AutoCAD Civil 3D Surveying Topics-What to do Before Creating a New Description Key Set

AutoCAD Civil 3D Surveying Topics

AutoCAD Civil 3D Surveying Topics

In today's AutoCAD Civil 3D Surveying Topics, I'd like to discuss what to do before creating a Description Key Set. This is the first in a series of Premium Posts about description keys. I'll start here with what to do before creating a new Description Key Set, then move on to how to setup Description Key Sets, and finally, how to use Description Keys in your everyday land surveying using AutoCAD Civil 3D.

I first embarked on setting up my first Description Key Sets when AutoCAD Civil 3D first came out, several years back, and recently prepared my first AutoCAD Civil 3D template, AutoCAD C3D Survey Essential Template Framework, but I was surprised at how much I'd forgotten from that first experience. You see, this past week I've been helping out a Premium Member who is setting up his first AutoCAD Civil 3D template, and it brought back all of the pitfalls and mistakes I made in creating my own first template.

I'd like to help you have an easier time setting up, or fixing, your Description Key Sets. Of course, you could go over to the Store and purchase the AutoCAD C3D Survey Essential Template Framework or if you're a Premium Member it's one or your free downloads, but you'll at least have to think about the following steps to make any template meaningful and useful to you and your land surveying firm.

What to do Before Creating a New Description Key Set:

  1. Develop a complete list of your field codes. Be comprehensive, even if a few field codes are rarely used, and make sure that each field code is unique.
  2. Organize and filter your field codes into feature types. For instance: Existing, proposed, monuments found, monuments set, utilities, topographic, hardscape surfaces such as roads and walks, vegetation, etc.
  3. Make or find appropriate blocks for Markers to be used to represent points in your AutoCAD Civil 3D drawing. There are many blocks that come preloaded with AutoCAD Civil 3D that you can select from. If you are creating your own, it's best to draw them at 1 to 1 scale  and you might want to keep the objects you use to create your block/future marker on layer zero.
  4. Make a working plan on how you prefer to depict and label your points, both initially, like in the early "worksheet" stages of a project, and also as you would label points in your final "plan" drawings.
  5. Create Point Styles aligned to your field codes for Point Marker display, size, location, rotation, layers, etc., and organized by feature types.
  6. Create Point Label Styles for how you want to display point labels, text size, rotation, layers, etc., and consider creating two Point Label Styles for each point classification; one for your "worksheet" point labeling needs and another for your final "plan" point labeling.

With the above items completed and organized, then you can go ahead and create your Description Key Sets with confidence that they will be organized, comprehensive and complete. You'll also save yourself a lot of heartburn by not having to go back and forth, as much, between creating and modifying styles and codes on the fly.

While this all takes a lot of work, that's why I created the AutoCAD C3D Survey Essential Template Framework for you to get started, the goal is to only do this once, and then save your Description Key Set in your company template file for future and regular use.

This Professional Land Surveyor AutoCAD Civil 3D Surveying Topics has been brought to you by Eric Colburn, PLS, Professional Land Surveyor Revivalist & Adviser.

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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2 comments on “AutoCAD Civil 3D Surveying Topics-What to do Before Creating a New Description Key Set
  1. The last place I worked used number codes instead of alpha-numeric codes. What do you think?

    • EricColburn says:

      While I’ve never used a strictly number code system, I do know that it’s done and for some it could be effective. Years ago I attended a seminar on field-to-finish, where the presenter preferred to use number codes over alpha codes. He claimed it was easier to remember and offered greater flexibility. It was nice in that you could group related sets of codes together via the first two to three codes in a sequence, but I didn’t think it was very easy to remember the codes. However, his list of numeric codes was extraordinarily complete, setup for the greatest possibility of codes known to man. Maybe for a more limited and simpler set of number codes it may be easier to remember. What do you think?

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