5 Nice Features of AutoCAD Civil 3D 2010 Parcels


AutoCAD Civil 3D Parcels

AutoCAD Civil 3D Parcels

5 Nice Features of AutoCAD Civil 3D 2010 Parcels

I was recently working on converting an older AutoCAD drawing to an AutoCAD Civil 3D 2010 drawing in order to modify a parcel and add a few new parcels to it. Also recently, I’ve been writing a soon to be released article about whether or not AutoCAD Civil 3D is a good tool for land surveyors. Having both things on my mind, the big picture and the one Parcels feature set of the software, gave me the idea for this article.

As I focused on using the features of AutoCAD Civil 3D 2010 Parcels I realized that there are some very nice features built into this part of the software. Using the Parcels functions and feature set in AutoCAD Civil 3D, for any release, is probably one of the most used functions of AutoCAD Civil 3D. Parcels in AutoCAD Civil 3D give the professional land surveyor powerful tools they can use every day in their land surveying businesses, while not being too much of a burden to setup.

One of the biggest concerns I hear from users of AutoCAD Civil 3D is how laborious and complex it is to setup AutoCAD Civil 3D. It is true that AutoCAD Civil 3D can take an enormous amount of upfront time to get setup and organized. This is expected with a software package designed to be standards oriented. In fact, standards based setup and design is one of the most powerful aspects of AutoCAD Civil 3D.

There are other components of AutoCAD Civil 3D, like points for instance, where setting up of standards (styles) is too complex and inelegant. Parcels are another matter, I think. With Parcels, there certainly are several styles to be setup beforehand, but most are straightforward, more intuitive and understandable. Parcels and all the Parcel Styles make for a workable uniform standards based work process, work flow and output. This is one area where the implementation of the standards you setup in your Parcel Styles will automate your processes, saving you time and making your land surveying business more profitable.

Anyway, on to the 5 Nice Features of AutoCAD Civil 3D 2010 Parcels (in addition to standards implementation and automation, which is nothing to sneeze at):

  1. Sites:
    • Sites are used as containers for parcel objects and are a versatile way to group your parcels together keeping unlike groups of parcels from interacting. You can keep one site for surveyed parcels, one site for easements, and another for unconventional uses of parcels, like for buildings and wetland areas (see item 4, below, where this comes in handy), for example.

      AutoCAD Civil 3D Parcels Sites

      AutoCAD Civil 3D Parcels Sites

  2. Parcel Creation and Layout Tools:
    • The Parcel Layout Tools interface provides a wide range of tools to create and edit parcels. These tools are very handy for creating subdivision schemes on the fly, if you will. I do think that the Parcel Layout Tools interface, and the tools included, could use some small improvements to make parcel creation and editing more easy and understandable for the user, particularly new users. But once you become accustomed to using Parcels in AutoCAD Civil 3D you will soon be right at home using these Parcel Layout Tools.


      AutoCAD Civil 3D Parcel Layout Tools

      AutoCAD Civil 3D Parcel Layout Tools

    • Most of the time you’ve already drawn objects that represent the surveyed boundaries and therefore you can use Create Parcels from Objects (see image below) to select the lines, curves and polylines that make up your parcels. Using the Create Parcels from Objects command you can then easily create AutoCAD Civil 3D Parcels assigning in one step the correct: Site, Parcel Style, Parcel Layer, Parcel Segment Layer, Area Label Style, Line Segment Label Style, and Curve Segment Label Style. You can also choose to Automatically Add Segment Labels (see item 3, below) and whether or not to Erase Existing Entities.


      AutoCAD Civil 3D Create Parcels From Objects

      AutoCAD Civil 3D Create Parcels From Objects

  3. Automatic Labeling:
    • Automatic Labeling (see above image) is a huge time saver and error reducer, by allowing all of the Parcel Segments (lines and curves) to be labeled all at once when creating a parcel, or parcels. I should have noted this above, too, because if you have many parcels to create, using the Create Parcels from Objects and selecting the Automatically Add Segment Labels checkbox, will allow you to create and label all of your parcels in one step, including: Parcel Style, Parcel Name (you may need to edit them later to suit your needs), parcel area, and dimension all of your lines and curves. With the Automatically Add Segment Labels checkbox selected you can be sure that all of the parcel segments will be dimensioned, reducing the chance that a course on your survey plan is missing a dimension (I say reducing, because a label could always later be accidentally erased). This was often an issue in the past, particularly with shorter line segments which could easily be missed with manual line labeling.
  4. Parcel Area Fill:
    • Easy hatching for Parcels – Wow I love that! Simply edit your Parcel Style to select the Fill Pattern and how much of your parcel to fill in, hit apply and your done. Simple as that. Need to later revise the look of how your parcels are hatched, follow the same steps, and this will revise all of your parcels at once. Another use of Parcel Area Fill is if you created parcels for your surveyed buildings, wetlands or other closed features using Parcels, making sure they're on unique Sites, and then apply the correct Fill Pattern and you’ve hatched these items simply and uniformly. You can also apply a Solid Fill to Parcels.
      AutoCAD Civil 3D Parcel Style Pattern Fill

      AutoCAD Civil 3D Parcel Style Pattern Fill

      AutoCAD Civil 3D Parcel Style Display Settings

      AutoCAD Civil 3D Parcel Style Display Settings

  5. Parcel Analysis:
    • This is a handy tool to verify the precision of closure for a parcel. You can do an Inverse Analysis or a Mapcheck Analysis, the former displays the courses (with coordinates), perimeter and area, whereas the latter does all of that too and provides additional analysis such as Error Closure, Error North, Error East and Precision. You can also choose to Enable Mapcheck Across Chord, select the Point Of Beginning and Process Segment Order Counter Clockwise. Here are three examples of what you can do with the Parcel Analysis report in your land surveying business: Export the Parcel Analysis to your project file for backup documentation, print it out to map check your final survey plans, and cut and paste the Parcel Analysis into your word processing software to write a legal description. In using the Parcel Analysis data to write a legal description you will have to eliminate some text, and obviously add to it, but the geometry will be there and not subject to data entry errors.


      AutoCAD Civil 3D Parcel Analysis

      AutoCAD Civil 3D Parcel Analysis

So there you have it, 5 Nice Features of AutoCAD Civil 3D 2010 Parcels. Using Parcels in AutoCAD Civil 3D is a great way to speed up your work flow, automate your processes, standardize your output and reduce errors.

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Eric D. Colburn, PLS, "The Geo-Business Innovator", helps geo-professionals improve through innovative solutions, mastery of marketing and business growth strategies, and coaching/training. Eric is a successful, serial entrepreneur, podcaster, industry writer, product development consultant, and RI licensed professional land surveyor.

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4 comments on “5 Nice Features of AutoCAD Civil 3D 2010 Parcels
  1. wade hammond says:

    be careful with parcels and feature lines

    I draw a nonplot (color 250) feature line for my Sewers
    so I can use a note label for FL elevations

    when one of these lines crosses a parcel and they are on the same site
    it messes with the parcel label.

    I never really looked at the parcel line label and it was off by 6′ in distance because this is where the feature line crossed it.

    from now on I keep my feature lines on a different site from my parcels
    (I do surveying only – no grading or design)

    • Profile photo of admin admin says:

      That’s such a good point! I remember the first time this happened to me. I too noticed it with a parcel line dimension that did not dimension the entire line due to a crossing feature line. Your spot on in keeping your parcels on another site from your grading sites for boundary plans.

      I’ll create a post on this, as it’s so important and those who don’t understand what Civil 3D is doing may unknowingly be incorrectly dimensioning their parcel lines.

  2. Tim Higbie says:

    Have you, or anyone you know, customized the xml output for a parcels? I know we all like to write descriptions certain ways and I’m interested in making output closer to the written description (i.e. N changed to North and symbols to written degrees minutes seconds). Just wondering if it is easy to do.

  3. Profile photo of admin admin says:

    Hi Tim,

    I do not know how to do this. There are, however, parcel reports in the Reports Manager (Toolbox Tab) that I think can be customized.

    There are also several programs out there that will take the parcel closure report and re-format it into a written legal description. I can’t think of the one I tested out a few years ago, but I liked it and it was very customizable, too.

    I often will copy the parcel closure report and past it into Word. Then I’ll do a find and replace to re-format it to my needs. For shorter legal descriptions this can be done fairly quickly, if not elegantly.

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