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Does Civil 3D provide value to the typical surveyor?  

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Bow Tie Surveyor
(@bow-tie-surveyor)
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November 13, 2018 11:23 am  

I have been using Civil 3D for about 6 months coming from Carlson Survey on ICAD and so far I am not very impressed. Its a sluggish program with twitchy graphics. I am constantly waiting on it to catch up with me. The whole smart/dynamic entities, styles and survey database seem to add complexity without much return. I asked one of our Engineering techs in the office if they benefit much from us using survey figures and smart objects and he didn't think so. He actually didn't like Civil 3D trying to rescale our survey when he changes scale on his drawings. He would rather our survey remain static. Also, he didn't seem to care about the 3D survey figures. Not to mention that it is missing a ton of survey tools that Carlson has. So, does Civil 3D provide value to the typical surveyor?

The Bow Tie Surveyor


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thebionicman
(@thebionicman)
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November 13, 2018 11:32 am  

If the engineers or clients are using models, C3D is a must. If I were a survey only shop with no engineer clients I wouldnt use it. Problem is, there really arent many places a survey only shop with no engineer clients can stay in business...

CFedS, PLS ID-OR-WA-UT-NV


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Jim Frame
(@jim-frame)
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November 13, 2018 11:45 am  

If the engineers or clients are using models, C3D is a must.

My engineering clients haven't said anything about the models I furnish.  What's special about C3D in this regard?

Jim Frame
Frame Surveying & Mapping
609 A Street
Davis, CA 95616


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Norman Oklahoma
(@norman-oklahoma)
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November 13, 2018 12:02 pm  
Posted by: Bow Tie Surveyor

...does Civil 3D provide value to the typical surveyor?

To the surveyor?  No. To the engineer? Perhaps. Does the survey need to provide a product that the engineer can use seamlessly? Yes. So I'm going to be using C3d as long as the engineers I work with do.

In defense of C3d it is no worse than LDD was for surveyors. And it does have a reasonably good F2f functionality. It does things like import Lidar and export to KML which LDD never did. And I like that there is only one file to maintain track of.

This post was modified 1 month ago by Norman Oklahoma

"Convention is like the shell to the chick, a protection till he is strong enough to break it through." Learned Hand


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Gregg Gaffney
(@gregg-gaffney)
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November 13, 2018 12:05 pm  

Interesting that you ask this. We just had training for Civil 3D and the learning curve is significant.

We are currently using Land Desktop ver 2009 and are very happy with it. The issue is that we have never been so far behind in software versions than we are right now. We work with one main engineer, and some others, and as far as I know they all use Civil 3D. Things have been getting tougher to keep up with as the spread in software between us and them gets larger. 

I have noticed that even with quick computers, it does appear to be sluggish as well. I am hoping that once we start using it we will find it to be faster but not sure yet. I am with you that I would rather not see the scale change objects which I am sure you can turn off somehow.

My biggest fear is points and point management. We have a good system down and it works very well for us for topos, boundaries and stake out work. None of this appears to work the same in Civil 3D. I also have noticed that when some of the engineers migrated to it there were fairly large issues associated with the learning curve. 

We know others that have gone to Carlson and appear to be happy with it. At some point maybe I will try that also and see if it would be a better fit. At the moment though it appears to be Civil 3D in our future. I am hoping that it will be a worthwhile upgrade. I have heard others state that after the initial time investment it was very much worth it. I am again hoping that is the case!

 


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LDavis
(@ldavis)
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November 13, 2018 12:21 pm  

I spent two years as a surveyor at an "engineering" shop using Carlson Survey and everything worked fine.  The company I'm currently at is a Civil 3D shop, and I miss Carlson....  As a Texas surveyor, original land grants/patents are in varas, and when deed sketching in Carlson, varas is an option for units, which is a great time saver.  There's a lot of other surveyor friendly features I miss.


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Bradl
(@bradl)
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November 13, 2018 12:26 pm  

If you have the overhead time to set up your template, with description keys, blocks, figures, etc..., Civil 3D isn't too bad.  When needing to create plan & profiles with alignments, it works well.

I haven't worked very much outside of the Autodesk products, so I can't say it is better than Carlson.  

Brad Luken


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leegreen
(@leegreen)
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November 13, 2018 12:27 pm  

I have been using Microstation with InRoads for 25 years on very large projects such as Panama Canal and Tappen Zee Bridge. In recent months I have worked with relatively smaller projects, such as a 200-acre subdivision with 600 lots on Civil3d. It is extremely slow and frustrating, C3D has finally caught up with the dynamic design process, that Microstation has used for many years, but they loose a great deal of productivity do to poor file management. Hard to believe that C3D can't take advantage of todays technology in computer hardware. My PC is an Intel Extreme 10 core, 20 thread with RAID NVME drives, 64Gb RAM and it still several minutes to open this job file. 

~LeeGreen.com
Licensed Surveyor in NY
sUAS Remote Pilot


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WA-ID Surveyor
(@wa-id-surveyor)
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November 13, 2018 12:31 pm  

Very much so...once you understand it. Most don't take the time and simply complain about it. I get it! I was on that bandwagon when I first started using it 8 years ago.

You need to fully understand Cad first and then you must fully understand which settings to turn off and on to suite your needs.  There are numerous settings, particularly the rollover tooltips, that will cause your frustration level to rise to great heights.

As a survey only tool it has an extreme learning curve and associated cost.  I would probably look elsewhere if I were running a survey only firm.

Where it really shines is points and points management and seamless integration with engineering. Most people i talk to do not even use the survey database, mostly because they don't understand its power.  Imagine having an entire county database of survey monuments and control on Grid values at your fingertips with the ability to insert any of those points into your 'project' at your project scale factor.  Once you start understanding how you can build a survey database and use it as a research tool and database tool you will wonder how you ever lived without it.

As others have pointed out, it works great when you have direct seamless interaction with Engineering.  Surfaces are automatically cross referenced so any changes made in the topo are directly reflected on the design side of things. This goes the other way too. Design alignment and design surfaces are right at your fingertips and updated automatically when the source drawings are updated.

How many times have you seen an engineer working from the 'old topo' not knowing a new one had been made.  With proper setup in Civil3d this should never happen.  

It's a powerful program that needs to be marketed much better to surveyors but we are such a small piece of the Autodesk juggernaut that we don't matter much, it shows in the amount of Autodesk people that actually use the survey components.  Its not perfect but i couldn't live without its functionality.


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John Putnam
(@john-putnam)
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November 13, 2018 12:32 pm  

While I have dabbled with it for years, I made the switch from LDD to C3D a year or so ago.  It took a significant effort to configure it to meet my needs but once set up it is great for the pre-design mapping we do.  The time to create a map has been dramatically reduced.  That being said, when it comes to labeling boundaries I miss LDD.  I also miss annotative text, be it line labels or multi-leaders.  C3D's scaling works great if you don't need details.

Bottom line, if your working for engineers that use it, then it is well worth having.  As others have said, if you are just producing plats and boundaries, then save your money.

John Putnam, PLS
OR, CA, WA & ID


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FL/GA PLS.
(@flga-pls)
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Posts: 3399
November 13, 2018 12:40 pm  

@bow-tie-surveyor

Try BricsCAD out, the demo is free.

@thebionicman

“there really arent many places a survey only shop with no engineer clients can stay in business...”

Golly, Gee whiz! I will not work with any “engineer clients”, governmental agencies, or the public. I only work for private house building corporations.

I wonder what I’m doing wrong.  I’ve only been in business for 30 years.  😉 

(Tongue in cheek man, no offence intended) 😎 

 

"I,d rather die while I'm living than live while I'm dead"....Jimmy Buffett
"All I know is, if you look around at the human race you've got to wonder what the hell God was thinking!" ...Lee Marvin, "Paint Your Wagon"


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Richard Imrie
(@richard-imrie)
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Joined: 3 years ago
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November 13, 2018 12:40 pm  
Posted by: John Putnam

  That being said, when it comes to labeling boundaries I miss LDD.  I also miss annotative text, be it line labels or multi-leaders. 

Do you use Civil 3D Parcels for creating and labeling boundaries?

For text we use both Civil 3D labels, and "ordinary" AutoCAD mtext and multileaders - each has its own different behavior but one or the other  can overcome any situation.


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iGage IG8

Travis Caldwell
(@travis-caldwell)
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Joined: 2 years ago
Posts: 20
November 13, 2018 12:46 pm  
Posted by: WA-ID Surveyor

Very much so...once you understand it. Most don't take the time and simply complain about it. I get it! I was on that bandwagon when I first started using it 8 years ago.

You need to fully understand Cad first and then you must fully understand which settings to turn off and on to suite your needs.  There are numerous settings, particularly the rollover tooltips, that will cause your frustration level to rise to great heights.

As a survey only tool it has an extreme learning curve and associated cost.  I would probably look elsewhere if I were running a survey only firm.

Where it really shines is points and points management and seamless integration with engineering. Most people i talk to do not even use the survey database, mostly because they don't understand its power.  Imagine having an entire county database of survey monuments and control on Grid values at your fingertips with the ability to insert any of those points into your 'project' at your project scale factor.  Once you start understanding how you can build a survey database and use it as a research tool and database tool you will wonder how you ever lived without it.

As others have pointed out, it works great when you have direct seamless interaction with Engineering.  Surfaces are automatically cross referenced so any changes made in the topo are directly reflected on the design side of things. This goes the other way too. Design alignment and design surfaces are right at your fingertips and updated automatically when the source drawings are updated.

How many times have you seen an engineer working from the 'old topo' not knowing a new one had been made.  With proper setup in Civil3d this should never happen.  

It's a powerful program that needs to be marketed much better to surveyors but we are such a small piece of the Autodesk juggernaut that we don't matter much, it shows in the amount of Autodesk people that actually use the survey components.  Its not perfect but i couldn't live without its functionality.

Everything said here. Its typically a lack of understanding of C3D.
Problem is most of our in-house engineers don't have as much of an understanding of C3D as our surveyors do.
Our engineering clients have even less. We produce beautiful smart drawings utilizing as many features as possible for our surveys and then export a dumb flat drawing to give to everyone else to use. C3D is truly a powerhouse when understood and used to its fullest. 
That just takes a lot to do. I learn something new regularly and I use it on a daily.

About the "slowness" of it. I believe this is a license thing.
At home using the free C3D student version it runs flawlessly. At work on network servers, its slow. Very slow.


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lmbrls
(@lmbrls)
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November 13, 2018 1:29 pm  

I think that I understand C3D better than their programmers understand Surveying. 


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Norman Oklahoma
(@norman-oklahoma)
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November 13, 2018 1:37 pm  
Posted by: John Putnam

... when it comes to labeling boundaries I miss LDD. ..

I miss labelling boundaries in C&G. But I prefer the annotations tool in C3d over what LDD had.

"Convention is like the shell to the chick, a protection till he is strong enough to break it through." Learned Hand


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