I was given the opportunity to join in on the Civil 3D Blogger Day event that followed the big unveiling webcast March 25th.  I flipped from one to the other, fairly excited since I was trying to juggle clients, coworkers, and webcasts through the afternoon.  I really didn’t want to miss anything.

We saw so many amazing things in the big unveiling, how could this get better?  Well, it’s not that there were huge ticket fireworks like additions, but there were plenty of things that I (and I suspect most of us) desperately wanted.

Point Clouds

The most obvious thing was Point Clouds added to AutoCAD 2011.  No longer a Subscription Advantage Pack only object, the capability to manage 2 billion points and use them as a basis of a surface is quite nice.  Makes me want to get a laser scanner.  I’m still begging for a better phone to Tweet with…Twitter or Laser scanner…mmm.



This is where most of the enhancements were added, so I was a bit frustrated being stuck with a client on my mobile phone in one ear, a coworker detailing some issue, and Dana on speakerphone going over Enhanced Super-elevation manipulation.  Fortunately I was able to see most of the details, acknowledging how awesome it was to make adjustments to the Super-elevations in a profile view interface that was dragable.  Ok, the changes are looking really good, you all in my office ‘got to go’.

I just got full faculties back on target in time to hear her say something about match  properties.  NOOO….She didn’t.  I sent out a question, “Did she just say Match Region Properties?”  The response was “yes”.  Dear Lord Hallelujah, my dreams have finally come true.  Well, not ALL my dreams, but a good sized chunk.  Unless Jessica Biel will be my escort in Oregon in April, then I still have a few dreams left (I wonder if Autodesk could arrange that?).

Did you know you can now edit and update individual regions without having to update the entire corridor model?  When you have 5 miles of roadway, this should really pick things up a bit.  The ribbon received a few additions that make sense like ‘Update Corridor’ for example.


  I do like a good Ribbon layout.



This is another AutoCAD item, but has a really good use in Civil 3D, considering all the overlays we do.  Now we can add adjustable transparency to individual layers and objects.   The stuff I have had to do to get a similar result….Transparency will get used by everyone.

DGN support

Dana was able to get a DGN file imported easily, no fuss.  Then she copied the entities into the drawing and threw them into a pipe network.

Pipe Networks

That’s when I thought to my self, “yeah, now she’s gotta move the network cause of the ‘centerline’ reference in object created networks”. Then a dialog popped up with 5 different reference options.  You can pick flowline, top of pipe, whatever.  I laughed out loud.   That is so cool.


Then she showed us how to join 2 networks together, and snap one into two, all without destroying the data.  Just start the command and tell it where to do the job.  Nice and clean. I have some Data Reference strategies that will welcome this.


I don’t think any of these pipe enhancements are quite as cool as ‘Project Objects to Multiple Section Views’.  This is a very welcome feature.  Anyone who has added Pipe Networks after creating Section views will appreciate this.


Sure, the changes in Civil 3D are not really additions, but enhancements.  For the first time in a while, it’s like they had someone over my shoulder, listening to what I say and taking notes as I work.

64 Bit and memory management changes should help out some of those wild surfaces.  All year long we hear “I wish they’d just fix this”, and so they delivered.  These enhancements are really great, and are worth the upgrade.  I’m looking forward to 64 Bit on a couple more Gigs of Ram.  I guess that too will come before my laser scanner.