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Susan Smith
Susan Smith
Susan Smith has worked as an editor and writer in the technology industry for over 16 years. As an editor she has been responsible for the launch of a number of technology trade publications, both in print and online. Currently, Susan is the Editor of GISCafe and AECCafe, as well as those sites’ … More »

New Features of Autodesk’s Civil 3D and InfraWorks

May 3rd, 2018 by Susan Smith

Autodesk holds some informative webcasts for the civil community entitled “Civil Community Webcasts.” One recent one was entitled “What’s New in Civil 3D and InfraWorks.”

Bay Bridge East Span Seismic Safety Project
To prove the project was viable, the California Department of Transportation shared detailed 3D designs with potential contracting firms.

Eric Chappell, Civil Community Evangelist for Autodesk, hosted this webinar with Dan Philbrick, director of Civil Infrastructure Products, Dave Simeone, Civil 3D project manager, and Sarah Cunningham, InfraWorks product manager.

Chappell recommends the InfraWorks tool for doing preliminary design and decisions. “This year we’re focusing on continuing to drive detailed design in both InfraWorks and the platform for BIM.”

The use of Civil 3D with or without InfraWorks is valuable and both are in the same civil collection.

What’s new in InfraWorks 2018.0

Sarah Cunningham noted that they changed the name of the product and took “360” out of the name.

An InfraWorks Customer Council meets with Autodesk once a month. “They tell us about challenges,” said Cunningham. “They bounce ideas off one another. Many people aren’t sure how to implement InfraWorks yet. This group has been able to talk about how they’re using it. We’re starting to hear some interesting things: 1. Continues to be used for road and highway design 2. CAD managers are hearing from designers that they want more engineering data from the InfraWorks model, increasing in frequency. They want it to be more than a pretty picture in visualization, more toward engineering design. The Corridor project in Norway, winner of the Infrastructure in Excellence Awards 2016, was about planning a corridor and using InfraWorks for large scale planning projects. They want to use InfraWorks for more preliminary design now that planning phase is done.”

Adding to roadway design is bridge design. There has been an emphasis on building in more data to the road models in InfraWorks so you can get more information out of the model. You can also get notification from the model when geometry violates design rules.

Project Chameleon, which is bridge modeling, was on Autodesk Labs and became a feature. The feature models parametric bridge components. Creating a custom part, you can use Inventor or LT, any part you want with any parametric relationship you want. After you have it as you want, you can export as a template, that is different from PartBuilder.

You can change how parameters are displayed in InfraWorks. They can put groups of parameters together, can customize tool tips, and you can apply edit to all other like models. You can export to another InfraWorks model to separate files.

You can send the design to Revit where you can continue to design, but you can’t create parts there.

Material Quantities – Prior focus was on extracting earthwork quantities, but now materials that components use has been added, such as the amount of pavement needed to construct what you’ve mapped, for lights, guardrails, road decorations, etc. also on quantities panel as well.

Usability enhancements – Some of the labels are easier to read on disabled fields. When fields are not editable they are a little hard to read, so Autodesk made labels bolder and details stand out more.

Roadside grading in the January release allows you to create grading zones to create specific criteria for a limit. The grid has been changed so it’s easier to control and manipulate.

Simplified tree – If you go to view settings, some customers have in the past found that visualization of trees can perform poorly. Trees are most complicated to render well. The team created a notion of a simplified tree, that takes the characteristics of a tree that lets you identify its species. It renders more reliably and quickly.

Quantities allows you to define an area and allow you to see quantities within that particular zone.

Modeling The team is working on geometric layout that will allow you to design on and offramps more easily. Parametric layout, the ability to bring in a pier created in Inventor, to be able to create anything in Inventor, with all those relationships, modify UI, modify tooltips, for basically anything, not just bridge components.

Customers are using drones and scanning as a bigger part of their workflows. Many customers have scanning data they want to incorporate into their work. You can create an InfraWorks stream from a point cloud, continuing the functionality, also extract 3D lines from point clouds in Scan-to-BIM design.

Dave Simeone talked about Civil 3D’s capabilities and general quality. It can be accessed via Autodesk Desktop app,

  • All language available
  • Extensions and Country Kits in progress
  • Videos that demonstrate new functionality – Adskinfrastructure channel

Improvements in these areas

  • Engineering efficiency
  • Additional control as you’re modeling
  • Improved modeling and analysis of drainage and pressure pipes.
  • Improved sheet production

Collaboration efficiency – between Civil 3D and InfraWorks, Civli 3D and Revit, InfraWorks and Revit.

If you have a feature line that is relative to a surface, if you want to make a macro level change you can do so and it will extend.

If you are creating offset profiles, you can offset and automatically superimpose offset profile onto baseline, add station specific modifications to offset/slope.

Connected Alignments

  • Create new alignment that connects two alignments
  • ability to lock geometry at connections (horizontal and vertical)

Multiple Dynamic baselines in a corridor

  • being able to progressively build out a corridor using strengths
  • create Dynamic Extracted Corridor Feature lines to use a baseline in the same corridor
  • increased flexibility when building Complex Corridors

Production Efficiency

  • Move cross section views and manual text moves with the view
  • Create additional cross section views and quickly add them to an existing Section View Group.

A Section View Drafting Buffer is an area around the section view, CAD or text, that is glued into that section, and all that drafting will move to new section view as you want.

Create Plan/Plan and Profile/Profile Sheets

Improved plan production tools show you create Plan/Plan and Profile/Profile sheets. You can have multiple plans and profiles.

Within Civil 3D, the team has added a new ribbon tab focused on giving a more streamlined ability to have dual product workflow.

All the tools related to moving data back and forth between two products will be more seamless.

  • Improved interoperability
  • Launch InfraWorks directly from inside Civil 3D
  • Improved interoperability between Civil 3D and 3ds Max
  • Have improved export to 3ds Max

On the Revit side, there is the ability to underlay a NWC file, so you can have a Civil 3D file and save it as an NWC and import it into Revit.

Civil 3D 2017 v1 improvements

The new release includes property set values in object labels, analysis gravity networks, swap pressure network parts.

This is an ongoing process. Civil 3D 2018 is shipping but is viewed as an ongoing platform, ongoing improvements will be done low on disruption, high on value.

A lot of research is going into road rehab and resurfacing. There is lots of discussion on the web page Q and A related to what happened with the former Chameleon workflow, and Autodesk is hoping to get into production mode with that.

Other improvements include: Geometry and layout modeling improvements, how you add those blocks, points and future lines in sections and profiles, trying to simplify that workflow, improvements in delivery of management of styles and templates.

On the collaboration side improvements include workflow, simplifying process and moving data to and from InfraWorks. BIM 360 is more supported directly by Civil 3D infrastructure workflows.

Simeone said in the new release, you can more readily exchange data with others in the industry, in data formats that you work with in your work.

Backward compatibility

In 2018, AutoCAD has a new DWG 2018, which means that it can’t be opened in a prior version. “For Civil 3D, we have specific objects. Our strategy is to be in lockstep with Autodesk,” said Simeone.  “2018 will have to export to AutoCAD’s prior version if you want that object to show up in prior versions. We don’t intend to hold the old format, but we have to implement new changes that are disruptive that we can’t provide any other way.”

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Categories: 2D, 3D, AEC, AECCafe, apps, architecture, AutoCAD, Autodesk, BIM, building information modeling, Civil 3D, civil information modeling, Cloud, collaboration, construction, construction project management, engineering, field solutions, file sharing, IFC, infrastructure, lidar, reality capture, rendering, site planning, sustainable design, terrain, traffic simulation, virtual reality, visualization

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