can also edit object styles, create
mapcheck or inverse reports, or edit
properties that you can define such as
parcel address.

4 Now you will explore the workspace

settings. You can customize the work-
space menus to suit your particular
tasks or preferences.
Select Annotation and Drafting and
observe how the menus are reorgan-

36 | Chapter 2 Designing with Objects

5 Select the Annotation menu. Note the
commands for adding feature labels
and tables. This menu facilitates the
labeling process during the drafting
stage of your project. Experiment with
the workspace settings and customize
for your design needs.

Click , located in the toolbar menu

as shown in the illustration in step 4,
to open the Workspace Settings dialog
box. Use this to customize the order
and display of the settings.

Exercise 1: Familiarization Tour | 37

Using Styles and Settings
Styles determine the display format and some aspects of the In this chapter
behavior of objects and their labels. Together with settings, a ■ Managing Styles
■ Types of Styles
versatile set of styles can help to establish CAD standards and
■ Using Styles with Layers
promote efficiency at every stage of the design process.
■ Label Objects
■ Object Settings
■ Exercise 2: Object and
Label Styles

Managing Styles
Styles give you the flexibility needed to control object appearance and behavior
and to establish design standards. If you are the CAD manager in your
organization, you may find that time spent in creating styles for others to use
pays off in terms of efficiency and standards compliance. If you work with
styles that have been created for you, you should find that they are easy to
use and provide the right look to your drawings.
AutoCAD Civil 3D is an object-oriented program that works with intelligent
objects. The objects reference a style, which can be changed at any time. Any
style can be copied by dragging it from one drawing to another. The new
drawing knows where to put that style in the Settings tree. You can then apply
the new style to existing objects.
Any style can be copied by creating a child style. Child styles derive their
default settings from its parent, the existing style. To create a child style for
a label, in the Toolspace Settings tab, right-click a label style and click New to
open the Label Style Composer dialog box. Make changes to the settings as
desired and click OK. The child style will appear underneath the parent style
in the Settings tree. See the Labels and Settings exercise at the end of this
You can use styles to manage the appearance of objects at different phases of
a project. In the following illustration, the upper drawing uses surface and
parcel styles appropriate for a preliminary layout, while the lower drawing
uses completely different styles for the final presentation:

40 | Chapter 3 Using Styles and Settings

Early layout phase

Final drawing phase

Using customized surface and alignment styles for different phases of a project

Managing Styles | 41
Types of Styles
AutoCAD Civil 3D includes styles for objects, their labels, data tables, and the
bands that annotate profile views and section views. Each of these types is
described in the following pages.

Object Styles
Each object type includes a Standard style. Use this style as it is, or as a basis
for building custom styles. You can create styles to meet the needs of a
particular project, a group of users, or any other design requirement. Groups
of styles can be collected into a template (.dwt) file, so that all drawings based
on that template will share the same style configuration.
All object types have similar style controls, and a similar set of style collections
on the Toolspace Settings tab. You access the style editing dialog boxes by
right-clicking one of the styles and then clicking Edit.
The following illustration shows some common style editing tasks for points,
surfaces, and alignments:

42 | Chapter 3 Using Styles and Settings

1 Point style: using a custom

2 Surface style: smoothing


3 Alignment style: changing the

color of the line components

Editing the style for three different types of object

Object Styles | 43
In addition to feature-specific styles, AutoCAD Civil 3D includes multipurpose
styles that apply to several objects. Most of these styles apply to grading objects
and corridor assemblies, and control the appearance of components, such as
markers, feature lines, and slope patterns.

Label Styles
Labels are associated with many objects, and their content is updated whenever
the object itself is changed. Labels are also controlled by styles. You can modify
the label styles in the same way that you modify the object styles: right-click
a style name on the Toolspace Settings tab, then click Edit. You can create
and save label sets for alignments, profiles, and sections, which allows you to
apply multiple label types in one operation. For example, an alignment label
set could include labels for major stations, minor stations, and geometry
Labels can include text, blocks, lines, ticks, and leaders. You can easily create
labels and preview their appearance in the Label Style Composer dialog box,
as shown in the following illustration:

44 | Chapter 3 Using Styles and Settings

Alignment station labels and parcel area Table styles can also
labels appear in the drawing as they appear be customized.
in the preview of the Style Composer.

Previewing customized label styles for alignment stations and parcel area

Label Styles | 45
When composing a label style, you work with the following types of attributes:

■ Location. Control the location of the label in relation to the object.

■ Text. Specify which object data is displayed, and set the size, color, and
font for the text.

■ Appearance and Visibility. Define the bounding box, color, lineweight,

linetype, and other aspects of label appearance, and set the visibility of
any of the label components.

■ Dragged State. Determine how a label changes if it is dragged away from

the default location to a place where it is more readable. For example, you
can specify the addition of a leader line with arrow.

■ Plan readability. Automatically rotate any upside-down label text so it is

readable in plan view. Otherwise, if labels are oriented in relation to an
object, they can be displayed upside-down.

■ Orientation. Set the rotation angle of the labels in relation to the object
you are labeling, the current view, or the world coordinate system (WCS).

Setting the label style defaults provides an efficient way to standardize some
key aspects of label appearance and behavior for all objects in the drawing.
To review and edit these defaults, right-click the drawing name on the
Toolspace Settings tab and click Edit Label Style Defaults.
All label text is controlled by the Text Component Editor. To access the Text
Component Editor: In the Label Style Composer dialog box, click the Layout
tab. Select a component from the Component Name list, or create a new text
component. Under Text, click the Value column for Contents, and then click
. You can use this editor to simultaneously edit the text for an entire group
of labels.

46 | Chapter 3 Using Styles and Settings

Use the Properties list at the top of the dialog box to specify which object
property to include in the label. For example, a parcel area label can include
properties such as the parcel area, perimeter, number, and street address. Each
property component can include character strings and data codes, as shown
on the screen on the right. After you select a property to include, use the table
on the left to specify the format of text inside the double brackets (<[text]>).
When you finish modifying the values, click the right arrow at the top of the
dialog box to send the updated component to the screen on the right. Use
the screen on the right to modify the standard text strings outside the brackets
and to cut and paste entire components.

Table Styles
AutoCAD Civil 3D provides automated data tables for points, surfaces, parcels,
alignments, and quantity takeoff. As shown in the following illustration, these
tables provide a concise display of object data as an alternative to using object
labels. The table styles control the data properties and the displayed
components of the table. Data properties include the data format, order of
columns, text style, and whether the table title and column headers are
repeated if the table is split. Display components include the borders,
separators, fill, and text. You can control each component’s visibility, color,
linetype, and scale.

Table Styles | 47
Example data table for the Ridge Road alignment

Band Styles
Profiles and sections are displayed in a graph format. These profile views and
section views can be annotated with data bands along the top and bottom of
the grid. Each band marks significant points along the length of the profile
or section. In a profile view, for example, you can have separate bands for
vertical geometry, horizontal geometry, superelevation data, and pipe networks.
The following illustration shows part of a profile data band above a horizontal
geometry band. In the profile data band, at each major station you see the
elevations of the existing ground and finished grade profiles. The horizontal
geometry band shows the location of a curve and some engineering data about
the curve.

Part of two profile view data bands

48 | Chapter 3 Using Styles and Settings

Separate band styles exist for each band type. In each style definition, you
can specify what data to display and details of the band format, such as the
height and position of the band (above or below the grid), and the color of
components, such as borders and labels. If you want a standard set of bands
for use with profile or section views, you can define these as a band set and
apply them as needed.

Using Styles with Layers

Most objects in AutoCAD Civil 3D have several components. For example, a
surface includes contours, triangles, and points. You can control how these
components are displayed either by using layers or by setting the display
properties directly in the object style. You use the Layer Properties Manager
dialog box and the Object Style dialog box respectively to do this.
The Display tab of the <Object> Style dialog box provides a number of settings
that are similar to those in the Layer Properties Manager dialog box, such as
visibility, color, linetype, and lineweight. This duplication means that you
can control object appearance using only styles, only layers, or a combination
of the two.
Display properties defined in the <Object> Style dialog box override the
settings defined for the drawing layers in the Layer Properties Manager dialog
box. For example, you can use two different styles to distinguish the display
of existing ground and finished grade surfaces, even if they are drawn on the
same layer.
The following illustration shows how you can use both style settings and
traditional layers to control the display characteristics of an object. The style
shown in the upper drawing directly modifies the color and visibility of the
surface components, so that the surface points are turned on and colored red,
even though the layer on which the points are drawn (0) is turned off and
colored white in the Layer Properties Manager dialog box.
The style shown in the lower drawing assigns the surface components to layers
already defined in the drawing. In this case, the color of the major and minor
contours is set by the C-TOPO-MAJR and C-TOPO-MINR layers.

Using Styles with Layers | 49

Visibility and color
of the surface
are controlled by
settings on the
Display tab of the
Surface Style
dialog box.

Visibility and color

of the surface
are controlled by the
layer assignment.

Managing object appearance using style settings (above) and layers (below)

Label Objects
AutoCAD Civil 3D 2008 includes an expansion of new independent label
objects. In previous releases, the majority of labels were subentities of the
objects they were annotating. In this release, most labels are implemented as
independent label objects and are not highlighted when the parent object is

50 | Chapter 3 Using Styles and Settings

selected. Label object properties are separate from the parent object. You can
use the command line List command to display the label properties.
Label objects can include references to other AutoCAD Civil 3D objects by
including Referenced Text components.
The layer behavior of these labels is different. For example, their new default
layers are specified in the Drawing Settings and can be changed using the
AutoCAD Object Property Manager (OPM) (instead of by modifying the label
style with the Label Properties dialog box). To manage label behavior with
the OPM, use the feature context menu.
You can control the behavior of labels in one of two ways, either by referencing
the layer in the style or the layer that the label resides on.
In previous releases of AutoCAD Civil 3D, all group type labels were subentities
of the parent object. If the parent object was frozen, the labels would disappear
with the frozen parent object. Independent object labels are no longer
subentities of the parent object. However, if you desire to control the object
layer in conjunction with a parent object, you can set the layers that the label
resides on to 0, which will make it behave as if it were a subentity of the parent
object. In this case, with the layer set to 0, if the layer of the parent object is
frozen, the label will also be frozen (and will no longer be visible).
Now you can use the AutoCAD Object Property Manager (OPM) to manage
most labels. The OPM displays the Standard AutoCAD properties and the label
properties such as Label Style and whether the label is visible, flipped, or
To edit a group of labels, right-click a label (to highlight the group) and click
either Label Properties or Properties to access the AutoCAD Object Property
Manager. You are able to simultaneously edit an entire group of labels. For
example, you can create additional label text for inclusion on all labels by
performing a single action.
Also, label objects allow you to select and edit a single label if desired. To edit
a single label within a label group, use Ctrl+left-click to select a label. This
highlights the label, which is a subentity of the label group. Right-click the
label and click either Label Properties or Properties to access the Object Property
Manager. To select more than one label (subentity) continue to press Ctrl and
click additional labels.

Label Objects | 51
Object Settings
Settings in AutoCAD Civil 3D provide many preset values, ranging from
drawing units, scale, and coordinate system, to optional defaults, such as the
layers that the different objects are created on, and the use of tooltips. You
can access the setting dialog boxes by right-clicking the appropriate collection
on the Toolspace Settings tab, then clicking Edit Feature Settings.
You can work with three levels of settings:

■ Drawing settings establish values for the whole drawing. If you are creating
a drawing template, ensure that these are set correctly.

■ Feature settings control behavior for a particular feature, such as Parcels

or Grading.

■ Command settings apply to individual commands within a feature, such

as the CreateParcelByLayout command within the Parcels feature.

Each lower level object in the settings hierarchy can either inherit or override
settings in the level above it. The following illustration shows an override set
for area units at the Parcels feature level. The arrow in the Child Override
column of the Drawing Settings dialog box (upper drawing) indicates that an
override has been set at a lower level. The check mark in the Override column
in the Parcel Settings dialog box (lower drawing) indicates that the value set
in this dialog box overrides the setting at a higher level. At the drawing level
you can cancel an override by clicking it. You can prevent overrides by locking
a setting.

52 | Chapter 3 Using Styles and Settings

Area units for parcel objects
are acres, overriding the
drawing setting. For other
objects, area units remain
set to square meters.

How feature settings can override drawing settings

Exercise 2: Object and Label Styles

In this exercise, you create and modify a child label style.

Exercise 2: Object and Label Styles | 53

Using parcel labels as an example, you will learn how to create a child style
and observe how changes to parent styles affect the child styles.

To create and change label styles in AutoCAD Civil 3D

1 Open the file C:\Program

Files\Autodesk Civil 3D 2008\Getting
Started Guide\GSG_styles.dwg.
In Toolspace, on the Settings tab, ex-
pand the Parcel collection, and then
expand the Label Styles collection.
Now expand Area and right-click the
Standard style. Click New.

2 On the Label Style Composer dialog

box Information Tab, the new style
name is Standard: [Child].
Make changes as desired and click OK.
Observe that in the Toolspace Settings
Label Style collection, the new child
style appears under Standard.

54 | Chapter 3 Using Styles and Settings

3 Right-click Standard and click Edit.
In the Label Style Composer dialog
box, on the Layout tab, change the
Border Visibility setting to True. Note
that now a visible border is displayed
around the label.

4 Right-click the Standard [Child] Label

and click Edit.
On the Label Style Composer Layout
Tab, observe that the change to the
parent style has affected the child
style, which now also has a Border
Visibility setting of True.

Exercise 2: Object and Label Styles | 55

56 | Chapter 3 Using Styles and Settings
Designing Drawing
Standards 4
This chapter outlines a process for creating drawing templates In this chapter
that can help you establish a consistent format for drawings ■ Creating Templates
■ Exercise 3: Drawing
and a standard design process.

Creating Templates
AutoCAD Civil 3D provides a number of features that contribute to a standard
appearance and behavior for all your drawings. These can all be contained in
a drawing template, which is saved as a .dwt file. Your organization may need
several templates for different customers or project types. Ideally, whenever
you start a new drawing, you can open a template that contains all the required
settings and styles. The general process for setting up a template is described
in the following sections.
Units and precision for
alignments are set in the
STA=22+00.00 template file.

LOT: 1
Area: 8321.86 sq. m
0.83 hectares

Lot labels are controlled by

a parcel label style, which
could also be defined in the
template file.

Defining standards using a template file and a label style

58 | Chapter 4 Designing Drawing Standards

Drawing Settings
As a basis for configuring your drawing settings, choose an existing template
that is closest to your needs. To see the available templates, click File
menu ➤ New. If you want some preset object styles, the four templates that
have names beginning with “_AutoCAD Civil 3D”, are recommended. The
names of these templates, such as AutoCAD Civil 3D (Imperial) NCS Base.dwt,
indicate some of their settings. The metric or imperial label indicates the main
unit of measure.
After choosing your initial template, the next logical step is to review and edit
settings. On the Toolspace Settings tab, right-click the drawing name and click
Edit Drawing Settings. The Drawing Settings dialog box includes five tabs and
many settings.

The Object Layers tab provides a convenient table for assigning objects to
layers, and creating or renaming layers. When designing your use of layers,
consider the following points:

■ Objects on the same layer are turned on and off together if you change
the layer visibility. For maximum display flexibility, spread objects and
their components across several layers.

■ The color of a layer affects all objects assigned to that layer that are drawn
in a style that uses the ByLayer color setting. If you set up styles this way,
you can change the color of many objects by simply changing the layer

The Abbreviations tab is a central location in which to set the abbreviations

used in object labels, especially for alignment and profile geometry points.
The Ambient Settings tab requires a careful review, because it provides global
default settings, such as the precision of numeric values, and the visibility of
tooltips. One very useful setting is the General setting, Save Command Changes

Drawing Settings | 59
To Settings. If you set this to Yes, then whenever you change a setting, such
as the radius of an alignment curve, it is saved as the default value for next
time. Another important setting is Independent Layer On. This must be set
to No if you want to be able to control object visibility by turning layers on
and off.
On the Ambient Settings tab, you see a blue arrow in the Child Override
column next to any setting that is changed for one or more features (objects)
in the drawing. You can cancel the override by clicking the arrow, and you
can click the lock icon to lock any setting and prevent overrides at the feature

After configuring the ambient settings, you should work down through Point,
Surface, and other features in the Settings tree, right-clicking each feature and
selecting Edit Feature Settings. Doing this allows you to examine the default
styles for each feature and its labels, the feature name format, and other settings
that you may want to modify. The ambient settings you configured at the
drawing level are available at the feature level in case you want to override

Layer Standards
Maintaining a standard for the use of layers is easier if you have a drawing
template with predefined layers, and styles that reference those layers when
objects are created. For additional consistency, save your template as an
AutoCAD standards file (.dws format). Then, in the template, enter the
STANDARDS command and in the Configure Standards dialog box, link the
standards file to the template. If you want to enforce the standards, you can
click the Settings button and activate notifications of standards violations, or
override such violations. For more information, see Define Standards in the
AutoCAD help.

60 | Chapter 4 Designing Drawing Standards

Object Styles
Ideally, your drawing template will have the perfect set of styles for your
projects, but this usually takes some time to evolve. To assist the process,
create a demonstration drawing that contains one or more surface, alignment,
and other object types. This provides a good laboratory in which to display
and develop styles. Consider designing styles to reflect the information
requirements at different times in the project. For example, create styles for
objects in the design phase, and other styles for their final presentation. Also,
you can create styles for different users of the drawings, showing object details
and labels that present the data each type of user needs.

Label Styles
The styles for labels are another template item that should be developed with
a top-down approach, similar to drawing settings and feature settings. At the
drawing level, click Edit Label Style Defaults. In this context, you can set global
standards such as those for text font, size, and label behavior around curves.
As with the object styles, after setting label style defaults you can review the
feature-level settings and apply any required overrides.

Plan Production Tools

You can use AutoCAD Civil 3D plan production tools to automate the process
of creating construction documents from your designs. Using the Create View
Frames and Create Sheets wizards, you can create sheets that automatically
display segments of alignments and profiles in your plans. You can create
view frame groups that automatically capture predefined areas along an
alignment. The view frame groups save you time, as you don’t have to
manually create viewports along an alignment, or recreate sheets when your
design data changes. Select an alignment in your drawing, and with the plan
production tools you can quickly create sheets that automatically display the
desired data.

Click General menu ➤ Plan Production Tools ➤ Create View Frames to open
the View Frames wizard. You can use the View Frames Wizard to quickly create
view frames along an alignment. Click General menu ➤ Plan Production
Tools ➤ Create Sheets to open the Create Sheets wizard to easily create sheets
for construction plans. For information about Plan Production tools, see The

Object Styles | 61
Next Move in the Moving From Land Desktop to Civil 3D guide and Plan
Production Tools in the Help system.

Enhancing Drawings with Visualization Tools

AutoCAD render materials can greatly enhance the appearance of your
drawings by simulating real world materials for a more realistic view of the
design. Experiment with the render materials to determine which will work
best for your drawings. You can use this feature to enhance renderings of
surfaces, corridors, and pipe networks. Click View menu ➤ Render ➤ Render
to render the object with the selected material. Click View menu ➤ Render
➤ Materials to open the Render Materials dialog box, in which you can create
new materials and add or remove materials from the current drawing. For
more information, see Render Materials in the Help system.

Exercise 3: Drawing Settings

In this exercise, you open a file containing alignments and look at some ways
to work with drawing settings in AutoCAD Civil 3D.
Using alignments as an example, you will learn how to edit the drawing
settings to specify the default layer on which new objects will be created.

To set up object layers in AutoCAD Civil 3D

1 Open the file C:\Program

Files\Autodesk Civil 3D 2008 \Getting
Started Guide\GSG_alignments.dwg.
Click View menu ➤ Zoom ➤ Window.
Draw a rectangle that includes the
sketch lines at the bottom. Your view
of the drawing should look like this.

62 | Chapter 4 Designing Drawing Standards

2 In Toolspace, on the Settings tab,
right-click the name of the drawing
and click Edit Drawing Settings.

3 In the Drawing Settings dialog box,

click the Object Layers tab.
This tab shows the default layers on
which the various objects are created.
You will change the default layer for

4 On the Object Layers tab, in the

Alignment row, click the C-ROAD
In the Layer Selection dialog box, se-
lect the C-ROAD-CNTR row. Click OK
twice to exit the Settings dialog boxes.

5 Click Alignments menu ➤ Create

Alignment From Polyline.
In the drawing, click the green poly-
line at the bottom of the drawing.

6 In the Create Alignment dialog box,

for Alignment Style, select Major Road.
Note that the Alignment Layer is set
to C-ROAD-CNTR. New alignments
will be placed on this layer.
Click OK.

Exercise 3: Drawing Settings | 63

7 The new alignment is drawn on the
C-ROAD-CNTR layer, using the Major
Road style.

64 | Chapter 4 Designing Drawing Standards

Managing Project Data
The project management feature of AutoCAD Civil 3D is based In this chapter
on Autodesk Vault, a database for storing and sharing data ■ The Collaborative
among members of a project team. This chapter explains how
■ Autodesk Vault
to set up and use Autodesk Vault most effectively to manage ■ Access to Autodesk Vault
■ Autodesk Vault Set Up
your projects. The project management system also includes
■ External References (xrefs)
the data reference methods known as External References
■ Data Shortcuts
(xrefs) and Data Shortcuts, which you can use for less complex ■ Exercise 4: Creating a Data
and smaller projects.

The Collaborative Environment
The project management system supports shared access to project files by an
entire design team. There are three mechanisms for the sharing of design data
within a project:

■ Object References in Autodesk Vault

■ External References

■ Data Shortcuts

Before deciding which method to use, consider the complexity of drawings,

the number of drawings involved, the size of your project team that will access
and edit the files, and your requirements for ease of use as opposed to your
need for data security. Each mechanism is best suited to particular project

Autodesk Vault
The heart of the project management system is a set of project folders in an
Autodesk Vault database. These folders can contain databases of point objects,
along with official copies of surfaces, alignments, and other objects. When
you want to edit a particular drawing, you can check it out from the database,
which locks it so that other users can get a read-only copy, but cannot edit
the drawing.
As shown in the following illustration, you can import some read-only
reference objects from the Vault database, such as surfaces or alignments into
a drawing. These reference objects participate in the design process within
your local drawing. You can change their style and labeling, but you cannot
change their geometry.

66 | Chapter 5 Managing Project Data




A user with edit permissions for the reference object can check out the drawing
that contains the master copy and change it. When the edited version is
checked back into the database, any open drawing that contains a reference
copy is updated with markers in the Prospector tree and the Windows System
Tray, advising the user that their drawing does not include the latest version
of the reference object. The user can choose to update the object or not.
Whenever a drawing that contains a reference object is opened, it automatically
retrieves the latest version of the reference object.

Access to Autodesk Vault

When you install AutoCAD Civil 3D, you have the option of installing a
stand-alone Autodesk Vault database on your computer. This database is good
for experimenting with project management commands, but it cannot support
multiple users. The other option is to install the Autodesk Vault server on a
network, which creates a multi-user production system.
In either case, you can access the Autodesk Vault database on the Toolspace
Prospector tab, Master View. Simply right-click the Projects icon and click Log
In. Alternatively, on the Windows Start menu, launch the application Autodesk
Vault Explorer.

Access to Autodesk Vault | 67

Autodesk Vault Set Up
If you follow a few general guidelines for creating user accounts and databases,
you can ensure that your system balances data security with ease of use.

Database Projects and Folders

You can create project directories and folders within either AutoCAD Civil 3D
or Autodesk Vault. However, a drawing can contain objects from only one
project. In the same project you should include all data and drawings that
can possibly relate to each other, to facilitate object sharing.
The standard project folder structure for AutoCAD Civil 3D is shown in the
following illustration:

In this example, a project named Park Project includes collections of drawings,

alignments, and surfaces. Placeholders exist for points, pipe networks, and a
survey database. The object collections, such as Alignments, include all objects
that are shared within the project, for read-only use by members of the project
The security framework for project folders is described in the following section.

68 | Chapter 5 Managing Project Data

User Accounts and Roles
Each person using your Autodesk Vault database has one of three main user

■ Administrator

■ Vault Editor

■ Vault Consumer

The Administrator role has the highest level of permissions, and is able to do
all tasks on the server and within Autodesk Vault databases. Only an
administrator can create user accounts, user groups, and databases on the
server, and set access permissions. For security purposes, only a few users
should have administrator permissions, but enough so that an administrator
is always available during work hours.
A Vault Editor has full read-write permissions within Autodesk Vault, and is
able to create new projects and folders in the database, add files, and edit files.
Assign this user role to anyone who needs to create drawings and share objects
within the database.
A Vault Consumer has read-only access to the database, and is able to get
reference versions of objects for use in drawings saved outside of the database.
Assign this role to anyone who does not regularly share objects or add drawings
to a project.
Permissions can be applied to individual users and to user groups. With careful
planning, you can minimize the amount of configuration required and create
a flexible security system. For example, rather than assigning permissions to
each user, you can save time by creating project-specific user groups or
job-based groups, such as Engineers, Project Managers, and Data Technicians.
Then, you can add users to the groups and set permissions once for each group.
Later, you can move users from one group to another to change their

User Accounts and Roles | 69

External References (xrefs)
You can insert into your current drawing an external reference (xref) of the
entire contents of another drawing as a display-only object. To insert an xref,
click Insert menu ➤ External Reference and using the Select Reference File
window, insert a specified drawing (.dwg) into your current drawing. Objects
in the referenced drawing cannot be edited, but you can control the display
of separate components with the Layer Manager.
Xrefs may be as simple as a single object or as complex as a complete design.
The advantage of xrefs is that they can be used with different DWG types.
xrefs are ideally used when you will not need to manipulate objects within
the referenced file. They can also be used with either data shortcuts or Autodesk
Keep in mind that xrefs are display-only, and they provide no access to object
data such as surface elevations or alignment length. For example, you cannot
create a surface profile from a surface in an xref. Both data shortcuts and Vault
object references provide access to object data. Xrefs are best used when you
don’t need to edit objects within the referenced file. Use caution as xrefs do
not provide the security mechanism that Autodesk Vault does. Links can be
easily moved and reference files renamed with ease.

Data Shortcuts
You can use a data shortcut to import a complete reference copy of an object
into one or more drawings. Data shortcuts offer great flexibility, and you can
easily learn to use them. The data shortcut method is ideal for use by small
design teams in which all members have access to a shared network location.
Data shortcuts are a convenient way to share object data that is entirely based
on drawings without the complication of maintaining a database. These objects
automatically update when you open a file in which you have referenced data.
Reference objects are data shortcuts that can have styles and labels that are
different from the source drawing. Data shortcuts can be used to reference
surface, alignment, profile, pipe network, and view frame group objects.
An example of a data shortcut would be to reference an alignment into a
drawing in which you want to create profiles. You can use the data shortcut

70 | Chapter 5 Managing Project Data

to keep profiles in a separate drawing from the alignment, to abide by the best
practice of “one object per drawing.”
Data shortcuts do not provide data versioning or security controls. Keep this
in mind, as they should be used only when team members have equal access
to project files.

Parcel Drawing

Surface Object

Data Shortcut

Use a data shortcut to reference alignment object into a drawing

Data Shortcuts | 71
Exercise 4: Creating a Data Shortcut
In this exercise, you will learn how to create a data shortcut by referencing
data from another drawing. You will reference surface object data into a parcel
design drawing. This exercise will demonstrate how to use the data shortcuts

To create a data shortcut in AutoCAD Civil 3D

1 Open the file C:\Program

Files\Autodesk Civil 3D 2008\Getting
Started Guide\GSG_parcels.dwg. Keep
the drawing open, but minimize it for
Open the file C:\Program
Files\Autodesk Civil 3D 2008\Getting
Started Guide\GSG_alignments.dwg.
Click General menu ➤ Data Shortcuts
➤ Edit Data Shortcuts to open the
Data Shortcuts vista as shown here.

In the Data Shortcuts vista, click
Create Data Shortcut By Selection. You
will be prompted to select an entity.
In the drawing, click the surface (EG
TOPO FINAL). Note that in the Data
Shortcuts window, EG TOPO FINAL
appears in the Surface Data Shortcuts

72 | Chapter 5 Managing Project Data

Click Export Data Shortcuts To
File. Save the shortcut to a drive folder
as GSG_data_shortcut_surface_ob-
On the vista, select the surface short-
cut and click Delete Data Shortcut.
When prompted, click Yes to delete.
Minimize the drawing.

4 In the Alignments drawing, click Gen-

eral menu ➤ Data Shortcuts ➤ Edit
Data Shortcuts. Click Surface Data

Click Import Data Shortcuts From

File. In the Import Data Shortcuts
window, select GSG_data_shortcut_sur-
face_object.xml and click Open.

5 The data shortcut is imported from

the xml file. Under the Surface Data
Shortcuts collection, EG TOPO FINAL
is displayed (the data shortcut, File
Name and Source Drawing are listed
in the vista).
In the vista, click the Surface Data
Shortcuts collection to select it. Click

Create Reference to open the

Create Surface Reference dialog box.
Click OK.

Exercise 4: Creating a Data Shortcut | 73

6 An Events tab opens on the panorama
with the message ‘Surface EG TOPO
FINAL created.’
In the Prospector Tree, expand the
Surfaces collection, to verify that the
EG TOPO FINAL surface object is dis-
played. The data shortcut has been
successfully entered and is now refer-
enced in the GSG_alignments.dwg.
Right-click EG TOPO FINAL and click
Zoom. The drawing view zooms to
the surface object as shown here.

74 | Chapter 5 Managing Project Data

This chapter explains and demonstrates the concepts In this chapter
underlying AutoCAD Civil 3D features. Each feature section ■ Points
■ Surfaces
in this chapter has a corresponding drawing file. Each drawing
■ Grading
illustrates the concepts introduced in that section. You can
■ Parcels
open the file to see actual examples of the objects and their ■ Alignments
■ Profiles
various components. There is also a LiveView exercise for each
■ Sections
feature, which gives you some basic hands-on experience with ■ Pipe Networks
AutoCAD Civil 3D. The drawings also provide a good ■ Corridors
■ Survey
“sandbox” environment in which to explore product features
■ Object and Label Styles
and settings beyond the exercises. ■ Visualization
■ Label Objects

The central repository for point information is the project database. The
database is typically located on a central server and shared by a number of
users, who attach the database to their drawings. However, point presentation
is handled in the drawing. Point groups reference the point data directly and
are responsible for drawing the points. Point groups have an override that
forces all points in the group to use both that group’s preferred point style
and point-label style, rather than the styles assigned to the individual points.
You can insert or import points from different sources and in different formats.
For example, you can define sets of description keys to help organize the
insertion of points. Description keys use the raw description of incoming
points to control the creation of each drawing point, including the following

■ Assigning the point to a specific layer

■ Assigning a point style

■ Assigning a point label style

■ Translating the raw description into a full description

■ Rotating or scaling the point symbol

Points can also be created directly in the drawing, using a wide variety of
methods, which are all available in the Create Points dialog box.

LiveView of Drawing for Points

Open the file: C:\Program Files\AutoCAD Civil 3D 2008\Getting Started

The drawing contains two named views. To go to a named view, do the

1 Click View menu ➤ Named Views.

2 In the View dialog box, click the view you want. Click Set Current. Click

76 | Chapter 6 Exercises
Named view: points_all

point group
Road Centerline
point group

Pond point group

Landscape Trees point group

Named view: points_detail

Point label style

Manholes includes an
arrow and leader line.

Point style
Tree-20ft Pine
has labels turned off.

Pond point group

uses the Number
and Elevation Only
point label style.

Some point groups showing different uses of point styles and point label styles

Points | 77
Points: LiveView Exercise
In this exercise, you open a file containing points and examine some of the
ways to manage objects in AutoCAD Civil 3D.
Using points as an example, you will learn how to use an item view of objects,
and how to use the Properties dialog box.

To view lists and edit properties in AutoCAD Civil 3D

1 Open the file C:\Program Files\Auto-

CAD Civil 3D 2008\Getting Started
Click View menu ➤ Zoom ➤ Window.
Draw a rectangle in the upper left
corner to zoom your view of the
drawing so that it looks like this.

2 In Toolspace, click the Prospector tab.

Expand the list of point groups, as
shown in the illustration.
The icon next to each point group in-
dicates that you cannot expand the
point group to the level of individual
points. You can view the points in the
item view.

3 Click the Road Centerline point group

in the list.
An item view of all the points con-
tained in the group is displayed in
Note that you can edit the individual
points in the item view.

78 | Chapter 6 Exercises
4 Right-click the Road Centerline point
group. Click Properties.
In the Point Group Properties dialog
box, click the Include tab.
The point group contains all the points
with raw descriptions that match

5 In the Point Group Properties dialog

box, click the Query Builder tab.
Both tabs point to the same Raw De-
scription data. These tabs provide two
different ways in which you can
modify a point group.

6 Click the Include tab. Clear the check

box for With Raw Description Match-
Select With Numbers Matching. Enter
755,757 in the text box.
Click OK.
Note that only two points remain in
the point group item view and in the

Points: LiveView Exercise | 79

You can work with two types of surfaces: TIN (triangulated irregular network)
and grid. For each of these types, you can create volume surfaces, which are
differential surfaces created from two existing surfaces. Surface styles define
the appearance of any surface. They can also be used to control the visibility
of any analysis that has been performed on that surface. An example of
elevation analysis is shown in the following illustration. Watersheds can be
drawn on the surface, with information about the type of drainage area and
where each area drains to.
Boundaries define the visible area of a surface. Only the area within the
boundary is included in calculations, such as for total area and volume. You
can also define masks to hide or show parts of a surface for editing or
presentation purposes, while still including that area in calculations.
Breaklines are used on TIN surfaces to define linear features that triangles
cannot cross, such as retaining walls or streams. Breaklines affect triangulation
of the surface. You can define different sets of contours, for example, for
different intervals. Smoothing is provided for the surface object as a whole,
which gives better results than simply smoothing the contours.
In AutoCAD Civil 3D, the build process for surfaces is incremental. Whenever
data is added or corrected, the surface is updated. Each surface has a definition
list. This list contains all the operations performed on the surface. By turning
the operations on and off, you can return a surface to a previous state or
modify it to support different types of analysis.

LiveView of Drawing For Surfaces

Open the file: C:\Program Files\AutoCAD Civil 3D 2008\Getting Started

The drawing contains two named views. To go to a named view, do the

1 Click View menu ➤ Named Views.

2 In the View dialog box, click the view you want. Click Set Current. Click

80 | Chapter 6 Exercises
Named view: surfaces_all

EG surface boundary

FG surface boundary

Contours with smoothing

Watershed analysis
(labels turned off )

Named view: surfaces_detail

Elevation analysis
(colored 3D faces)

Slope arrows
turned on


Some aspects of a surface

Surfaces | 81
Surfaces: LiveView Exercise
In this exercise, you open a file containing surfaces and look at some ways to
work with styles in AutoCAD Civil 3D.
Using surfaces as an example, you will learn how to create new styles, and
how to use styles to change the appearance of an object.

To create or change a style in AutoCAD Civil 3D

1 Open the file C:\Program Files\Auto-

CAD Civil 3D 2008\Getting Started

2 In Toolspace, on the Settings tab, ex-

pand the list of surface styles, as
shown in the illustration.
The triangle icon next to a surface
style indicates that the style is applied
to at least one surface in the drawing.

3 Right-click the Finish Grade surface

style. Click Copy.
In the Surface Style dialog box, on the
Information tab, for Name, enter Fin-
ish Grade Contours.

82 | Chapter 6 Exercises
4 Click the Display tab.
In the Visible column, click the light
bulb icons to turn on both Major
Contour and Minor Contour. Turn off
Elevations and Slope Arrows. Click OK.
You have created a new surface style.
Next, you will apply it to a surface.

5 In Toolspace, on the Prospector tab,

expand the list of surfaces.
Click the Surfaces collection in the list.
An item view of the surfaces in the
drawing appears in Toolspace.
Note that the name of the style as-
signed to the FG surface is Finish

6 Right-click the FG surface in the list.

Click Properties.
In the Surface Properties dialog box,
click the Information tab. For Surface
Style, select Finish Grade Contours
from the list. Click OK.

7 The new style is applied to the FG

surface. The drawing is updated.

Surfaces: LiveView Exercise | 83

You create a grading by selecting a base line in the drawing, and then
specifying a projection method and target, for example, grade at 3:1 to meet
an existing surface. Save time and effort by predefining such values and saving
them as grading criteria. Subsequent gradings you create will use the current
criteria. You can also create named grading styles that combine specific display
properties, such as colors. In addition to using the current criteria, any grading
you create uses the current style.
A grading normally consists of a face bounded by a base line, a target line,
and several projection lines. The base line can be any open or closed figure
from which you want to project the grading. It can be a feature line or a lot
line. A feature line is any linear feature in the drawing, such as a ridge line,
building footprint, or the bottom of a swale. The target for the grading can
be a surface, a distance, or an elevation (absolute or relative).
Each site can include grading groups, which bundle individual gradings into
named sets. Before creating a grading, you must create a new grading group,
or select one that already exists. A surface can be created from a grading group,
and a grading group can be pasted into a surface. The surface will then be
updated if you change the grading.
After you create a grading group, volume tools within AutoCAD Civil 3D show
you the amount of cut and fill required for the grading design. You can raise
or lower the grading group incrementally to adjust volume requirements. You
can also change the elevation of points along a grading base line, change the
grade of a base line, or modify the grading criteria.

84 | Chapter 6 Exercises
Face Feature line
Target line
Base line Projection line

Criteria uses slope of 3:1 Gradings using

with a surface target . different criteria
Grading group

The components of a grading object

Grading | 85
Grading: LiveView Exercise
In this exercise, you examine the properties of a grading and adjust its elevation
to change cut and fill volumes.
At any time during this exercise, you can look at the grading in three
dimensions. To do this, right-click the grading object and click Object Viewer.

To edit a grading in AutoCAD Civil 3D

1 Open the file C:\Program Files\Auto-

CAD Civil 3D 2008\Getting Started
You see a grading that is projected to
a surface from a rectangular base line.
The grading surface has its own con-
tour lines, separate from those of the
existing ground (surface EG). The faces
of the grading have a slope pattern
with short line segments along the
upper edge of the face.

2 Click Grading menu ➤ Grading Utilit-

ies ➤ Grading Volume Tools.
This toolbar shows the volume of fill
required for the grading as designed.

Click to open or close the History


Click to lower the grading group
by one meter.
Note the decrease in fill volume. The
upper left corner of the grading is al-
most at the ground surface.

86 | Chapter 6 Exercises
Click to automatically balance cut
and fill volumes. Click OK in the Auto-
Balance Volumes dialog box.
The volumes are balanced, within a
tolerance factor, and a portion of the
grading is set below the existing
ground. You can identify cut slopes in
the 2D plan view wherever the short
lines of the slope pattern are on the
outside edge of the grading.

5 Click Grading menu ➤ Create Grad-

ing to open the Grading Creation

6 On the Grading Layout Toolbar, near

the right end, click Elevation Edit-

or. Click any point along the rectangu-
lar base line of the grading.
The Grading Elevation Editor opens,
showing the elevation and grade at
each corner of the base line.
As you click each row of the table, a
triangular marker appears in the
drawing to mark the corresponding
corner of the base line.
You can click in the elevation cell for
any row in the table and change the
elevation. The related grades change

Grading: LiveView Exercise | 87

AutoCAD Civil 3D provides a site topology that includes intelligent parcel
objects. Each parcel is an independent object that usually represents real estate
parcels or lots. You can also import parcels as simple polylines and then convert
them to parcel objects. Parcels consist of a series of segments that can be edited
individually. Editing parcel segments dynamically updates the parcel properties.
Deleting a segment can result in one parcel merging with another.
Each site contains one collection of parcels. The hierarchy of parent site and
child parcels is managed on the Prospector tab in Toolspace. The parent site
represents the original area to be subdivided. By creating a number of separate
sites, you can manage large projects with many lots grouped in separate blocks.
You can create parcels one at a time or as a group, with settings for the default
area and minimum frontage of each parcel. Parcel layout tools give you precise
control over parcel area and the angle of each lot line.
Parcel styles determine the appearance of the parcel, including fill patterns
for the area and linetypes for the segments. There are separate label styles for
parcel areas and parcel segments.

LiveView of Drawing For Parcels

Open the file: C:\Program Files\AutoCAD Civil 3D 2008\Getting Started

The drawing contains two named views, as shown on the following page. To
go to a named view, do the following:

1 Click View menu ➤ Named Views.

2 In the View dialog box, click the view you want. Click Set Current. Click

88 | Chapter 6 Exercises
Named view: parcels_all

Right-of-way parcel
Region for
residential lots

Named view: parcels_detail

Parcel style
uses area

Area label

Segment label

Parcels and parcel components

Parcels | 89
Parcels: LiveView Exercise
In this exercise, you create a series of equal-sized parcels and learn how to edit
parcel styles and parcel command settings.
Using parcels as an example, you will learn how AutoCAD Civil 3D has
automated some routine tasks in the design process.

To create parcels and their labels in AutoCAD Civil 3D

1 Open the file C:\Program Files\Auto-

CAD Civil 3D 2008\Getting Started
Zoom in to the extents of the large
blue parcel, Oak Street_1.

2 Click Parcels menu ➤ Create Parcel By

In the Parcel Layout Tools dialog box,

if necessary, click to see the de-

fault settings for parcel creation. Set
Automatic Mode to On.

Click (Slide Angle - Create)
to open the Create Parcels - Layout
dialog box. Set the Parcel Style to
Residential and the Area Label Style to
Parcel Name & Area. Click OK.

90 | Chapter 6 Exercises
4 Follow the command-line prompts:
Pick a point inside the parcel to be
Pick a frontage start point along the
bottom edge of the parcel, near the
curve on the left side.
Pick a frontage end point near the
curve on the right side of the parcel.
Press Enter to accept default values for
frontage angle (90 degrees) and parcel
area (1 acre). The original parcel is
subdivided into six. The first one re-
tains the original name (Oak Street_1)
and style.

5 Zoom in around a few of the new res-

idential parcels. Click Parcels menu ➤
Add Labels. In the Add Labels dialog
box, set the Label Type to Multiple
Segment. Click Add, but do not close
the dialog box. Click the area label of
any parcel to automatically add a label
to each segment of the parcel. Click
on a few more parcels to label them.

6 In the Add Labels dialog box, set the

Label Type to Single Segment. Set the
Line Label Style to Span Bearing-Dis-
tance-Crows Feet.
Click along the bottom edge of the
residential parcels to place a label for
the line that spans multiple parcels.
Curved indicators called “crow’s feet”
mark the ends of the labeled line.
This label is designed for placement
below a line. If you apply it to the top

Parcels: LiveView Exercise | 91

segment of a residential parcel, right-
click the label and select Flip Label.

7 On the Toolspace Settings tab expand

the Parcel collection. Expand Parcel
Styles. Right-click Residential, and click
Edit to display the Parcel Style dialog
On the Display tab, set the Parcel
Segments component type setting to
Not Visible by deselecting the Light-

8 For further exploration, you can edit

Parcel command settings. In the
Toolspace Settings tab, expand the
Commands collection. Right-click
CreateParcelByLayout to display the
Edit Command Settings - CreatePar-
celByLayout dialog box. Expand the
Default Styles. Set the Parcel Style
property to Parent Parcel and click OK.
Open the Create Parcels - Layout dia-
log box as you did in Step 1 and Step
2. Note that the default Parcel Style is
now Parent Parcel.

92 | Chapter 6 Exercises
Horizontal alignments are used to represent roads and other linear objects
that follow a path in space. Alignments can include lines, curves, and spirals,
which can be joined by constraints. When you edit an alignment, for example,
by dragging a grip, the components of the alignment can maintain tangency
to one another. You can create alignments from existing polylines, or by using
alignment layout tools in AutoCAD Civil 3D. You can edit an alignment either
by grip editing or by using the edit commands. Some of the creation and
editing options are as follows:

■ Draw a series of tangents, then add curves or spiral-curve or spiral-line

groups at the PIs (Points of Intersection).

■ Draw single lines, curves, and spirals.

■ View and edit the dimensions of alignment components.

■ Apply superelevation to the curves along an alignment.

Use Station equations to change station-distance references at any point

without physically changing the geometry of the alignment.

LiveView of Drawing For Alignments

Open the file: C:\Program Files\AutoCAD Civil 3D 2008\Getting Started

The drawing contains two named views, as shown on the following page. To
go to a named view, do the following:

1 Click View menu ➤ Named Views.

2 In the View dialog box, click the view you want. Click Set Current. Click

Alignments | 93
Named view: alignments_all

Alignments drawn
with tangent-to-
tangent curves

Parallel alignment
labels used for
local roads

Preliminary center
lines sketched
using lines and

Named view: alignments_labels

Station reference
point at start
of alignment
Major road uses
different line
and label styles
from local roads

Station label

Design speed label

Alignments: lines, curves, and labels

94 | Chapter 6 Exercises
Alignments: LiveView Exercise
In this exercise, you explore the Alignment Layout toolbar and learn how to
edit alignments with grips. You can edit alignments, create new alignments,
and use a variety of AutoCAD commands, while still having access to the
Alignment Layout Tools toolbar, in order to perform layout commands. You
can edit alignment geometry using the Panorama and Layout Parameters
windows, and use grip edits to update the alignment dynamically.

To edit alignments

1 Open the file C:\Program Files\Auto-

CAD Civil 3D 2008\Getting Started
Click Alignments menu ➤ Create
Alignment by Layout, open the Create
Alignment - Layout dialog box. Click
OK to open the Alignment Layout
Tools window. Note how you can
keep working within the drawing
without having to close it.

Alignments: LiveView Exercise | 95

2 In the drawing, click the alignment so
that the blue grips are displayed. In

the Alignment Layout Tools, click

to display the alignment’s Panorama
vista, which lists alignment entity in-
formation, such as Type, Length, and
Direction. Click another alignment and
observe that the Panorama window
now lists the data for that alignment.

3 Now you will create and edit an

alignment. In the Create Alignment -
Layout dialog box, set the Site to
Conway Farms. Click OK. The Align-
ment Layout Parameters window is
displayed and will be populated when
the alignment is created.

On the toolbar, click Tangent-
Tangent (No Curves). Observe that
the Alignment Layout Parameters Pass
Through Point Point 1 is active.

In the drawing, specify a starting

point. Observe that data values are
populated. Specify an end point. Click
Enter to end the command. Major
Station Labels are displayed, looking
something like this.

5 Click to select the new alignment. On

the Alignment Layout Tools , click the
Alignment Grid View to open the
Panorama window.
Click the square grip at the right end
of the alignment. The grip turns red
to show that it is active. Drag it to the
right to lengthen the alignment. Ob-
serve that the Length, End Station,
and End Point data is updated.

96 | Chapter 6 Exercises
6 Now you will explore how to edit
drawings using Lines and Curves
drafting tools. Zoom in on the right
side of the drawing so that it appears
as shown here. First you will create a
line perpendicular to an existing line.
Click Lines/Curves menu ➤ Create
Lines ➤ Line Perpendicular From Point.
You are prompted to select an arc or
line object. Select the top horizontal
line in the drawing view. Now select
the point where the perpendicular line
will start. Enter 55 to select the length
of the perpendicular line. The drawing
appears as shown here.

7 Click Lines/Curves menu ➤ Create

Lines ➤ Line Tangent From Point.
You are prompted to select an arc or
line object. Select the vertical line in
the drawing as shown here.

Alignments: LiveView Exercise | 97

8 Now select the point where the tan-
gent line will start. When prompted,
click the line to select the length of
the tangent line (where it will end).
The drawing appears as shown here.

9 Now you will create a curve between

two connected lines. Click
Lines/Curves menu ➤ Create
Curves ➤ Curve Between Two Lines.
At the bottom of the drawing, select
a horizontal line as the first tangent
and then select the connected vertical
line. Now you are prompted with
multiple options with which to determ-
ine the size of the arc. Select length
(L) and enter 111. The drawing ap-
pears as shown here. For further ex-
ploration, try using the various meth-
ods of determining the size of lines
and arcs.

10 Now you will convert the newly cre-

ated arc entity to an alignment. Open
the Alignment Layout Tools and click

Convert AutoCAD Line and Arc.

You are prompted to select an arc or
line to convert. Select the arc and ob-
serve that it is now defined as an

98 | Chapter 6 Exercises
Profiles (also known as vertical alignments), are derived from horizontal
alignments in the drawing. There are two types of profiles. Surface profiles,
often called existing ground (EG) profiles, are extracted from a surface. Layout
profiles, often called finished grade (FG) profiles, represent a designed surface
such as a road. A profile can be dynamic, in which case it is linked to a surface
to reflect updates to the surface or the horizontal alignment. It can also be
static, to preserve a record of a surface at a particular time. You can use three
types of vertical curves in a profile: parabolic, asymmetric parabolic, and
Create static profiles in various ways, such as importing a text file, importing
an XML file, or by using the Profile Layout Tools dialog box. Edit a profile by
grip editing or by using the edit commands in the Profile Layout Tools dialog
Profiles are displayed in graphs called profile views. Profile views are separate
objects that have their own sets of styles. You can add data bands to annotate
the profile view with stations and elevations, horizontal geometry points, or
other useful data. You can save several data bands in a set that can be easily
applied to other profile views.

LiveView of Drawing For Profiles

Open the file: C:\Program Files\AutoCAD Civil 3D 2008\Getting Started

The drawing contains two named views, as shown on the following page. To
go to a named view, do the following:

1 Click View menu ➤ Named Views.

2 In the View dialog box, click the view you want. Click Set Current. Click

Profiles | 99
Named view: profiles_all

Grade break and elevation profiles

defined by profile label styles
Axes and grid
defined by Data bands
profile view styles defined by
profile view
band styles

Named view: profiles_detail

Profile label shows a tangent grade Surface and


Surface and layout profiles displayed in a profile view

100 | Chapter 6 Exercises

Profiles: LiveView Exercise
In this exercise, you open a file containing profiles and experiment with grip
editing in AutoCAD Civil 3D.
Using profiles as an example, you will learn how objects can be dynamically
updated in response to changes in another object.

To make dynamic updates in AutoCAD Civil 3D

1 Open the file C:\Program Files\Auto-

CAD Civil 3D 2008\Getting Started

2 Click View menu ➤ Zoom ➤ Extents.

Click View menu ➤ Zoom ➤ Window.
Draw a rectangle that includes the
profile view at the top and the East-
West alignment at the bottom.

3 On the AutoCAD Layers toolbar, click

In the Layer Manager dialog box, click
the light bulb next to the C-ROAD-
PROF-FGRD layer to turn it off. Click
This turns off the FG profile in the
profile view and makes the green EG
profile easier to see.

Profiles: LiveView Exercise | 101

4 In the drawing, click the alignment so
that the blue grips appear, as shown
in the illustration.
You will drag the grips to modify the
alignment dynamically. As you modify
the alignment, the profile will update
at the same time.

5 The green profile in the profile view

at the top of the drawing represents
the intersection of the alignment with
the existing ground surface.
The profile looks like this before you
modify the alignment.

6 Click the square grip at the far left of

the alignment.
(Try to watch the green profile as you
complete the following step.)
The grip turns red to show that it is
active. Drag it a little farther to the left
and then release it.

7 Note that the profile has been exten-

ded to include the addition to the
alignment. It now looks something like
(You may want to experiment further
and see the effect of editing the
alignment curves before you close this

102 | Chapter 6 Exercises

Sections, or cross sections, are cut across a linear feature to a specified distance
on the left and right of a center line. Sections are typically sampled at given
stations along a horizontal road alignment. Edits to an alignment update the
sections as well.
Sections are located on sample lines that cut across the alignment. Sample
lines have their own styles and can be labeled. A set of sample lines makes up
a named collection called a sample-line group.
Sections are displayed in a graph called a section view. A section view is very
similar to a profile view. It consists of a grid or graph with attributes that are
controlled by section-view styles. You can also display data bands above or
below the section view. You can plot individual sections for a specific sample
line, or all the sections for a group of sample lines. To plot multiple sections,
use a paperspace viewport to set up the sheet.
Sections, like alignments and profiles, support label sets. Label sets allow you
to save and apply an unlimited number of different types of labels.

LiveView of Drawing For Sections

Open the file C:\Program Files\AutoCAD Civil 3D 2008\Getting Started

The drawing contains two named views, as shown on the following page. To
go to a named view, do the following:

1 Click View menu ➤ Named Views.

2 In the View dialog box, click the view you want. Click Set Current. Click

Sections | 103
Named view: section_detail

Sample lines belong to Stations and sample-line

the East-West sample names are displayed by
line group the sample-line-group label
Section view
for this sample
line is shown

Named view: section_view

Section line

Right swath width

Data band

A group of sample lines and a section view across one of them

104 | Chapter 6 Exercises

Sections: LiveView Exercise
In this exercise, you open a file containing sections and revisit the process of
applying custom styles in AutoCAD Civil 3D.
Using sections as an example, you will learn how to select an individual object
and apply a new label style to it.

To change label styles in AutoCAD Civil 3D

1 Open the file C:\Program Files\Auto-

CAD Civil 3D 2008\Getting Started
The drawing looks like this. There are
several sample lines crossing an align-

2 In Toolspace, on the Prospector tab,

expand the list of alignments (under
Sites/Conway Farms).
Expand the East-West Drive alignment
until you can see the list of sample
lines, as shown in the illustration.
Next, you will select one of the sample
lines and change the style of the label
to an AA section.

3 Right-click the SL-8 sample line in the

list and then click Properties.
In the Sample Line Properties dialog
box, click the Sample Line Data tab
and then, for Label Style, select Sec-
tion AA. Click OK.

Sections: LiveView Exercise | 105

4 The sample line is updated in the
drawing, as shown in the illustration.
Next, you will update the existing
section view for this sample line.
Click View menu ➤ Named Views.
Click section_view. Click Set Current.
Click OK.

5 In Toolspace, on the Prospector tab,

expand the section views for the SL-8
sample line.
Right-click the section view 3+50.00
(1). Click Properties.

6 In the Section View Properties dialog

box, on the Information tab, for Ob-
ject Style, select Standard. Click OK.

7 The section view is updated in the

drawing, as shown in the illustration.

106 | Chapter 6 Exercises

Pipe Networks
You can use the pipe networks feature to design and model networks that
support the flow and function of a utility system, such as a storm or sanitary
You build a model of a pipe network using individual parts, much like a
real-world pipe network, connecting pipes in your network either with or
without using structures, such as manholes or catch basins, and adding inlet
or outlet structures, such as headwalls, to mark the terminating end of a pipe
run. After you have created your initial network design, you can view and edit
network parts in virtually unlimited ways within plan view or in a profile
view. You can also view the pipe network parts in a section.
As you create your pipe network design, preset design rules control the slope
of pipes and their depth relative to a surface, and the sizing of the structures
that connect the pipes. This is useful when you are designing a gravity system
such as a storm or sanitary sewer.

LiveView of Drawing For Pipe Networks

Open the file C:\Program Files\AutoCAD Civil 3D 2008\Getting Started

The drawing file contains three viewports: the pipe network in plan view, the
profile view of some of the network pipes and structures, and the same parts
in a section view.
The left pane shows a pipe network segment made up of two manhole
structures connected by pipes. The network parts have been placed at a
specified offset from an alignment, and are drawn in a profile view created
using the same alignment (upper-right pane). A sample line placed at station
7+71 was used to create a section view (lower-right pane) that shows a
cross-section view of the pipe network parts located at the station.
You can edit the positions of the pipe network parts manually by using editing
grips in either plan, profile, or section view, or by directly editing their

Pipe Networks | 107

Plan view shows the layout of
pipe network parts in relation to
other drawing objects Profile view shows the vertical
layout of pipe network parts and

Road section includes cross-section

views of pipe network parts
Layout, profile, and section views of a pipe network segment

3D view of pipe network segment

108 | Chapter 6 Exercises

Pipe Networks: LiveView Exercise
In this exercise, you edit a simple pipe network. Using the pipe network as an
example, you will learn how to configure the pipe network layout tools, and
to use the tools to create a new pipe that connects two structures.

To create pipe network parts

1 Open the file C:\Program Files\Auto-

CAD Civil 3D 2008\Getting Started
The drawing window shows three
views of parts in a pipe network: plan
view, profile view, and cross-section

2 In Toolspace, on the Prospector tab,

expand the collections of Pipe Net-
works and Networks. Expand the
Network – (1) item.
When you select the Pipes or Struc-
tures item found under the pipe net-
work collection, part information is
displayed in the item view, as shown
in the illustration.

3 Right-click Network – (1). Click Edit.

The Network Layout Tools toolbar
contains all the tools you need to cre-
ate or edit a pipe network, including
the name of the alignment and surface
that are referenced when parts are

Pipe Networks: LiveView Exercise | 109

4 In the Pipe List, select 18 inch Con-
crete Pipe.
Ensure that the button to the right of

the Pipe List is toggled to

Click the button to the right of the
Pipes list and click Pipes Only.

5 In the drawing window, in the layout

view, place your cursor over the
structure offset from station 7+71 on
Conway Farms Drive. A connection
marker is displayed (shown in the illus-
tration) that indicates the pipe will
connect to the structure if you click at
that location.
Click the structure to connect the pipe
end to it.
Pan to the structure offset from station
1+00 on East-West Drive. With the
connection marker active, click the
structure to connect the pipe to it.
Press Esc to end the command.

110 | Chapter 6 Exercises

Corridors are used for roads and similar structures that follow a designed route
across the terrain.
A corridor is a detailed three-dimensional design that combines data from a
horizontal alignment, a profile view, and an assembly. The corridor can
automatically reflect changes to any of the parent data.
Subassembly objects such as road lanes, curbs, and shoulders form the building
blocks for an assembly. When you apply the assembly to an alignment and a
profile, a corridor is generated in three dimensions. At each point along its
linear path, the corridor adapts to conditions such as superelevation and cut
or fill requirements.

LiveView of Drawing For Corridors

Open the fileC:\Program Files\AutoCAD Civil 3D 2008\Getting Started

The drawing contains three viewports. The corridor, profile view, and assembly
are all within the same drawing, but the viewports help you see the object
In the left pane, the horizontal alignment starts at the top of the corridor and
runs to station 1658 at the bottom. In the profile view, station 0 is on the left
side, and green vertical lines across the grid show the start and end points of
the horizontal curves. In the assembly view, you can see that the corridor
assembly includes two road lanes, a curb on the left, a sidewalk on the right,
and side slopes on each side. The side slope subassembly
(BasicSideSlopeCutDitch) is designed to create a ditch only on cut slopes, and
the ditches are visible along the corridor.
You can use the Object Viewer to see the corridor in a three-dimensional view
that shows the cut and fill regions. Click the corridor, then right-click and
click Object Viewer. Click near the bottom of the Object Viewer window, then
click and move the cursor up to tilt the corridor. If you want to pan or zoom
the display, right-click inside the Object Viewer window.

Corridors | 111
Corridor shows the design
Profile shows the vertical
in relation to the surface
layout and the surface

Assembly is a template
for corridor cross-sections

Elements of a corridor design

112 | Chapter 6 Exercises

Corridors: LiveView Exercise
In this exercise, you examine the section views along a corridor and
dynamically update the corridor by changing the layout profile.
Using corridors as an example, you will learn how to review and edit a design.

To review and edit corridor sections

1 Open the file C:\Program Files\Auto-

CAD Civil 3D 2008\Getting Started
The drawing contains viewports that
display a corridor, profile view, and

2 Click Corridors menu ➤ View/Edit

Corridor Section.
In the drawing window, select near
the beginning of the corridor.
The corridor is replaced with a view
of the corridor cross-section and the
existing ground surface at station 0.
Note that the fill slopes are shown at
this point.

Corridors: LiveView Exercise | 113

3 On the View Corridor Section Toolbar,
select station 5+50.
You see the section view at this sta-
tion, which is in a fill area along the
first curve.

4 Select station 9+50.

This station is on the second curve,
where the corridor has deep cut
slopes. In the section, you can see the
ditch that is automatically inserted on
cut slopes.
If you want to see other sections in
this part of the corridor, click the ar-
rows on the View/Edit Corridor Section
Close the toolbar to close the view of
the corridor cross-section.

5 In this step, you change the cut slope

near the beginning of the corridor to
a fill slope.
In the profile view, click the layout
profile. The points of vertical intersec-
tion (PVIs) are marked with red tri-
angles. Click and drag the first PVI
upward until the profile is completely
above the surface. Click to place it in
the new location.
The corridor rebuilds, and the cut
slope with ditches is replaced with a
fill slope.

114 | Chapter 6 Exercises

6 Click the corridor. Right-click, and
then click Corridor Properties.
In the Corridor Properties dialog box,
on the Surfaces tab, click the Surface
Style entry (Standard) and change it
to Border & Contours.
Click OK twice.
When the corridor is rebuilt, contour
lines are displayed on the corridor

Corridors: LiveView Exercise | 115

The survey tools in AutoCAD Civil 3D enable you to import survey field data,
analyze and correct it, and convert survey data into Civil 3D objects.
Survey data is organized into databases, visible in Toolspace, on the Survey
tab. The survey databases can be integrated with your Autodesk Vault project
management database, or stored locally.

LiveView of Drawing For Survey

Open the file C:\Program Files\AutoCAD Civil 3D 2008\Getting Started Guide\


116 | Chapter 6 Exercises

Survey data imported from a field book

Buildings, lots, and roadway figures created from the survey data

Survey | 117
Survey: LiveView Exercise
In this exercise, you import a fieldbook data file and create figures that
represent buildings, lots, and roadways in a residential area.

NOTE To prepare for this exercise, copy the fieldbook file Cedar-3.fbk from
C:\Program Files\AutoCAD Civil 3D 2008\Getting Started Guide and paste it into
your Civil 3D Projects folder. Default location of this folder is C:\Civil 3D Projects.

To import a field book

1 Open the file C:\Program Files\Auto-

CAD Civil 3D 2008\Getting Started
Guide\GSG_survey.dwg. Click Survey
menu ➤ Open Survey Toolspace.

2 In the upper left corner of the

Toolspace Survey tab, click (User

Settings). Set Import Defaults to
■ Show Interactive Graphics YES
■ Insert Figure Objects NO
■ Insert Survey Points YES

3 In the Figure Prefix Databases collec-

tion, right-click Sample and click New.
In the New Figure Prefix dialog box,
set the name to BLDG and the Style
to Building Outline.
This setting ensures that each survey
figure that has a name prefixed with
BLDG will be drawn with the preset
style Building Outline.

118 | Chapter 6 Exercises

4 Right-click Survey Databases and cre-
ate a new database. Open that data-
base, right-click Networks and create
a new network named Cedar Proper-

5 Right-click the network Cedar Proper-

ties, click Import Field Book, then se-
lect the file Cedar-3.fbk. Review the
Import Defaults, then click OK.
The network of survey points is loaded
into your drawing. Each point is also
a Civil 3D point object that you can
see on the Toolspace Prospector tab.

6 In the Cedar Properties collection,

right-click Figures ➤ Insert Into Draw-
The figures for buildings, lots, and
other details are drawn.
Further exploration: On the Survey
tab, refresh the Figures collection and
ensure that the figures are visible in
the List View. Then go to the Prospect-
or tab, Survey collection. Right-click a
figure and click Browse to Survey Data.
On both Prospector and Survey tabs
you can right-click a figure and Zoom
To it.

Survey: LiveView Exercise | 119

Object and Label Styles
The object styles in AutoCAD Civil 3D work with general attributes such as
object color, visibility of components, linetypes, and fill patterns.
Similarly, label styles work with text format, data content, location, and graphic
elements such as leader lines and bounding boxes.
Within your design process, object and label styles should be created with
specific purposes in mind, such as representing objects at different approval
stages, or displaying the right information for different types of users. Before
you can create your object styles, it makes sense to experiment with editing
styles for different objects and learn the available controls.
Style components vary according to object type, but most object and label
styles are accessible in the same two common ways:

■ In Toolspace, on the Prospector tab, right-click an object and click

Properties to see the object style. Some objects also show the label style
here. Click the list button beside the style name and select Edit Current
Selection to review or edit the style components.

■ In Toolspace, on the Settings tab, expand the object collection to see all
the styles for that object, organized by types. Right-click any style name
and click Edit.

For objects, you can access labels from the main object menu by clicking Add
<feature> Label or you can use the Annotation menu (available when the
Annotation and Drafting workspace is selected).
You can create sets of labels for alignments, profiles, and sections in order to
manage multiple labels easily. After the set is defined, it can be applied to or
removed from an object in a single operation.
The LiveView exercises for object styles and label styles make use of the same

LiveView of Drawing For Object and Label Styles

Open the file C:\Program Files\AutoCAD Civil 3D 2008\Getting Started Guide\


120 | Chapter 6 Exercises

Object styles for a surface, parcels, and an alignment, showing stylization

Label styles, including two alignment labels in a dragged state

Object and Label Styles | 121

Object Styles: LiveView Exercise
In this exercise, you examine object styles for alignments and parcels, and
learn how to change them.

To review and modify object styles

1 Open the file C:\Program Files\Auto-

CAD Civil 3D 2008\Getting Started
Click View menu ➤ Named Views, and
set the current Model View to Align-
ment CloseUp.
You now have a good view of the
alignment Oak CL, which is drawn in
Design Style.

2 In Toolspace, on the Prospector tab,

expand the Sites, Oak Street, and
Alignments collections. Right-click Oak
St. CL and click Properties. On the In-
formation tab, change the Object
Style to Plot Style. This demonstrates
how easy it is to change an object’s
appearance if you have preset styles

3 Click View menu ➤ Named Views, and

set the current view to Parcels.
In Toolspace, on the Prospector tab,
expand the Parcels collection in the
Oak Street site.

122 | Chapter 6 Exercises

4 In Toolspace, on the Prospector tab,
right-click one of the parcels, then
click Properties. In the Parcel Proper-
ties dialog box, on the Information
tab, note the Object Style name. On
the list beside the style name, click
Edit Current Selection to see the
components of the style on the Dis-
play tab and the Design tab. Feel free
to change style definitions here and
apply the results to the drawing. See
Style Notes following this exercise for
sample style details to change.

5 In Toolspace, on the Prospector tab,

right-click the Parcels collection and
click Properties. Note the Parcel Style
Display Order field, which determines
how styles overlap in the drawing.
While the Parent Parcel style is at the
top, you see the magenta border of
the site parcel. Select a different style,
then use the Up and Down arrows to
move this style to the top. In the
drawing, note that the outer border
of a parcel with the selected style is
visible instead of the magenta border.

Style notes

■ In the Parcel Style dialog box, Display tab, use the light bulbs to control
visibility of parcel borders and fill patterns.

■ Residential style, used on Oak St_1, has a fill distance of 50 feet, which
indicates how far in from the border the fill is applied.

■ New Parcel style, used on New Parcels 2 & 5, has a dashed line in the fill
type, and fill pattern ANSI31 rotated 315 degrees (–45).

Object Styles: LiveView Exercise | 123

Label Styles: LiveView Exercise
In this exercise, you examine label styles for alignments and parcels, and learn
how to change them.

To review and modify label styles

1 Open the file C:\Program Files\Auto-

CAD Civil 3D 2008\Getting Started
Click View menu ➤ Named Views, and
set the current view to Label View.

2 On the alignment, click one of the

Design Speed labels. A blue editing
grip appears. Click the grip (it turns
red) and drag it to a new location. You
see the dragged state of this label. To
return the label to its normal place,
you can select it, then right-click and
click Reset Label. Click one of the
green curve labels, then right-click and
click Flip Label.

3 Now we will examine the style settings

for the design speed labels.
In Toolspace, on the Settings tab, ex-
pand the Alignment Labels ➤ Sta-
tion ➤ Design Speed collection. Right-
click the Standard label and click Edit.

124 | Chapter 6 Exercises

4 In the Label Style Composer dialog
box, on the General or Layout tab, set
the Preview window to show the
Design Speed Label Style. The Preview
will change to show the effects of your
changes to style settings.

5 On the Layout tab, note that you

change settings separately for three
components of this label.
Select Design Speed and experiment
with changing the settings on the
Layout tab for Anchor Component,
Anchor Point, Border Visibility, and
Border Type. Select the Line compon-
ent and experiment with changing
settings for line Length and Angle.

6 Select the Station Component, select

the Text Contents value in the right

column, then click . The Text

Component Editor dialog box is dis-
played. Note that the Properties list
provides many preset values that you
can add to the label by pressing the
blue arrow at the upper right.
In the editing window on the right,
change the text STA to STATION, then
click OK. The style change is displayed
in the Preview. In the Label Style
Composer dialog box, click OK. The
style change is displayed in the draw-

Label Styles: LiveView Exercise | 125

You can use visualization tools in AutoCAD Civil 3D to create enhanced design
drawings using model rendering materials that correspond to specific real
world materials in a design. AutoCAD render materials simulate the
characteristics of materials such as asphalt, concrete, and gravel.
To visualize a material with a render material, the material must be included
in the current drawing. You can easily add materials to a drawing from the
tool palette or by dragging materials used in one drawing into another drawing.
You can also create a new render material, and save it to use as part of a
drawing template or copy it into other drawings.
In AutoCAD Civil 3D, you can apply render materials to features such as
surfaces and surface masks, corridor surfaces and corridor surface boundaries,
and pipes and structures.

126 | Chapter 6 Exercises

View using Civil 3D styles such as 2D wireframe and 3D realistic

Rendered image of a surface object simulated with grass and the underlying concrete
drainage pipes and catch basins

Visualization | 127
Visualization: LiveView Exercise
In this exercise, you explore how to select AutoCAD render materials to
simulate the appearance of pipe networks. When a pipe is created, the render
material assigned to the pipe is defined in the Pipe or Structure part(s) list.
After you add a part to the drawing, you can edit the render material for the
part by using the Render Material option on either the Pipe Properties or the
Structure Properties (Information tab) dialog box.

To select render materials

1 Open the file C:\Program Files\Auto-

CAD Civil 3D 2008\Getting Started
Guide\ GSG_pipe_networks.dwg.

2 In the drawing, right-click a pipe seg-

ment and select Pipe Properties to
display the Pipe Properties - Pipe dia-
log box. Click the Information tab and
note the Render Material at the bot-
tom of the dialog box. The default
material is Concrete.Cast-In-

128 | Chapter 6 Exercises

3 Click the displayed render material to
open the list of available materials.

Click . You are prompted to select

an object from the drawing. Select
another segment of the pipe and ob-
serve that the Pipe Properties dialog
box is displayed again.

4 Click View menu ➤ Render ➤ Mater-

ials to display the Render Materials
available in the drawing. You can use
the tool palette to add, remove, or
create new render materials for the
current drawing. You can also copy
materials from one drawing to another

Visualization: LiveView Exercise | 129

5 Alternatively, you can select render
materials for pipes or structures by
navigating into the Toolspace Prospect-
or tab. Expand the Pipe Networks
collection. Then expand the Networks
collection and expand Network - (1).
Click Pipes or Structures to open the
Prospector list view shown here. Select
a pipe and click its corresponding
material in the Render Material
column to display the Select Render
Material dialog box.
Select a material. Click View
menu ➤ Render menu ➤ Render to
render the pipe in the drawing with
the selected material.

130 | Chapter 6 Exercises

Label Objects
You manage label objects in AutoCAD Civil 3D with standard AutoCAD
commands as well as Civil 3D commands. You can use the AutoCAD Object
Property Manager to edit multiple labels in a single operation. For example,
you can use the Object Property Manager to access the Text Component Editor
in order to simultaneously edit text content for a group of any number of
labels. If you are editing a design drawing that includes dozens of pipe network
parts with corresponding labels, you can edit the text, change the appearance,
or reset the location of all of the labels at the same time by using multiple
selection. It is important to remember that you can also select subentities of
group type labels with the Ctrl-click selection method in order to edit
individual labels one at a time.
As independent objects, label objects are not “subentities” of a parent object.
They reside on their own layer, the default of which is controlled using drawing
The LiveView exercises for label objects makes use of the same drawing as

Label Objects | 131

Standard AutoCAD Properties

Label Properties

Label Properties controlled with AutoCAD Object

Property Manager

Group Labels Context Menu

132 | Chapter 6 Exercises

Managing Label Objects: LiveView Exercise
The label objects in AutoCAD Civil 3D enable you to manage multiple labels
by editing one or more properties with the AutoCAD Object Property Manager
(OPM). The label objects are versatile. You can select individual label subentities
using Ctrl-click in order to edit single labels belonging to the group.
Label objects are controlled using standard AutoCAD commands in the Object
Property Manager. You can control properties such as color, layer, linetype,
and lineweight in addition to the label style and placement options.
In this exercise, you will explore how to manage labels with the AutoCAD
Object Property Manager. Using profile labels as an example, you will learn
how to edit a group of label objects and also how to select and edit a single
label object. You will also explore how to use grips to manage label placement.

To manage labels

1 Open the file C:\Program Files\Auto-

CAD Civil 3D 2008\Getting Started
Click View menu ➤ Zoom ➤ Window.
Draw a rectangle in the top center to
zoom your view of the drawing so that
Profile View: East-West Drive displays
at the top as it does here.
On the profile, double-click one of the
EG labels. The group of labels is high-
lighted with square grips as shown
here. Note that the label group style
is Standard and the labels are blue.
The Object Property Manager is also

Managing Label Objects: LiveView Exercise | 133

2 In the Object Property Manager, un-
der Labeling, click Profile Grade Break
Label Style and change the setting
from Standard to Grade over Eleva-
Note that the entire label group has
changed to the Grade Over Elevation
style. The result is shown in the illustra-

3 Now you will select a subentity of the

label group and change its style.
Zoom out of the drawing so that you
can see several components of the la-
bel group.
Use Ctrl+left-click to select one of the
labels. Note that only this label is
highlighted (with the blue square grip)
as shown in the illustration and the
Object Property Manager is displayed.

134 | Chapter 6 Exercises

4 Change the Label Style setting to
Standard and note that the label style
reverts back to Standard. The label is
now blue. The result is shown in the
lower illustration.

5 Now you will learn how to reset label

location. Select a label and click it. The
grip color is now red, indicating that
it can be moved.
Drag the label with the square grip
and move the cursor away from the
grip. The square grip is blue and an-
other round blue grip is visible along-
side the square grip. This round grip
is a reset grip which can be clicked to
restore the label to its original loca-
tion. Click the round grip. You can
make multiple drag edits to the label
and the reset grip will reset the label
to its original location. If you move a
number of group labels, right-click a
label and select Reset All Label Loca-

This is the end of the AutoCAD Civil 3D LiveView exercises. For more detailed
exercises, go to the online Tutorials (select Help menu ➤ Tutorials).

Managing Label Objects: LiveView Exercise | 135

136 | Chapter 6 Exercises

2D polyline A polyline with all vertices at the same elevation.

3D face An AutoCAD object that represents the surface of a 3- or 4-sided area,

with each vertex potentially at a different elevation. You can view TINs
(Triangulated Irregular Networks) as 3D faces. Using the SHADE command,
you can shade 3D faces. Using the RENDER command, you can render the 3D
faces. See also TIN surface.

3D polyline A polyline with vertices at varying elevations.

A.A.S.H.T.O. American Association of State, Highway, and Transportation


acre A measure of land: 160 square rods; 4,840 square yards; 43,560 square

alignment A series of 2D coordinates (northings and eastings), connected by

lines or curves, used to represent features such as the road centerlines, edges
of pavement, sidewalks, or rights-of-way.

angle The difference in direction between two convergent lines measured in

the units of degrees, radians, or grads.

area The quantity of plane space in a horizontal plane enclosed by the

boundary of any polygonal figure.

assembly The combination of one or more subassemblies forming a typical

section. The assembly is applied along a horizontal/vertical alignment to form
a singular path-like structure.

azimuth A clockwise angle measured from a reference meridian. Also known

as north azimuth. It can range from 0 to 360 degrees. A negative azimuth is
converted to a clockwise value.

base line The object to which grading criteria are applied. A base line can be
an open or closed 2D or 3D geometric figure that is a feature line or a lot line.
See also control region, feature line.

Glossary | 137
base surface An existing ground or undeveloped terrain. Specified when
creating volume surfaces. See also comparison surface, volume surface.

bearing An angle measured from North or South, whichever is nearest, with

the added designation of East or West. The angle is always less than 90 degrees
(PI/2 radians or 100 grads) and is usually referenced by a quadrant number.

border (surface) The visible limits of a surface. The border may or may not
be defined from a boundary or may be the result of a defined boundary and
operations performed on a surface, such as a Delete Line operation (a hole is
created in the surface). If a boundary is not defined on a surface, the exterior
border is always defined as the extents of the surface triangulation.

boundary (surface) One of three kinds of closed polylines that limit the
display area of the digital terrain model. Most common are outer surface
boundaries constructed just outside the extremities of the dataset, eliminating
unwanted interpolations across empty space where the surface has a concave
shape. Also used are two types of internal surface boundaries: hide boundaries,
to punch holes in a surface, (for example, a building footprint), or show
boundaries, to create smaller surfaces by eliminating areas that fall outside
the boundary.

bounded volumes A method of calculating volumes using an existing

AutoCAD object (for example, a polyline or polygon) to calculate the cut, fill,
and net volume for the area bounded by the object.

breakline A line used to connect the data representing a distinct surface

feature, like a ridge line, edge of pavement, toe of a slope, centerline of a road,
or flowline of a ditch or stream. When a breakline is defined, the surface
triangulation must first follow the breaklines, by placing triangle edges
coincident with the breakline segments. This ensures the feature in the model
is accurately depicted. Then, the rest of the interpolation is performed based
on proximity. Breaklines are typically critical to creating an accurate surface
model. It is the interpolation of the data, not just the data itself, that
determines the shape of the model. See also non-destructive breakline.

breakline point A point that is included in the list of vertices for a defined

ByBlock A setting specifying that a component of an object inherits the color

or linetype associated with the object, or block, that contains it.

ByLayer A setting specifying that an object or component of an object inherits

the color or linetype associated with the assigned layer.

catchment area The area tributary to a lake, stream, or drainage system.

138 | Glossary
chord A straight line connecting two points on a curve: the Point of Curvature
(PC) and Point of Tangency (PT). The curve joins with a line or another curve
at these points.

clothoid spiral A spiral in which the curvature is a linear function of the

length of the spiral, so that the degree of curvature is zero when it meets the
tangent and then increases to match the curvature of the adjacent curve. See
also compound spiral, simple spiral.

COGO Short for Coordinate Geometry.

COGO points The point objects that you create using the point-creation or
point-import commands. COGO points are referred to simply as “points” in
this documentation. The pieces of data associated with a point, such as point
number, northing, and easting, are referred to as properties. See also properties.

comparison surface A proposed or existing terrain surface used in the creation

of volume surfaces. See also base surface, volume surface.

composite volumes A method of calculating volumes using top and bottom

surfaces (a surface pair) to establish cut, fill, and net volume values.

compound curve A curve consisting of two or more arcs of different radii

curving in the same direction, and having a common tangent or transition
curve at their point of junction.

compound spiral A spiral that provides a smooth transition between two

adjoining curves of different radii but in the same direction. It has a finite
radius on either side/end. See also clothoid spiral, simple spiral.

contour A line that connects points of the same elevation or value relative
to a specified reference datum.

control region A region that is defined by applying grading criteria to a base

line. A base line can have a single region along its entire length, or it may be
subdivided into a number of control, transition, and void regions. See also
base line, feature line.

coordinates Values that specify exactly where a point is in space in terms of

three planes: X, Y, and Z (easting, northing, and elevation).

corridor Any path, the length and location of which is typically governed by
one or more horizontal and vertical alignments. Examples are roadways,
railways, traveled ways, channels, ditches, utility runs, airport runways, and

crest curve In a profile, a vertical curve on the crest of a hill or similar location
where the grade leading into the curve is greater than the grade leading out

Glossary | 139
of the curve. In a crest curve, the point of vertical intersection (PVI) for the
tangents is above the curve. See also sag curve.

cross section See section.

CS See curve to spiral.

curve to spiral A point on a horizontal alignment where a curve meets a


cut slope The slope created when the base line falls below the existing ground
line. The resulting slope matching up into the existing ground is called a cut
slope because the existing ground must be cut (removed) during construction.

data band A graphic frame that is associated with a profile view object or
section view object. The data band contains annotations for the profile or
section view, as well as for the parent horizontal alignment. Some common
annotations include elevation data, stations, and cut/fill depths.

data collector A device surveyors use to automatically record the observation

data they collect in the field. The raw survey data is downloaded and converted
into a field book file, which is written in the Survey Command Language
format, or a LandXML file, which uses the LandXML schema to describe the
Survey data. Surveyors can then import this file to create points in the database
and figures in the drawing.

datum A reference value. All elevations or coordinates are set relative to this
value. In surveying, two datums (horizontal and vertical) are generally used.
For global coordinate systems, a datum refers to the ellipsoid information and
the techniques used to determine positions on the Earth’s surface. An ellipsoid
is part of a datum definition.

daylight line A line showing the line of zero cut or fill within the job area.
Daylight lines are also known as match lines.

decimal degree The measure of an angle in decimal units. For example,

3°30'36" equals 3.51 decimal degrees.

definition list A list that contains all the operations performed on a surface.
By turning the items in the list on and off, you can modify the surface, return
it to a previous state, and so on.

degrees, minutes, seconds (DMS) A representation of an angle in degrees,

minutes, and seconds in which a full circle contains 360 degrees, each degree
60 minutes, and each minute 60 seconds. A typical bearing in DMS
measurement looks like: N45°45'58"E. Using this format, 3°30'36" is entered
as 3.3036.

140 | Glossary
Delaunay triangulation A calculation method used in the creation of TIN
networks. Given a set of data points, Delaunay triangulation produces a set
of lines connecting each point to its natural neighbors.

DEM (Digital Elevation Model) An array of elevations taken on a regularly

spaced horizontal grid.

description keys A method of translating descriptions to help standardize

point data when a variety of data sources are used. For example, descriptions
of EROAD, EPAVE, ERD, and EDGEROAD can all be translated to a description
of EOP. The layer, point style, and point label style options can greatly enhance
automatic base plan generation and the overall organization of the drawing.

design rule A set of automatic constraints for some objects in the drawing
that are enforced by applying a specific style. For example, if you are laying
out alignments, you can specify a rule for a curve radius.

drawing object An object that exists in a single drawing. See also project

easting A linear distance eastwards from the North-South line which passes
through the origin of a grid. Equivalent to the X coordinate in an XYZ
coordinate system.

elevation The vertical distance from a datum to a point or object on the

Earth's surface. The datum is generally considered to be at sea level. Equivalent
to the Z coordinate in an XYZ coordinate system.

face A three-dimensional surface triangle. A face is represented by either a 3D

face object or 3D line objects.

feature line An object in AutoCAD Civil 3D that the grading commands can
recognize and use as a base line. Usually, a line that marks some important
feature in the drawing, such as a ridge line, or the bottom of a swale. See also
base line, control region.

fill slope The slope created when the base line falls above the existing ground
line. The resulting slope matching down into the existing ground is called a
fill slope because material must be brought in to fill the area during

fixed entity An alignment entity with a fixed position, not necessarily tangent
to another entity for the definition of its geometry. See also float entity, free

float entity An alignment entity that is tangent to one other entity (before
or after) for the definition of its geometry. See also fixed entity, free entity.

Glossary | 141
footprint vertices The endpoints that define the segments of a footprint with
an XYZ location and stationing starting at the first vertex.

free entity An entity that is tangent to two other entities (before and after)
for the definition of its geometry. See also fixed entity, float entity.

full description The expanded description of a point after description key

matching has taken place.

geodesic On a surface, the shortest line between two points, either a line or
curve from one point along an ellipsoid to another.

geodetic A basic relationship to the Earth that takes into account the curvature
of the Earth’s sea level surface. For example, a geodetic distance is a distance
or angle in which the Earth's curvature is taken into account, versus a distance
or angle measured on a flat paper map.

grade A method of reporting ground inclination in which the change in

elevation is expressed as a percentage of the horizontal distance travelled. For
example, if the ground rises one linear unit (meter or foot) over a horizontal
distance of five units, the grade is 20%. See also slope.

grade line See layout profile.

grading The process used to model the finished ground surface.

grading criteria The parameters that describe how a grading is accomplished.

Two main components of grading criteria are the target type and the projection

grading face The area bounded by the base line, the target line, and the two
projection lines. See also grading target, target line

grading target The grading target defines what the projection lines from the
footprint will intercept. The three choices for targets are: surface, relative or
absolute elevation, and distance. See also grading face, target line.

grads A system of angle measurement in which one grad equals 1/100 of a

90° angle, or 360° = 400 grads.

grid A system of lines parallel to a given set of axes at a specific spacing. Grids
are used to visualize surfaces and calculate volumes. A grid is also used for
geodetic purposes.

grid distance The distance between two points based on a coordinate zone,
not on local northing and easting coordinates.

142 | Glossary
grid easting The easting coordinate that is based on a selected coordinate
zone, as opposed to the local easting, which is based on the surveyor’s base
point. See also local easting.

grid northing The northing coordinate that is based on a selected coordinate

zone, as opposed to the local northing, which is based on the surveyor's base
point. See also local northing.

grid surface A type of surface created from a DEM or SDTS file, or imported
from a LandXML file. A grid surface consists of a sampled array of elevations
for a number of ground positions at regularly spaced intervals.

grid volume surface A differential grid surface based on user-specified base

and comparison surfaces. The grid method of volume calculation measures
the difference in elevation between two surfaces at each intersection in a
user-defined grid.

grip A moveable point on an object that you can drag to edit the object

hectare A measure of area, generally relating to land, of 10,000 square meters

or approximately 2.47 acres.

intersection The point where two or more lines, arcs, figures, or objects join
or cross in two- or three-dimensional space.

Kriging A method of surface smoothing that uses known values and a

semivariogram to determine unknown values. Based on the semivariogram
used, optimal weights are assigned to known values to calculate unknown
ones. Since the variogram changes with distance, the weights depend on the
known sample distribution.

label component Text, a block, direction arrow, line, or tick that is used to
construct a label style. Label styles can be made up of multiple label

label set A collection of label definitions for multiple label types, such as
station labels and geometry point labels. For example, alignment station
labeling can be composed of major station labels, minor station labels, and
geometry point labels.

latitude The angular distance measured on a meridian north or south from

the equator.

layout profile A profile object that represents the finished ground elevations
along a horizontal alignment or other linear feature that supports profile
views. Typically this data is designed, not derived from a pre-existing source,
and consists of a series of vertical tangents connected by vertical curves located

Glossary | 143
at each point of vertical intersection (PVI). This profile is also known as vertical
alignment, profile grade line, grade line, and finished grade profile.

layout toolbar A floating, dockable toolbar that groups together object-specific

design and editing tools.

local copy An object that is contained in a drawing that is attached to a

project. Compare with official copy.

local easting The easting coordinate that is based on the surveyor's assumed
horizontal base point, as opposed to the grid easting, which is based on the
global coordinate zone. See also grid easting.

local elevation The elevation coordinate based on the surveyor's assumed

vertical base point, or benchmark, versus a real world elevation value.

local northing The northing coordinate that is based on the surveyor's

assumed horizontal base point, as opposed to the grid northing, which is
based on the global coordinate zone. See also grid northing.

longitude The angle between the plane of a given meridian and the plane of
the Greenwich meridian.

mask (surface) A polygon used to mask the visible portions of the surface.

masking A process of obscuring objects so that text can be placed over them
in a clear area. Masking maintains legible text without destroying the objects

match line See daylight line.

mid-ordinate On a circular arc, the distance from the midpoint of a chord

to the midpoint of the subtended arc.

modifier A formula for formatting property field values, such as decimal

precision for an area. You can use predefined modifiers, such as acres, feet,
and meters, or you can define a custom modifier. See also property fields.

Natural Neighbor Interpolation (NNI) A method of surface smoothing

supported on TIN surfaces. NNI uses Delaunay triangulation to determine the
elevation of an arbitrary point based on the elevations of known neighbor

non-destructive breakline A breakline that is not crossed by triangulation

lines in a TIN. Instead, new vertices are added to the breakline at the
intersection of each TIN line and the breakline. The new points create
additional surface triangles. This is useful when you do not want the elevation

144 | Glossary
of a surface to be interpolated inside an area that you know to be a constant
elevation. See also breakline.

northing A linear distance northwards from the East-West line which passes
through the origin of a grid. Equivalent to the Y coordinate in an XYZ
coordinate system.

object In AutoCAD Civil 3D, an element in a drawing, for example, a point,

surface, alignment, or profile, that can maintain a relationship with other

object model The underlying system of links and dependencies between

objects. In the object model, changes in one object can be passed on
automatically to all the objects associated with it.

object reference A read-only copy of an object in the project database. The

referenced object can be used in multiple drawings and stylized locally. When
the official copy of the object is updated in the database, drawings with
references to it are notified of the opportunity to update their local copy.

official copy An object that is contained in the project database. Compare

with local copy.

override A value for a setting that replaces the value already set at the next
higher level.

Panorama A window that displays data in table form for the objects in a
collection that is selected in Toolspace. For example, if you select a point
group, the Panorama table displays a row for each point.

parcel A discrete piece of 2D area. For example, a subdivision is composed of

numerous parcels. Synonymous with lot.

parcel node A point where two or more parcel segment ends join.

parcel segment A parcel boundary element, a line or a curve.

pass-through point A point on the path of a line or curve, often used to define
an alignment. A pass-through point on a curve can be used as a grip to control
the position of the curve. However the alignment is edited, its geometry has
to go through the pass-through point.

passing sight distance The distance measured to a point where an approaching

vehicle comes into view ahead of a driver on an undivided road. This is used
to calculate vertical crest curves.

PC See point of curvature.

PI See point of intersection.

Glossary | 145
pipe An object that connects structures in a pipe network, often to convey
fluid in a utility system.

pipe network Collection that manages pipe objects and structure objects
representing the physical structure and function of a utility system such as a
storm or sanitary sewer.

plan readable Text that can be read easily in a normal plan view, that is,
placed at an angle less than 270 degrees and more than 90 degrees. Also called

plan view The view of a site if you look straight down from an elevated

point group Collection used to group the points in a project into smaller,
more manageable units. For example, you can create a point group that
contains all of the points in a project that meet certain elevation criteria.

point list The list of the points that belong to a point group.

point marker See point symbol.

point of curvature The point where an arc is drawn from a tangent.

point of intersection The point where two tangents meet on a horizontal

alignment. Curves and spirals also have points of intersection, which indicate
where the tangents would meet if they were extended outward.

point of tangency The point where a curve meets a tangent.

point of vertical intersection In a profile, the point where two tangent lines

point symbol A point location marker. When you add points to a drawing,
point symbols are created to represent the points. The point style referenced
by a point describes how the point symbol is drawn.

polyface A 3-dimensional (polygon) mesh object. Each face is capable of

having numerous vertices.

profile An object that contains elevation data along a horizontal alignment

or other line. There are two main types of profiles: surface and layout. Profile
data objects can be viewed within a profile view object.

profile grade line See layout profile.

profile view An object that manages the graphic display of profile data objects
within a drawing. A profile view is essentially a graph with two primary axes:
the X-axis represents horizontal distance along the referenced horizontal

146 | Glossary
alignment (or other linear feature). The Y-axis represents elevations. Profile
view objects can also include grid display components and data bands.

project object An object that has been added to a project. See also drawing

projection lines In a grading, the lines that designate face edges within a
region for break points on the base line or the target line, and for the facets
of curves (corner cleanup, vertical curves).

properties The settings that apply to a particular instance of an object.

property fields The placeholders in labels that contain content, such as text
or graphics, along with format modifiers unique to specific features. Property
fields can be named and their values defined according to the feature with
which they are associated. See also modifier.

Prospector tab The part of Toolspace where you access drawing and project
objects. Objects are arranged in a tree or hierarchy with folders and subfolders
that you navigate through in standard, Windows-Explorer fashion. See also
Settings tab.

proximity breakline A breakline that is drawn as a polyline without snapping

to points in the drawing. The northing, easting, and elevation of the breakline
vertices are determined from the nearest point contained in the surface point
data, after generating the surface.

PT See point of tangency.

PVI See point of vertical intersection.

quadrant One of the sections resulting from dividing a circle into four equal
parts. Quadrant 1 is the NE corner, and quadrants 2, 3, and 4 proceed clockwise
around the compass. Bearings are usually referenced by quadrant number.

quantity takeoff The analysis of detailed cut and fill requirements along an
alignment. A quantity takeoff report provides information on the total volume
of material required to create a finished grade surface, including the process
of cutting existing ground and refilling it with a different material, such as
coarse gravel.

radians A system of measure in which 2 pi radians equals 360°.

raw description The original description of a point, before description key

matching takes place. Often corresponds to the point description entered in
the field by a surveyor.

Glossary | 147
raw station A station value on an alignment, either formatted or unformatted,
that does not take into account any station equations applied to the alignment.

region (grading) The area where grading criteria is applied to a lot line or a
feature line.

region lines The projection lines that designate the start and end of the
grading regions (criteria or transition) by connecting the base line to the target

right of way The allowable work area for an alignment. Property lines of the
property owners who reside adjacent to the construction site generally specify
these limits, which are called right-of-way lines.

right-of-way parcel A parcel that is created from an alignment that crosses

the original parent parcel.

ROW See right of way.

sag curve In a profile, a vertical curve at the bottom of a valley or similar

location where the grade leading into the curve is less than the grade leading
out of the curve. In a sag curve, the point of vertical intersection (PVI) for the
tangents is below the curve. See also crest curve.

sample The process of obtaining elevation information from an existing

terrain model or surface.

sample line A line that typically cuts across an alignment, and that can be
used for creating cross sections.

SC See spiral to curve.

SDTS See Spatial Data Transfer Standard.

section An object that contains elevation data along a sample line.

settings A collection of properties and styles that apply to an object.

Settings tab The part of Toolspace where you access the styles for the different
types of objects, including object labels and tables. See also Prospector tab.

shortcut menu A menu that is displayed when you select an object and then
right-click. Shortcut menus are context-sensitive. Only commands that are
relative to the object that you selected are displayed.

simple spiral A spiral where the large radius end has an infinite radius and
the small radius end has a finite radius, therefore providing a smooth transition
from a tangent (infinite radius end) to a curve (finite radius end). See also
clothoid spiral, compound spiral.

148 | Glossary
site A collection of objects that are managed via a common topology. The
objects that participate in the topology are parcels, alignments, and grading.
See also topology.

slope A method of reporting surface inclination as a ratio that expresses the

horizontal distance in which the elevation changes by one linear unit. For
example, if the ground rises 3 units over a horizontal distance of 15 linear
units (meters or feet), the slope is 5:1 (5 to 1). See also grade.

slope projection The method of grading to a target that is either Slope (H:V
value) or Grade (percentage value).

Spatial Data Transfer Standard (SDTS) A file format designed as a mechanism

for the transfer of spatial data between various computer systems. The SDTS
format is designed to transfer data with complete content transfer (no loss of

spiral See clothoid spiral, compound spiral, simple spiral.

spiral to curve A point where a spiral meets a curve.

spiral to tangent A point where a spiral meets a tangent.

spot elevation The elevation of a single point in the drawing. Used when
generating a TIN using contour information to define areas that are sparse in
contour data. Areas that may also need spot elevations are the top of hills,
valleys, and bottom of swales.

ST See spiral to tangent.

stacked text When a label is dragged from its point of origin, label text can
be re-arranged by specifying settings for text justification, text height, and
relationship to borders.

standard breakline A breakline defined from selecting consecutive points

or point numbers, or selected 3D polyline or 3D line objects.

station A distance along a horizontal alignment.

station equation A point on an alignment that defines a change in the station

values after that point.

stationing The labeling that provides a reference when talking about a specific
point along the reference base line.

stopping sight distance The distance required to safely stop a vehicle, traveling
at design speed, to avoid a collision with any other non-moving objects
obstructing the travel path.

Glossary | 149
stratum The difference between two surfaces that exist in a drawing, usually
the existing ground surface and a finished ground surface, which is used for
calculating volumes.

structure A pipe network object that represents a specific engineering function

in the design, such as a manhole, catch basin, or headwall.

style A logical collection of settings that applies to a class of objects (surface,

alignment, and so on). Styles simplify the process of applying settings by
simply referencing a style. Modifying a style affects all the objects referencing
that style.

subassembly An individual segment or portion of a physical corridor design.

Examples of subassemblies include lanes, curbs, and shoulders.

subdivision An unimproved tract of land surveyed and divided into parcels

for purposes of sales.

surface A network of elevation data (either TIN or Grid). The points of a

surface are connected into either triangles or a grid, which are then used to
interpolate contours, and to generate profiles and cross-sections. A surface
represents the ground condition at a particular time or event.

surface border See border (surface).

surface boundary See boundary (surface).

surface distance The distance between two points, measured along the ground
surface. On a sloped surface, the distance between two points can also be
measured as a horizontal distance and a vertical distance.

surface profile A profile object that represents existing ground elevations

along a horizontal alignment or other linear feature that supports profile
views. Typically, this data is derived from an existing surface or data file, and
consists of a series of connected vertical tangent lines without vertical curves
defined. Vertical curves can be added if required.

surface smoothing A process that interpolates and extrapolates surface data

to derive additional elevation values. Kriging and Natural Neighbor
Interpolation (NNI) are the two methods of surface smoothing.

Survey tab The tab in Toolspace where you access and manage survey settings,
survey-related databases, and survey project data.

tangent A straight line segment that forms part of a horizontal alignment or

profile. Tangent distances are measured as the horizontal distance between
the two end points.

150 | Glossary
target The element of grading design criteria that determines what the grading
is going to intercept. A target can be a surface, absolute elevation, relative
elevation, or distance.

target line In a grading, the target line is either the resulting geometry created
by applying grading criteria to a base line, or a lot line that was selected as
the target. See also grading face, grading target.

template A collection of default settings and styles used to create a drawing.

terminators Graphics, such as arrowheads, ticks, or crow’s feet, that are

displayed at the end of lines, arcs, or spirals.

tick A component of a label that is usually a mark (or short line) inserted in
a series at perpendicular angles to another object, such as a line or curve.

TIN surface Triangular Irregular Network. A TIN is the most common method
of interpolating elevation data. The points are connected into triangles that
are used to interpolate for contours, and to generate profiles and cross-sections.
The lines that make up the surface triangulation are called TIN lines. See also
3D face.

TIN volume surface A differential surface created from a composite of points

based on base and comparison surface. Also known as a differential surface.

Toolspace A window that provides an object-oriented view of your engineering

projects. Toolspace is divided into four parts or tabs: Prospector tab, Settings
tab, Survey tab, and Toolbox tab.

topography The features of the actual surface of the Earth.

topology A set of geometric connections between objects. Objects linked by

topology maintain their relationships with one another. In AutoCAD Civil
3D, objects that share the same topology are grouped together in a site. See
also site.

transition region An area of a grading that blends the control regions on

either side of the grading. A transition region has no design criteria assigned
to it.

transparent command A command that can be run while another command

is in progress. Transparent commands begin with an apostrophe (‘).

triangle area The 2-dimensional (2D) area of a triangle face computed from
the northing and easting of each triangle point. The total triangle area is the
sum of all 2D triangle areas with the surface boundary(s).

Glossary | 151
trim (surface) The process of removing unwanted TIN lines from a surface,
thereby removing triangles.

vault A database managed by Autodesk Vault.

vertical alignment See profile.

vertical curve A curve used on a profile (most commonly on layout profiles)

to provide a gradual change in slope from one tangent to the other. There are
three types of vertical curve: parabolic, circular, and asymmetrical.

vertical exaggeration An increase of vertical scale relative to horizontal scale,

used to make grade changes easier to differentiate. See also vertical scale.

vertical scale The scale that is compared to the horizontal scale to calculate
the vertical exaggeration in profiles and cross sections. It does not actually
change the scale that is used when the drawing is plotted. See also vertical

void region An area along a base line where grading has not been applied,
creating a gap in the grading.

volume surface A surface that is created by calculating volumes using the

grid (differential) or TIN (composite) methods. The surface is created from the
two surfaces that make up the stratum. The elevation values of a volume
surface are actually the difference between the two surfaces. For example, at
point 1000,1000, the bottom surface has an elevation of 100, and the top
surface has an elevation of 150. The elevation of point 1000,1000 on the
volume surface is the difference between the two surfaces, which is 50.

wall breakline A breakline that represents surface features, such as retaining

walls, curbs, bridge abutments, and so on.

watershed The catchment area for rainfall that is delineated as the drainage
area producing runoff. Base flow in a stream also usually comes from the same

weeding The removal of points along a selected polyline representing a

contour. The weeding factors determine the amount of points removed. You
can use weeding to reduce the amount of point information taken from the
contours that may not be necessary to generate an accurate surface. See also
weeding factors.

weeding factors The settings used to reduce redundant points along the
contours by ignoring contour vertices that are close together or along a straight
line. A larger distance and deflection angle will weed a greater number of
points. See also weeding.

152 | Glossary
A child override, explanation of 52
circular curves 99
alignments 26, 62–63, 93, 99, 103 civil engineers, and AutoCAD Civil 3D 2
and profiles 99 collections 25, 29, 42
and sections 103 introduction to 29
concepts for 93 item view of contents 25
create (exercise) 63 of styles 42
editing with grips 26 commands 24–25, 52
LiveView exercise 62 from layout tools 25
alignments, horizontal 93 from shortcut menus 24
analysis, of surface 80 settings for 52
angle, of labels 46 compliance, with standards 40, 58
appearance 40, 46 components 44, 49, 85, 89, 93
of labels 46 of a grading object 85
of objects 40 of alignments 93
assemblies 111 of an object 49
asymmetric parabolic curves 99 of labels 44
AutoCAD Civil 3D 1–2, 7, 21, 25, 75 of parcels 89
editing methods 25 concepts 7, 44, 75–76, 80, 84, 88, 93,
exercises with 75 99, 103, 107, 111, 116, 120, 126,
highlights of 2 131
installation of 2 alignments 93
introduction to 1 corridors 111
learning 7 feature-specific 75
menus in 21 grading 84
sample data 1 label objects 131
AutoCAD properties 29 learning 7
parcels 88
pipe networks 107
B points 76
base line, grading 84 profiles 99
boundaries, definition of 80 sections 103
boundary lines, parcels 88 styles 44, 120
breaklines, definition of 80 surfaces 80
survey 116
visualization 126
C constraints, for alignments 93
copying styles to another drawing 40
CAD manager, and AutoCAD Civil corridors 111, 113
3D 40 concepts for 111
center line, for sections 103 LiveView exercise 113
child label style, creating 53 criteria, grading 84

Index | 153
cross sections 103 drawings 52, 58, 75–76
curves 93, 99, 102 and point groups 76
editing (exercise) 102 creation, consistency in 58
in alignment 93 for exercises 75
in profiles 99 presentation, consistency of 58
settings for 52
dwt files 42
D dynamic updates 12
data bands 99, 103
for profiles 99 E
for section views 103
data flow between objects 14 editing 25–28, 43, 78, 86, 93, 99, 109,
data shortcuts 70 113, 118, 122, 124
database, points 76 alignments 93
defaults 42, 52, 63 consistency of methods 25
for drawing settings 52 corridors 113
for layers 63 grading 86
standard style 42 of styles 43
definition list, for surfaces 80 pipe networks 109
definitions of terms 137 profiles 99
dependencies between objects 13 properties (exercise) 78
deployment, network 2 properties of objects 28
description keys 76 styles 122, 124
design standards 58 survey data 118
dialog boxes 25, 42, 44, 49, 76, 79, 82 using grips 26
Create Points 76 with item view 25
Label Style Composer 44 with Panorama window 27
Layer Properties Manager 49 elevation analysis, illustration of 80
Layout Tools 25 engineering technicians, and AutoCAD
Properties 79 Civil 3D 2
Style Editor 42, 49 exercises 7, 53, 62, 72, 75, 78, 82, 86,
Style Editor (exercise) 82 90, 101, 105, 109, 113, 118, 122,
differential surfaces 80 124, 128, 133
display management 40, 49 alignments 62
and layers 49 corridors 113
and styles 40 create a child label style 53
Display tab, using (exercise) 83 creating a data shortcut 72
documentation 7 files for 75
list of 7 grading 86
drafters, and AutoCAD Civil 3D 2 managing label objects 133
drag-and-drop styles 40 parcels 90
drainage analysis, surface 80 pipe networks 109
drawing settings 52, 62 points 78
editing (exercise) 62 profiles 101
introduction to 52 purpose of 7
drawing templates 7 sections 105

154 | Index
styles 122, 124 Help system 8
surfaces 82 introduction to 8
survey 118 search for words 8
visualization 128 hierarchy 17, 88
expanding folders 17 of objects 17
external references (Xrefs) 70 of site and parcels 88
horizontal alignments 93
HTML Help 8
face, grading 84 I
feature line, grading 84
features 8, 21, 52, 75 icons 78, 82
concepts for 75 for point groups 78
learning about 8 for styles 82
menus for 21 importing 76
settings for 52 points 76
folders 17, 66 installation 2, 6
and project management 66 of sample data 6
in Toolspace 17 overview 2
Installation wizard 2
intelligent objects 40
G interface 16
Getting Started Guide 6–7 ease of use emphasis 16
description of 7 overview 16
sample data location 6 item view 25, 78, 83
grading 84, 86 as editing method 25
concepts for 84 displaying (exercise) 78
criteria 84 Style column 83
LiveView exercise 86
volume tools 84 L
grading group 84
graph 103 label objects 131
for section views 103 label sets 44, 103
graphical view of objects 25 for sections 103
grid surfaces 80 introduction to 44
grip editing 26, 93, 99, 101 Label Style Composer 31
introduction to 26 labels 30, 44, 46, 76, 88, 103
of alignment (exercise) 101 angle of 46
of alignments 93 appearance of 46
profiles 99 components of 44
customizing 44
for parcel area and segments 88
H for points 76
hatch pattern, for parcels 88 for sections 103
introduction to 30
label styles 44

Index | 155
location of 46 N
plan readability 46
preview window 30 navigation, of objects 17
rotating 46 network 2, 66
Layer Properties Manager 49, 101 and project files 66
using (exercise) 101 installation on a 2
layers 49, 62, 76
and styles 49
for imported points 76
properties of 49 object model 12–13
specifying (exercise) 62 concept of 12
layout profile 100 illustration of 13
layout tools, dialog boxes for 25 Object Viewer 86, 111
layout tools, parcel 88 object-oriented 17, 40
learning AutoCAD Civil 3D 7 intelligent objects 40
lines, projection 84 view of projects 17
list view of objects 25 objects 14, 17, 19, 21, 24–26, 28–29, 40,
LiveView exercises 62, 75, 78, 82, 86, 42, 44, 49
90, 101, 105, 109, 113, 118, 122, and Settings tab 19
124, 128, 133 and Toolspace 17
alignments 62 dependencies 14
corridors 113 display of 49
grading 86 display of, using styles 40
introduction to 75 editing methods 25
managing label objects 133 grip editing 26
parcels 90 hierarchy 17
pipe networks 109 item view of 25
points 78 labeling of 44
profiles 101 layout tools 25
sections 105 properties of 28
styles 122, 124 right-clicking 24
surfaces 82 styles for 42
survey 118 styles, introduction to 29
visualization 128 workflow for 21
location, of labels 46 official copies, of project files 66
lot lines, for grading 84 overrides 49, 52, 76
display properties 49
M explanation of 52
for point groups 76
masks, surface 80 for settings 52
menus 21–24
annotation 23
comparison between 22
consistency of 21 Panorama window, editing with 27
shortcut 24 parabolic curves 99
merging parcels 88

156 | Index
parcels 88, 90 of layers 49
concepts for 88 Prospector tab 17, 24–25, 28
LiveView exercise 90 introduction to 17
styles for 88 item view 25
phases of a project 40 properties of objects 28
phrase, finding in Help 8 shortcut menus 24
pipe networks 107, 109
concepts for 107
design rules 107
LiveView exercises 109 raw description 76, 79
structures 107 introduction to 76
PIs, alignment 93 viewing (exercise) 79
plan readability, for labels 46 rebuilding surfaces 80
plotting sections 103 relationships between objects 12
point groups 76, 78 and object model 12
concepts 76 render materials 129
icons for 78 reset label location, with grip 27
point-label styles 77 revisions, of design data 12
points 76, 78 right-click menu content 24
concepts for 76 rotating labels 46
LiveView exercise 78
styles for 76
polylines 84, 88, 93 S
convert to alignments 93
convert to feature lines 84 sample data 1, 6–7, 75
convert to parcels 88 for exercises 75
preview, for labels 30 for Getting Started Guide 6
profile views, description of 99 for tutorials 6
profiles 99, 101 overview 1
and alignments 99 provided on the product media 6
automatic update 101 styles and settings 7
concepts for 99 sample lines 103
LiveView exercise 101 searching 8
types of 99 for a word or phrase 8
project database, for points 76 section view 103
projection lines, grading 84 sections 103, 105
projection method, grading 84 concepts for 103
projects 17, 40, 66 LiveView exercise 105
in Toolspace 17 plotting 103
management of 66 segments, parcel 88
phases of 40 server 66, 76
properties 28–29, 49, 78, 83 and points database 76
AutoCAD 29 for project files 66
changing styles 83 settings 49, 52
editing (exercise) 78 display properties 49
introduction to 28 levels of 52
overriding 52

Index | 157
Settings tab 19, 24, 42, 44, 52, 82 subassemblies 111
and drawing settings 52 subdivisions, designing 88
and label styles 44 support, technical 2
and styles 42 surface profile 100
expanding styles (exercise) 82 surfaces 80, 82, 84, 99
shortcut menus 24 analysis of 80
shared access 66, 76 and profiles 99
to points database 76 concepts for 80
to project files 66 created from grading 84
shortcut menus 24 drainage analysis 80
sites 17, 88 LiveView exercise 82
and parcels 88 styles for 80
introduction to 17 types of 80
smoothing, surface 80 survey 116, 118
spirals, in alignments 93 concepts for 116
Standard style 42 LiveView exercise 118
standards 40, 58 Survey tab 20
and styles 40 symbol, point 76
compliance with 58
static profiles 99
station equations, alignment 93
Style Editor 49 table, item view 26
styles 7, 19, 29–30, 40, 42, 44, 49, 76, tables, styles for 29
80, 82, 84, 88, 103, 120, 122, target, grading 84
124, 128 technical support 2
and display management 40 templates 6, 42
and layers 49 and styles 42
and Settings tab 19 provided on the product media 6
concepts for 120 terms, definitions 137
copying to another drawing 40 TIN surfaces 80
creating (exercise) 82 Toolspace 17, 19–20, 26
editing method 30 introduction to 17
for grading 84 item view 26
for labels 30, 44 Prospector tab 17
for objects 42 Settings tab 19
for parcels 88 Survey tab 20
for points 76 topology, site 17, 88
for sample lines 103 triangulation, surface 80
for section views 103 tutorials 6, 8
for surfaces 80 description of 8
introduction to 29 sample data location 6
LiveView exercise 122, 124, 128
sample data for 7
standard, or default 42 U
table 29
types of 29 update 14, 44, 84, 88, 103
of labels 44

158 | Index
of objects 14 W
of parcels 88
of sections 103 watershed analysis 80
of surfaces 84 workflow 21, 58
upside-down labels 46 creating, editing, and annotating 21
usability highlights 16 engineering 58
World Coordinate System, and labels 46
vertical alignments 99
visualization 126 zooming (exercise) 78
volume surfaces 80
volume tools, grading 84

Index | 159