Civil 3D Survey What's Behind the Curtains by shuifanglj


									Civil 3D® Survey: What’s Behind the Curtains?
    Presenter:        Seth M. Cohen – CAD Applications Specialist
    Company:          CADmanage Resources Inc. (

    CV114-4               Have you ever wondered what is behind survey functionality in Civil 3D 2010? In this
    session, we will discuss the required setup to automate survey functionality in Civil 3D, and how it can help
    reduce the amount of time needed to bring in points, automate linework graphics, and create surfaces. We'll
    look at the critical importance of styles and settings in addition to the survey Toolspace. We will also examine
    some of the methods that can be used to create stakeout points for construction. Come and learn how to
    work smarter with graphic and surface automation.

    About the Speaker:
    Seth Cohen is a CAD applications specialist at CADmanage Resources Inc., specializing in civil engineering
    and CAD applications including Civil 3D®, Map 3D, AutoCAD®, MicroStation®, InRoads®, and Bentley
    Map®. He has conducted many classes for CAD professionals and specializes in providing project startup
    and CAD standards implementation for commercial and government organizations. He has 10+ years of civil
    engineering experience, working in the industry as a CAD technician and CAD manager designing and
    producing production plans for many state departments of transportation (DOTs) and municipalities. Seth is
    also an Autodesk Civil 3D Implementation Expert as well as an Autodesk Level 5 Geospatial Technical

    E-Mail:                                        Civil 3D® Survey: What’s Behind the Curtains?

      Civil 3D 2007 introduced survey functionality. Many of the concepts, functionality, and interface
      components that were in LDT Survey have been incorporated into Civil 3D functionality.
      However, due to the dynamic nature of Civil 3D, there is much more automation that can be
      leveraged to complete projects faster, more accurately, and efficiently. This session will delve
      into all aspects of automation, including the settings and styles required to leverage this

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      Civil 3D Interface (As It Relates To Survey Data)
      The Civil 3D Toolspace is the primary interface for managing drawing data and project data.
      Each tab in the Toolspace contains a tab that displays a hierarchy of organized data. The
      following is a brief description of each tab as it relates to survey data.

      Prospector Tab
      If your drawing contains survey data, such as points or feature styles, they are listed in the
      Prospector tab of the Toolspace.

      Settings Tab
      As with everything in Civil 3D, styles need to be developed,
      and settings need to be defined for all survey related data.
      Styles include point, figure, network, and description key sets,
      which map raw survey descriptions to the appropriate point
      styles, label styles, and many other point-specific parameters.
      The Settings tab is where some of the setup is done related to
      survey functionality. You will learn later that there are several
      other locations you will need to know about, as well.

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      Toolbox Tab
      The Toolbox tab is used for reporting. Reports, such as radially staking out points, are
      accessed from the Toolbox tab. As new versions of Civil 3D are released, reports may be
      added based on user feedback or new functionality.

      Survey Tab
      The Survey tab of the Civil 3D Toolspace is the main user-interface for survey functionality in
      Civil 3D. All survey related data is managed in the Survey tab. All of the collections in the
      Survey tab are accessed external to the Civil 3D drawing from the survey database (described
      later on in this document).

      NOTE: Most survey functionality can be accessed without opening a drawing.

      Opening and Closing the Survey Tab
      To open and close the Survey tab, enter
      OST (Open Survey Toolspace) or CST
      (Close Survey Toolspace) in the command
      line, or issue the same commands from the
      Survey pull-down menu.

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      Ribbon and Menu Bar
      The Ribbon interface has been implemented in Civil 3D 2010 and all the survey tools that were
      previously in the Survey pull-down menu are now included throughout it. These commands
      include opening and closing the Survey Toolspace, as well as, edit settings related to survey
      functionality. If you still would like to use the menu bar you can, simply click on the Quick
      Access Toolbar drop-down and select Show Menu bar from the context menu (see image

                                                                      Various Survey Tools
                                                                       within the Ribbon

                 Survey Pull-down Menu

                                            Turning On the Menu Bar

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      Civil 3D Setup
      The following sections will examine the different categories involved in setting up Civil 3D for
      survey functionality.

      Setting up Points
      One of the first steps to setting up Civil 3D survey functionality is the development of point
      related styles and settings. Point styles automate the placement of symbols that represent
      real-world data, such as manholes, trees and hydrants. A point style must be created for every
      type of point data that you want to display on a topo map. To create point styles, right-click on
      the point styles collection in the Settings tab, and then choose New from the context menu that
      appears. The other component to a point is the label style. Label styles control the display of
      point information such as the northing, easting, elevation and description. To create a point
      label style, right-click on the Point Label Styles collection, and then choose New from the
      context menu that appears.

      Description Key Sets
      Description keys are the means by which raw survey data is linked (any point data for that
      matter) to automate how it comes into Civil 3D. Description keys map any and all point
      parameters including point style, full description, label style, layer scale, and rotate parameters.
      To create a description key set, right-click on the Description Key Sets collection, and then
      choose New from the context menu that appears. Subsequently, to create a description key,
      right-click on the newly created description key set, and then choose Edit Keys from the context
      menu that appears. The available keys appear in the Panorama window. Next, to create a
      description key, right-click on any existing key, and then choose New or Copy from the context
      menu that appears.

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      Linear Features
      There are methods that a surveyor can use to automate linework creation (e.g. EP, Treeline,
      TBC, etc.) when the survey data is brought into Civil 3D. This section examines the settings
      and methods behind this automation.

      Figure Styles
      A figure style controls the display, layers, and 3D geometry of a figure. They are displayed
      under the Survey collection in the Settings tab.

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      Figure Prefix Database (FPD)
      Figure prefixes are the means by which linework is connected to the appropriate figure style
      and layer, as well as, whether or not the figure should be a breakline or a parcel segment.
      Although they are similar to description keys, figure prefixes are not stored in the drawing, but
      rather in a Figure Prefix Database (FPD). When importing the field book file, be sure to select
      the appropriate FPD. To start creating figure prefixes, right-click on the Figure Prefix
      Databases collection in the Survey tab, and then choose New from the context menu that
      appears. Once the new database is created, right click on the new FPD, and then choose Edit
      from the context menu that appears. Individual entries can then be added by right-clicking in
      the Figure Prefixes Editor in the Panorama window, and then choosing New from the context
      menu that appears.

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      Linework Code Set
      Civil 3D 2010 now includes additional functionality to automate linework creation. This
      functionality interprets the field codes entered from surveyors into figures in the survey
      database. The Linework Code sets are displayed in the Toolspace under the Survey tab. The
      linework code sets are stored in a separate file that has an F2f_Xdef extension.

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      Survey Networks
      The last object style is survey network styles. The survey network style instructs Civil 3D how
      to display the different components of a survey network, such as, side shots, direction lines, and
      error ellipses.

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      Collecting Field Data
      Automatic linework is extremely powerful and can save time for the office completing the final
      drawing. However, field crews are the key to this success. If the survey is collected properly,
      then, when imported into Civil 3D, it will automatically draw the survey data with little
      manipulation from the office technician. This automation occurs because of specific line coding
      and field collection techniques that instruct the software to connect the dots automatically.
      Depending on the type of data collector, these codes are entered before or after the raw code.
      In addition to this older functionality, linework can be automated within Civil 3D upon the import
      of the survey data. The Line Coding section below serves as a historical reference to using the
      old fieldbook language, but is no longer required to automate linework.

      Line Coding
      Depending on the data collector (DC) used, you may need to enter a specific command in
      addition to the raw code so that Civil 3D can interpret the points into a line in the software.
      Some DC’s have line work commands already programmed, allowing you to instruct the DC that
      the point being occupied is the beginning of a specific line. The command to begin drawing a
      line is B or BEG. You only need to use this code once per figure. It is also important that you
      place a numeric identifier at the end of the figure name to make it unique (e.g. EP1, EP2, TOP1,
      TOP2). Civil 3D will only draw a line between the points of the same description. If you are
      collecting points in a cross-section method, it is crucial that you code them as EP1, EP2, TBC1,
      TBC2, etc.

      To end the line, simply enter E or END at the end of the figure. You can also use the CONT
      command to continue a figure.

      Some additional line codes that can be used are listed in the table below. These are codes for
      adding curves or closing a figure.

      MCS                   Begins a curve with more than 3 points

      MCE                   Ends a curve with more than 3 points

      CB                    Closes and ends a figure adding a final vertex

      CR                    Closes and ends a figure adding 2 vertices

      For a full list of commands and their parameters, review the file called cmdhelp.ref. This file is
      stored in the C:\Documents and Settings\All Users\Application Data\Autodesk\
      C3D 2009\enu\Survey folder, by default.

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      Some examples of codes are listed below. Again, it depends on the DC as to how the data is
      entered. You may want to test a small project to determine exactly how your DC translates the
      field data into drawing data.

      Example Coding
      TBC1 BEG
      TBC1 END

      EP3 BEG
      EP3 END

      CL1 BEG
      <three consecutive points for the curve (PC, POC, PT)>
      CL1 END


                                                EP1                                    SH2

                                        SH1                                      EP2

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      Linework Code Set
      As mentioned before, Civil 3D 2010 now includes additional functionality to automate linework
      creation, and will work in conjunction with the workflow described above. This functionality
      interprets the field codes entered from surveyors in the data collector into figures in the survey
      database. In addition to the data from a data collector, a user can also create breaklines from
      other data sources. Prior versions of Civil 3D required you to have a field book file (.FBK
      extension) to automate the linework. Civil 3D can now import a Field Book File, LandXML File,
      Point File, or Civil 3D points in the active drawing, and creates the figures automatically using
      the active linework code set and figure prefix database.

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      The linework codeset functionality provides very powerful ways to create linework with minimal
      input from the survey upon collection time. For example, using the following code, you could
      simply locate the TOC (Top Of Curb) and automate the creation of lines that identify the curb
      and gutter, and back of sidewalk. The codes H and V tell Civil 3D to create additional lines
      based on the horizontal and vertical offsets defined in the description. In the Civil 3D Survey
      Toolspace, the additional figures appear as <description>.n, where n is equal to the number

      TOC H.5 V0 H.67 V-.5 H2.0 V-.47 H-5 V.02

                               Only the TOC point is located in the field

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      Survey Database
      The survey database contains all survey-related data. When survey data is imported from the
      field, or manually entered, it is stored in the survey database. If the survey user settings are set
      appropriately, the data will be inserted into the current Civil 3D drawing.

      The survey database has an .SDB extension and has the Microsoft Access® database format.
      Do not modify the database outside of Civil 3D unless you are experienced with Microsoft

      All the data in the .SDB are stored in Meters. All angles are stored in Radians.

      The survey database will also store survey project settings. For example the project’s
      coordinate zone, distance unit, angle unit and direction type. The coordinate zones are the
      same ones that are defined by the Civil 3D Drawing Settings. This functionality enables the
      survey data that is stored in the .SDB to be transformed into the current drawing automatically,
      even if the drawing has a different coordinate zone defined. Civil 3D survey features will also
      interact with the Map 3D tools thereby enabling working with geospatial data at survey grade

                                        Survey database 2010-1111 in Survey

                                                           Survey database data comes from the
                                                           Microsoft Access database

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      Survey User Settings
      The survey user settings control how the current Civil 3D user interacts with the survey features
      in the drawing. To open the Survey User Settings dialog box, simply click the button as shown
      below. The survey user settings are organized into categories and are stored in the current
      user hive of the Windows® registry. To standardize user settings for all users, you can export
      them to a settings file (.SET) that can then be imported to any user’s computer.

      Survey Database Settings
      After a survey database is created, you will be able to modify the survey database settings to
      specify the project specific coordinate zone, distance and angle units, and measurement
      corrections such as scale factor.

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      Survey Database Collections
      Once a survey database is opened, it expands to display the data hierarchy into three root
      collection nodes, Import Events, Networks, Figures, and Survey Points. These root
      collections denote the four survey classes of object data that are created by Civil 3D.

      Import Events Collection
      The Import Events collection displays each of the imports a user has done into the history of
      that are contained in the .SDB.

      To import survey data into a survey database, you use the Import Survey Data wizard. Once
      you import the survey data, an import event is created in the survey database. One of the
      improvements to the survey database from prior versions of Civil 3D is the addition of Import
      Events. The import events functionality not only gives you a record of the imported survey data,
      it allows you to quickly reprocess the survey data if the external survey files or Civil 3D
      settings/styles change.

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      Networks Collection
      The Networks collection displays each of the survey networks that are contained in the .SDB.
      Survey observation management is done at the survey network node. Each network contains
      the components you will use to manage it. These components are control points, non-control
      points, directions, setups, and traverses. To display each of the network’s collections, simply
      click the plus sign to expand it.

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      Figures Collection
      Survey figures are stored and managed in the survey database and can be inserted into any
      drawing from the database. The Figures collection will expand to display each survey figure
      that is in the current survey database.

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      Survey Points Collection
      The Survey Points collection displays all the different point information contained in the survey
      database. The point collection can consist of Control Points, Non-Control Points, Setups,
      and Observations. When the Survey Points collection is selected, the point list is displayed,
      and each point will display an icon that tells you the state of the survey point.

          •        Control Point – Survey points displaying this icon represent control points in a
              survey network.
          •       Non-Control Point – Survey points displaying this icon represent non-control
              points in a survey network.
          •       Setup Point – Survey points displaying this icon represent setups and have not
              been adjusted.
          •      Adjusted Point – Survey points displaying this icon represent points whose
              coordinates are a result of an adjustment, such as a traverse or least squares analysis.
          •     Observation Side Shot Point – Survey points displaying this icon represents side
              shot observations.

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      Survey Database and Drawing Interaction
      Multiple users and multiple drawings can interact with a single survey database.

      Survey Objects
      In a Civil 3D drawing, three types of objects represent data inserted from a survey database:
      Networks, Figures and Points. As with other Civil 3D objects, each survey object has an
      object style to manage its visibility properties in the drawing. When survey data is inserted into
      the current drawing, the Prospector tab of the Civil 3D Toolspace is used to manage and list
      the survey objects contained in the current drawing.

      When a network or traverse is placed into the drawing, a survey network object is created. If a
      network or traverse is inserted into the drawing, a network or traverse icon respectively is
      displayed next to the object in the Prospector tab.

      When a figure is inserted into a drawing from the survey database, a Civil 3D Figure object is

      When a survey point is inserted into a drawing from the survey database, a Civil 3D COGO
      Point is created. This point will have a special attribute that indicates that is was created from
      the survey database. Survey points cannot have their locations and raw descriptions changed
      in the drawing because they are locked and set by the survey database. However, you can still
      change the point style, rotation, or layer, which can be controlled by the description key set
      defined in the active drawing.

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      Inserting and Removing Data from the Drawing
      The Survey tab makes it convenient to insert survey data into the drawing as well as removing
      survey data from the drawing. These operations are done at each of the survey database
      collection nodes, or from a list view.

      Inserting Survey Data into the Drawing
      Inserting survey data into the drawing from the Survey tab can be done two ways, from a right-
      click Insert into Drawing command or, in some cases, a “drag-and-drop” operation. The Insert
      into Drawing command can be performed on a collection, an individual survey data node, or
      from a selection of survey data items in a list view.

      Inserting Survey Data into the Drawing by Drag-and-Drop
      Inserting survey data using the “drag-and-drop” method can be done with some survey features,
      individual survey data, or from a selection of survey data in a list view.

                          NOTE: The “drag-and-drop” method is done by
                          making a selection of survey data and then holding the
                          left-mouse button down, moving or “dragging”, the
                          cursor over to the drawing view, and then releasing
                          the left-mouse button.

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      Removing Survey Data from the Drawing
      Removing survey data from the drawing can be done two ways. You can simply erase the
      object in the drawing, or you can use the Survey tab and issue the Remove from drawing
      command by right-clicking any survey component, and then choosing it from the context menu
      that appears.

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      Zooming, Panning and Browsing Survey Data
      All survey data within a survey database has the right-click
      Zoom To and Pan To commands. These commands are
      available on the collections, an individually selected survey
      data item, or a selection of survey data items in the list view.

      Zooming to Data
      When the Zoom To command is executed, the extents of the
      survey data that you have selected are zoomed to in the
      drawing. When the Pan To command is selected, the center of
      the selected survey data is calculated and panned to in the
      current drawing.

      Browsing to Survey Data
      When survey data is in the drawing you can browse back to the
      data in the survey database. Simply select the survey objects
      in the drawing, right-click in and select Browse to survey data
      from the context menu. Or, after selecting the object access
      the available figure commands in the context sensitive ribbon.

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      Updating Survey Data in the Drawing from the .SDB
      To update survey data in the drawing, you can simply use the same insertion methods
      mentioned before. When inserting the new or updated survey data, the old data in the drawing
      will get deleted and the new data will then be placed into the drawing.

      Updating the .SDB from Survey Data in the Drawing
      To update the survey database from survey objects in the drawing, select the updated graphics
      in the drawing, right-click and select Update survey data from drawing from the context menu.
      The survey database will update. If you want to have a backup of revisions that you make in the
      drawing, you can export the entire network to another fieldbook file and rename it with an
      appropriate revision naming convention.

                                                         Edited Figure

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      Survey Toolspace Revisited
      The Survey tab provides a flexible and consistent interface for viewing and managing all survey
      data within a survey database.

      Properties List
      A properties list is displayed when a survey item is selected the Survey tab (see image below).
      Two columns display, Property and Value. The list will display the same information as the
      Properties dialog box that is displayed when the right-click Properties command is issued.

      When you make changes to the properties list, the survey items will display in bold. This
      indicates that you have made modifications to the item, and you will need to Save and Reload
      the data to update the survey database.

      Properties are available for the following items: control points, non-control point, direction,
      setup, traverse, and figures.

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      Item List Views
      When an item collection is selected, an item list view is displayed in the Survey tab. This list
      view displays all of the data within a selected collection. List views are useful for editing multiple

      Survey editors can be opened from most collections within the survey database. To open an
      editor, right-click the collection, and then choose Edit from the context menu that appears. The
      editor is then displayed as a tab in the Panorama window.

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      Creating a Surface from Survey Data
      Surface creation can be automated and take only minutes when you have setup Civil 3D
      properly. Use the following procedure to create an existing TOPO surface:

          1. Insert the survey points into the drawing from the survey database.
          2. Create a point group that will only contain the existing points that should be used for
             surface creation.
          3. Create an existing surface with the appropriate surface style associated to it.
          4. In the Surfaces definition node, right-click on the Point Group category, and then add
             the point group created in step 2.
          5. Right-click on the Figures collection in the Survey Toolspace, and then choose Create
             Breaklines from the context menu that appears. Toggle the breaklines you want to add
             to the existing surface on or off.

              NOTE: The breaklines will take on the toggle setting that is defined in the active Figure
              Prefix Database (FPD).

          6. Add an outer boundary to the surface.

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      Getting Stakeout Points for Construction
      Once a proposed design has been completed, the project will shift back to survey to be staked
      out in the field. Civil 3D provides several tools to help generate points along the proposed
      design and create stakeout reports for field crews. In addition to Civil 3D, refer to the Third
      Party Apps and Plug-Ins section in this document for additional stakeout tools.

      Once stakeout points have been generated, radial stakeout reports can be generated from the
      Reports Manager found in the Toolbox, noted above. To start the routine, simply right-click on
      the Radial_Stakeout XSL style sheet, and then choose Execute from the context menu that

      After inputting the required occupied and backsight points, as well as, the stakeout points, the
      stakeout report is displayed similar to the figure below. Since this report is XML based, the
      layout can be customized to include point descriptions, company logo, etc.

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      Staking Out the Corridor
      If you need to stakeout points from a roadway, you can use the Points from Corridor
      command. To get to the command, select the corridor you want to create points from and the
      ribbon will update with a context sensitive ribbon tab that contains commands specific to the
      corridor object you just selected. The Points from Corridor command is available from the
      Launch Pad panel after clicking the More Commands drop-down. You are then prompted to
      select the point codes from which to create points, and the point group in which to place them.
      Once the points are created, you can export the point group to a .CSV file, which can then be
      uploaded into a data collector.

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      Third Party Apps and Plug-Ins
      Trimble Link, Leica X-Change and Carlson Connect are three plug-ins that can be downloaded
      free of charge. These extensions allow you to communicate directly with data collectors from
      within Civil 3D. In many cases, you can upload and download directly to these collectors and
      skip having to use software such as TGO (Trimble Geomatics Office) and LGO (Leica Geo

      Trimble Link
      Civil 3D 2009
      Civil 3D 2010

                                           Civil 3D 2010 Trimble Plug-In

      AutoCAD Civil 3D Importer for Trimble Business Center - HCE
      (From the website) “The AutoCAD Civil 3D Importer utility offers a fully automated data
      exchange solution that enables the direct import of Civil 3D model data into the Trimble
      Business Center - Heavy Construction Edition software. The utility extends the capabilities of
      Trimble Business Center - HCE to read intelligent Civil 3D model elements such as alignments,
      profiles, COGO points, and roadway corridor models. The result is a more streamlined process
      that helps construction professionals use civil BIM data for construction data preparation, and
      for site positioning and grade control operations.

      To download the Civil 3D Importer for Trimble Business Center, go to the following link. Note, it
      is compiled into four downloads.

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      Leica X-Change

      **as of this writing there is no plug-in for Civil 3D 2010.

      Survey Link
      For all other data collectors, you can use Survey Link to communicate with the collector and
      convert to the .FBK file format. This application is the same Survey Link that was used in LDT,
      and is now available for Civil 3D. You must manually add the Survey Link functionality when
      Civil 3D is installed. The Survey Link command will then be available from the Survey pull-
      down menu.

      Sincpac - Extensions for Civil3D
      This suite of tools helps extend the functionality of Civil 3D from a surveyor’s perspective.
      Some of the available tools are listed below (quoted from the website):

      Creates cogo points at the corners of all parcels in one or more Sites. Uses the Next Point
      Number from the Point Settings when creating the points.

      Creates graded offset points along elevated feature lines. Particularly useful for calculating
      stakeout points for things like curb and gutter in parking lots. There are a number of options to
      this routine. Points can be set at even stations along the feature line, or at evenly-spaced
      intervals along each segment. Only works on Feature Lines. Points are automatically coded
      with tags like PC, PCC, GB, etc., which improves clarity and helps produce better staking

      For a complete list of available tools, you can download them at the link below.

      Civil 3D provides an entire suite of tools that allows surveyors to function in their everyday
      tasks. Whether translating field collected data into topo maps, or calculating stakeout points on
      a proposed design, Civil 3D provides tools to get the job done easier and faster.


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