Beginners AutoCAD Civil 3D Setup for Land Surveyors: Working With AutoCAD Civil 3D Databases-Setting Working Folders

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Civil 3D Help

This Premium Members Post is part of a the Beginners AutoCAD Civil 3D Setup for Land Surveyors series.

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Today, let’s discuss setting Working Folders and working with AutoCAD Civil 3D Databases. This post and video is part of one section of the course, C3D-201 AutoCAD Civil 3D Setup for Land Surveyors, on the Professional Land Surveyor Learning Center. Because that portion of the content from that course fits into this series, I've included it here.

These instructional articles are for Premium Members Only. You can register here »Premium Signup.

In this article, you will learn how to work with the databases used by AutoCAD Civil 3D: Particularly learning how to set the Working folders.

The four databases discussed are:

  • Survey Database
  • Equipment Database
  • Figure Prefix Database
  • Linework Code Sets

Additionally, you'll learn how to set the Working Folder for:

  • Data Shortcuts

What's the Working Folder?

The Working Folder is the term used by AutoCAD Civil 3D for the designated folder to locate and/or create files used by databases. When used to create directories/folders, the Working Folder is the parent folder that the new files and sub-folders get created in.

This is true for Survey Databases. Before working with Survey Databases, you must designate a Working Folder. The selected Survey Database Working Folder then becomes the parent folder containing the Survey Database folders as created. You might use and think of these Survey Database folders as project folders.

For the Figure Prefix Database and Linework Code Set Databases, the term "Working Folder" is not used, but instead, you will navigate to the folder "Path", where their data is stored.

This is a summary from Autodesk of the Survey content folder group folders:

Folder name Contains
Survey Equipment Database Directory Survey Equipment database files. For example, each database can contain a library of equipment by manufacturer.
Survey Figure Database Directory Survey Figure Prefix database files. Each figure prefix database contains line feature naming conventions pertaining to company or third-party standards.
Survey Database Settings Directory SDB_SET files containing settings for the creation of new survey databases. Each file can be a survey database settings template.
Survey Linework Code Sets Directory User-defined linework coding definitions (or conventions), each set pertaining either to company or third-party standards.

System-wide Settings vs. Individual Drawing Settings

As you're finding out, unlike AutoCAD Land Desktop, AutoCAD Civil 3D drawings individually contain most of the program settings. As will be discussed in later lessons, as an example, instead of having a master Description Keys file used by every drawing and project, in AutoCAD Civil 3D, each drawing has its own Description Key file.

Most of the next lessons after this one will cover those individual specific drawing settings. These database settings, however, are a few of the settings that work system-wide across your AutoCAD Civil 3D setup and multiple drawings.

Most of the database settings discussed you will either: 1. Just want to know where the database files are stored, principally to back them up, or 2. Change their locations to suit your needs. Regardless, you likely will set their folder locations once (if not keeping the default locations) and then never again.

The Survey Database Working Folder, however, you might change more often. 99% of the survey projects I work on I use my default Survey Database Working Folder location. But occasionally, I change the Survey Database Working Folder to an individual project folder, where I create sub-Survey Databases for different project stages.

Working With Databases Video

Databases Working Folder Setup:

  1. Set the Survey Database Working Folder.
  2. Review where the Equipment Databases are located, so you know. If needed, change the folder paths to suit your needs using the Survey User Settings dialog.
    1. Modify the default Equipment Database, or create new ones, to match the settings of your equipment.
  3. Review where the Figure Prefix Databases are located, so you know. If needed, change the folder paths to suit your needs using the Survey User Settings dialog.
    1. Modify the default Figure Prefix Database, or create new ones.
    2. Although not covered in this course, and you can do this at a later date, you can edit your Figure Prefix Database as necessary.
  4. Review where the Linework Code Sets Databases are located, so you know. If needed, change the folder paths to suit your needs using the Survey User Settings dialog.
    1. Modify the default Linework Code Sets Database, or create new ones.
    2. Although not covered in this course, and you can do this at a later date, you can edit your Linework Code Sets Database as necessary.

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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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