How to Create Surface from Text in Civil3D (Also Assign Elevations to Text!)

Often times we receive exported files from other surveyors that we need to use in our drawings. At this time, it is great that AutoCAD Civil 3D gives us the opportunity to Create a Surface from Text Objects.
To illustrate better the task. We will look at an example where we have received a drawing with Anonymous Blocks instead of Cogo points or normal blocks. We will create a surface using those Blocks, more particularly the text that is hiding in them.

Move Text to Elevation

As previously said, we have been given a file with Anonymous Blocks. They are really hard to work with because every single one of them has a different block name. Lacks attributes and can’t be edited. We previously discussed How to Convert Anonymous Blocks *U### to Normal AutoCAD Blocks.


Today, however, we will isolate all the blocks and Explode them. We are not using them for Surface Creation because they lack Z coordinates.

After all the Anonymous Blocks are exploded the drawing is left with Text objects and some lines that represent the point location. Now if we select the Mtext containing the Elevation information we can see that there is no “Z” position filled in. Our first task would be to assign it to all text objects.


Don’t worry, we are not going to fill in all the elevations manually. We will use the Civil 3D Move Text to Elevation tool, to Automatically Assign Elevations to all Text objects! Please follow the steps below:
  1. Isolate all the Mtext objects that contain Text (in our example we will isolate using Quick Select to select all the red text, and hit Isolate Selected Objects) Check How to Quick Select objects by Color! (AutoCAD trick) for more detailed explanation.
  2. After we are left with only Text containing Elevations we go to the Modify Ribbon tab and under Ground Data select Surface.
  3. A new Ribbon tab will Appear called Surface. There under Surface Tools click on the Move to Surface drop-down menu and select Move Text to Surface.
  4. AutoCAD will prompt to Select Text Objects: Here we select our text that contains the Elevation and hit Enter.

At this point, our Mtext objects must have their Position Z property automatically filled in.

Create surface Using Text Objects.

The hard part is over. Now we just have to create a Surface using our Text objects. To do that follow the steps below:

  1. First, We create a TIN Surface the usual way – Home Ribbon tab > Surface drop-down menu > Create Surface > TIN Surface > Fill in the Name, Description, Style.
  2. Secondly, go to Toolspace > Surfaces > Your Surface (in the example Surface from Text) > Definition > Drawing objects > Add
  3. A window will pop up, Add Points From Drawing Objects. Under Object Type: from the drop-down menu choose Text.
  4. Select the Objects and hit Enter!

That is it! our Surface is now ready!

Tip: Before creating the Surface from Text it would be good to check where the Text Object Grip point is. If it is away from the actual Point Placement, you should move it to correspond with it. Otherwise the surface will be displaced with that error.
In our example I had to move the point grip of all red Text Objects.

Hope you find this post useful! You can check our other post Point Elevations From Lines or our other Civil 3d tips and Tricks!

Profile View through COGO Points. (8 Simple Step Guide!)

We have already discussed, how to create Alignment Stations Through COGO Points! (Civil 3D Stations On COGO POINT!). Today we will continue the theme by setting up a Profile View to match Stations placed through COGO Points.

We will continue with the previous example and set a Profile View through COGO Points.

  1. Create Surface Profile from Home Ribbon > Create Design tab > Profile > Create Surface Profile.
  2. After Creating the Profile, Hit Draw in Profile View.
  3. Now we have our Profile view drawn it is time to Set our Custom Profile Bands. Right-click on the Profile View and hit Profile View Properties
  4. A window will pop up, now go to Bands Tab, under Band Type, choose Sectional Data and hit Copy Current Selection.

  5. Now is the time to Set Up Custom Station Labels for Profile View in Civil 3D for our Sectional Data.
  6. After Setting the Bands, we go back to Profile View Properties > Bands and search for Data Source Row. There from the drop-down menu, we choose our Sample line group. Then hit OK.
  7. At this point, we will have our Bands set and they will correspond with the Sample Line Stations, The last thing to do is to turn on The Grid lines for Sample Lines. To do that Right Click on Profile View and go to the Profile View Style. 
  8. Under Display tab, find Grid at Sample Line Stations. Click on the bulb to Turn it ON. If you want you can Turn Off the Grid Lines at Vertical Major/Minor stations. Hit OK!

That is all! Now you can have Profile View Bands through COGO Points!

We have many other AutoCAD related Topics! that will help you become one of the best designers in your company!

 

 

Alignment Stations Through COGO Points! (Civil 3D Stations On COGO POINT!)

Working as a Civil Engineer more particularly doing Road Design, Often I have to work on Road rehabilitation/Reconstruction Projects. When doing design for rehabilitation it is of great importance to use correct point elevations, in order to calculate more accurately Asphalt quantities. Usually, when surveying an Existing road we try to survey at 10-meter sections. However, it is practically impossible to survey a Miles long Road through at exactly 10m (33ft.) sections. This is why we need to place Stations through our Alignment at different increment, exactly where we have surveyed a point. So how do we manage that?

Some programs are able to place stations at surveyed points, but Civil 3D doesn’t allow us this. Today we will go through a method that allows us to do just that!

Stations At COGO Points

First, let us take a look at our example, we have Points for the Left and Right Edge of pavement and the Centerline.

The points are approximately at 10m intervals, now we will add Alignment stations along them. Of course, we can use our Guide for Adding custom stations along Alignment in Civil 3D. but, imagine if we had a thousand points? It would be suicidal time lose for our project. So let’s take a look at the new method that will allow us to Automatically place Stations Along Alignment at Cogo Points.

  1. Open the Toolspace and go to the Toolbox tab.
  2. Now expand Reports Manager, then Points and double click on Station Offset to Points.
  3. A window will pop up, there we select the points we want to use for Alignment stations. Then click on Create Report.

  4. AutoCAD Civil 3D will create an HTML report and will present it into your browser (you can change the format in “save report to“). Now just copy the data in the report and paste it into a Microsoft Excel Spreadsheet (or google sheets).
  5. At this point, we need only the Station Data so we delete everything else and revise the Spreadsheet to look like this:
  6. Then we save the file in .txt format and open it in the Notepad. There we revise it yet again in order to end up with something like this:

    Note: Numbers have to be separated by “a space”
  7. Going back to Civil 3D we Start creating Sample Lines on our Alignment. Now we paste the Number data from the Notepad into the AutoCAD’s Command line.

Now we have Stations exactly where we have Cogo Points!

Set Sample lines to look like Stations

Since I have my sample lines set to look like Alignment Stations and you might not have those set up we will briefly go through the process of setting them. You can find a more detailed explanation of Setting up Alignment and Sample Line Labels in Civil 3d here!

  1. Go to Edit Sample Line Labels In Group…
  2. There create a New Label Style.
  3. Go to Layout and Add Text Component. Under Contents I have: <[Sample Line Station Value(Ukm|FD|P2|RN|AP|GS|UN|Sn|ORD)]>
    To display my station number. However, you can add Station Km or much more.
  4. After finishing with the Label, Add it to the Sample Line Labels and hit Ok.

You can also turn Sample Line “Line” off in order to hide those lines that go through my Stations.

We will take a look at How to Create a Profile View through Cogo Points in another Post. Stay tuned for that!

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How to create Longitudinal Profile from Feature Line? Easy!

The Task!

So what do we want to do? We want to create a longitudinal profile (Profile view and profile) from Feature line which we can use as a surface profile without having surface. In the example, we will create a feature through the New River Road and we will use the map’s elevations as a base.


We, of course, can create a quick profile with 2 clicks, but our task would be to create real profile view which won’t be erased as soon as we close our AutoCAD Civil 3d ( quick profiles are temporary objects and will disappear from drawing when we close it).

Solution

First, we will need a feature line which has the geometry of our road and elevations at the contours. We will use Elevation points here and one very rough geometry.

Profile directly from the feature line

We just have to follow these 7 simple steps:

  1. Create our feature line geometry and assign elevations – we already did that.
  2. Create Quick profile from Feature line. To create Quick profile we just select our feature line, then right click
    and from the menu we choose Quick Profile.. Now we will have something like this:
    Note: As we learned before Quick profiles are temporary so we aren’t ready yet!
  3. Now we type in “LANDXMLOUT” in the command line and hit Enter. (Use LANDXMLOUT without the dash).
  4. A window will pop up (Export to LandXML) here we first have to uncheck everything (by clicking uncheck all button). Then we have to click on pick from drawing and select our profile. After selecting it we can just click on OK button and save our .xml file.
  5. After saving our .xml now we will import it back in. We type in command line “LANDXMLIN” (Again without dash).
  6. A new window will pop up here we just have to choose our .xml file and hit Open. A new window will pop up we just click OK here.
  7. We end up with new alignment with its own 3d definition. Now to create our surface profile we just have to create a new surface profile from our new alignment.

    Our profile from Feature line is ready!

Assign elevations to Feature line from existing surface.

Feature lines in AutoCAD Civil 3d are one of the most powerful objects in the software. They are very similar to normal 3d Polylines but we have an extended number of tools to play with.

Many times we need to have line object laying in an existing surface, but how can we assign the exact same elevations on this object directly from the surface? By using feature lines. Just fallow these simple steps and you will have your line laying on the surface:

Method one – creating new feature line object

  1. Decide where do you want your line to be? It can have any shape and can be open or closed.                                                                                                     
  2. Click on Feature line and then Create feature line
  3. Window will pop up, here we will set up our feature line.
    – At the top you will see Site, for this exercise you can leave it that way.
    – Then we see Name, it would be unchecked, you can leave it that way too.
    – Next is Layer tab, here I recommend to select an unique layer which will be used only for our feature lines. In the example we will use “C-FTLN-SITE” layer which stands for Civil-Featureline-Site.
    – Lastly you will see Conversion options they will be greyed out. You can use them only if we convert an existing object to featureline.
    – You are ready to hit OK                                                                                    .
  4. Now AutoCad Civil 3d asks for specific start point, upon choosing one it will ask for elevation, leave it 0 for now, then you will repeat the process until you have the required shape.
  5. Now select our new feature line and you will have a new ribbon – Feature line. Here you can see Elevation from Surface command, just select it.
  6. New window will pop up, here you will be asked for two things:
    – Choose the sufrace from which the elevations will came from. We will use ET (existing terrain).
    Insert Intermediate grade break points – check box to insert intermediate grade breaks where the entity crosses surface TIN lines. Elevation points are created at these locations.
    Note: If you leave the box unchecked you will have surface elevations only at feature line’s vertexes.                                                                                    
  7. Click OK, then select the feature line.
  8. The feature line is assigned the elevations of the underlying surface.

Method two – create feature line from objects

  1. Decide where do you want your line to be? It can have any shape and can be open or closed.                                                                                           
  2. Click on Feature line and then Create feature line from objects
  3. AutoCAD will ask you to select an line or polyline. Now we will just select our existing polyline.
  4. Window will pop up, here we will set up our feature line. It will be almost the same as method one.
    – At the top you will see Site, for this exercise you can leave it that way.
    – Then we see Name, it would be unchecked, you can leave it that way too.
    – Next is Layer tab, here I recommend to select an unique layer which will be used only for our feature lines. In the example we will use “C-FTLN-SITE” layer which stands for Civil-Featureline-Site.
    – Lastly you will see Conversion options here we can choose weather to Erase existing object or leave it there, we will erase it. Assign Elevations we will check that box. Weed points we will leave this unchecked for this exercise.
    – You are ready to hit OK.                                                                     
  5. New window will pop up, here you will be asked to Assign Elevations, you have two options to set specific elevation for all vertexes or Assign Elevations From Surface.
    – Since we want Surface elevations you will choose the sufrace from which the elevations will came from. We will use ET (existing terrain).
    Insert Intermediate grade break points – check box to insert intermediate grade breaks where the entity crosses surface TIN lines. Elevation points are created at these locations.
    Note: If you leave the box unchecked you will have surface elevations only at feature line’s vertexes.                                                                                                            
  6. Click OK, the feature line is assigned the elevations of the underlying surface.

Note: Elevations obtained from the surface are not dynamic.

 

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