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

Today’s post on How to create Surface from Blocks in Civil3D is a continuation of a previous post, more particularly, the post on How to Create Surface from Text in Civil3D (Also Assign Elevations to Text!).

As discussed there, we often receive files from other surveyors which are exported and can be very hard to work with. Sometimes, the points are exploded to text, other times, points are Blocks with assigned attributes but lack Elevations. This can be caused by the different software that Surveyors have used, so don’t be too mad at them.

Move Blocks to Attribute Elevation

In the example we are looking at today, we’ve got AutoCAD Blocks with different attributes, one of which is the actual Elevation of the point. This is great, however, under geometry properties, we can see that the assigned object Elevation is 0.00. So in order to create a Surface from these Blocks, we first are going to assign all of their Elevations.

Don’t worry, we are not going to do that manually. To help us move Blocks to the right Elevations Civil3D has a built-in function Move Blocks to Attribute Elevation. Follow the steps below to complete this task:

  1. Isolate all the Blocks that will be used for the creation of a Surface.
  2. After we are left with the Blocks that represent the points and got Elevations in their Attributes 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 Blocks to Attribute Elevation.
  4. A window will pop out, where, under Select block reference name, we select the blocks that represent the points in the survey file. In the example these are SRVPNO5. Under Select Elevation Attribute Tag, we select the tag that contains the Elevation. In the example the tag is ELEV2.
  5. Hit OK and the Elevations will be automatically set!

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

Create surface Using Block Objects.

At this point we just have to create a Surface using our block objects. To do that follow the steps below:

  1. First, create a TIN Surface the usual way on Home Ribbon tab on Surface drop-down menu select Create Surface and create a TIN Surface
  2. Secondly, go to Toolspace under Surfaces expand Your Surface under Definition right-click on Drawing objects and choose Add
  3. A window will pop up, Add Points From Drawing Objects. Under Object Type, from the drop-down menu choose Blocks.
  4. Select the Objects and hit Enter!

That is it! our Surface is now ready!

Hope you find this post useful! You can check our other Civil 3d tips and Tricks!

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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