Thursday, July 31, 2014

Civil Structures 2015

Using these  Bridge Modeling Autodesk® Revit® Extensions, you can generate bridges based on user-defined criteria.
Users can define basic parameters of the geometry of a bridge including: a road profile, a deck, abutments, piers and railings.
The road profile may also be imported from a LandXML format file.
The bridge is generated based on user-defined families that are provided with these Revit Extensions.

Tuesday, July 29, 2014


   General Considerations
Decisions made when sharing a project and setting up its Worksets can have long-lasting effects on the project team. AutoCAD users will recognize some of these implications from setting up xref structures for projects. In general, when setting up Worksets you should take several considerations into account:
1. Project size
2. Team size
3. Team member roles
4. Default Workset visibility
Establishing practical policies on how all team members access and create new Worksets in the project will maintain performance for existing users and ease the process of introducing new team members to the project.

Project size: The size of your building may affect the way you decide to segment the Worksets for your team. Unlike AutoCAD xrefs, you don’t need to make separate Worksets for each floor of the building. You will want to separate the project into Worksets that allow team members to work without interfering with each other. In a multistory structure you may want to create separate Worksets for a set of building elements that will only appear on one floor, such as a tenant interior. If the project’s floor plate is large enough that you will need to split it with match lines to fit it on sheets, you may want to consider creating separate Worksets for each portion.

Team size: The size of the team at the time you enable project sharing will affect how you structure the project’s Worksets. You should have at least one Workset for each person, not including the Project Standards, Shared Levels and Grids, and View Worksets. Autodesk Revit projects are designed to allow a single designer to work up a concept, and then share the file to add members to the team. As more people join the team to finish the detailing and documentation, you can create new Worksets for their use.

·         Think of Worksets as Containers:  Worksets are not the same as layers in CAD.  Try to think of them as containers for major systems in your building (interior, exterior, roof, core elements, etc…)  You really need to manage only the stuff that belongs to user-created worksets:
o   Datums (levels and grids)
o   Geometry (building elements that show up in multiple views)
o   Rooms (the spaces that can be tagged)

·         How Many Worksets do I need?  A good rule of thumb is that you should have one or two worksets for every person working on the project. (besides shared levels and grids, and workset 1)  Once you have 6 to 8 people on a project in Revit, the performance begins to slow. 
·         Be Mindful of the Active Workset: As you are creating Datum, Geometry, or Rooms, be mindful of the active workset.  And keep in mind that Revit Architecture manages the worksets for everything else (views, Families, and project standards.)

·         Associate Linked Files to their own Workset:  By doing this you can open and close the worksets associated to those links.  This strategy is much more predictable than loading and unloading links (which will have an effect on everyone working on the project.)  Opening or closing a workset only affects the time of a single user.
·         Stay out of the Central File:  Do not move it, and do not rename it (unless you are very familiar with Revit.)  Opening the central file restricts access by the files that are trying to connect to it.  And if you break something in the central file, you will break the connections that others have from their local copies.

·         Network Connectivity is Important: The gigabit threshold should be maintained at all stages of the network, including:
o   Workstation - each workstation should have at least a gigbit ethernet card. This can be checked by going to My Computer>Properties>Hardware>Device Manager.

·         Central File – The Central File coordinates and propagates the changes of each user and keeps track of which worksets, and elements are available. It acts as the distribution point for information about worksets and for changes to the project building model.  The central file will be saved somewhere on the network accessible to all users.

·         Save to Central – The only time it is necessary to save locally is when you are about to close the file or exit Revit. When the Save to Central dialog comes up as part of closing the file (or exiting Revit), the local save button is checked. In this situation you definitely do want to save to your local file after saving to central (otherwise the local file will be invalid). Actually Save to Central always synchronizes the local file with the central file, whether you check the "save local file" checkbox or not. It does that in memory, affecting what you see on the screen, so you'll immediately see the changes other people have saved to central. The "save local file" checkbox just controls whether the result is immediately saved to your local disk drive. There is generally no need to save the file to disk locally right after a save to central unless you are about to close the file. Always save local before closing the file, otherwise it will become incompatible with the central file.

·         Central File Fixes – Options for trying to fix problems with getting to central file.
o   Copy the central file to the local hard drive and rename the file.
o   Use the last good local file to ‘Save to Central’ with a different name.
o   As a last result you may need to use the Backup. Refer to the Help section on "Rolling Back Workshared Projects" for detailed information on this process.

·         Detach from Central – Occasionally it may be desired to create a new central file based upon an existing central file. There are two methodologies of accomplishing this:
o   Access the Open command and browse to the central file on the network. Pick the Detach from Central check box at the bottom of the dialog box. After the drawing is open, perform a save as to create a new central file.
o   Open either the central file or a synced local file - then go to File>>Save As>>Options>> then pick the Make this a Central File after save check box. Be sure to save the new central file to another location or with a different name.

·         Audit – Open the central file and check the Audit option, then re-save and compact the file. If this is done on a regular basis (weekly is the ideal recommendation), file size is reduced and speed is increased. To perform an Audit, when opening the central file select the Audit check box at the bottom of the Open dialog box. This will display a warning that indicates that auditing a file may take a while and that you should use this process on large files to aid in better performance and prior to upgrading the file to a new release of Revit.

·         Compact File – Compacting the file should result in the file being slightly faster to open and save. The only reason the file isn't compacted on every save is that compacting itself takes time. Think of compacting the file as being like cleaning up your office: after you clean it up it’s faster to find things, but you wouldn't want to clean it up every time you put something down -- instead just clean it up once in a while when it gets cluttered. To compact a project file. In the Save as Central dialog box, select the Compact Central File (slow) check box. As a suggestion it is recommended that you compact the database once a week to have the best performance when working on the file.

·         Templates – You cannot initiate worksharing/worksets in a template file. Once a new project has been started from a template worksharing may be entered.

·         Workset Organization - Suggestions for common workset organizational principles.
o   Links - make a workset or worksets to contain links so that the project can be opened more easily using the selective open tool. You may want a link for Structure, MEP, and CAD details, for example.
o   Shell vs Core - in larger projects this can provide a logical way of making the project more manageable.
o   Furniture - NIC objects like furniture might also be a good candidate for a separate workset.
o   Groups + Worksets – It is best to place all items of a group within a workset.

·         Active Workset – The Active workset is the workset in which newly created model geometry will be placed. It is the one displayed in the Workset toolbar. It is unrelated to whether the workset is editable or not (you can put new elements onto non-editable worksets). To make sure that non-editable elements can't be selected, you must check the "Editable Only" checkbox on the option bar. The “Editable Only” check box will only stay unchecked until the next time you enter the Modify tool. This encourages a workflow in which things are made editable automatically as you modify them. This makes most work more convenient, but decreases the usefulness of worksets as a way to restrict what you can change. If you want to make it harder to change these elements, you can also have someone else make them editable they'll still be selectable but you'll get a dialog any time you change them and it won't let you continue. NOTE: If you are using workset in your project and team members are creating new geometry in the model, then make sure that they are setting an appropriate workset as active in the Worksets toolbar.
·         Closing a View vs. Visibility - The differences between closing a workset and turning off visibility are:
o   Visibility is per view, while closing the workset hides it in all views.
o   Visibility is a saved setting; every subsequent time you open the file it remembers whether each workset should be visible in each view. Closing worksets is temporary -- it is generally forgotten the next time you open the file (though there is a way to tell it to use the previous configuration).
o   Because closing a workset hides it in all views, if you close the workset when opening the file it often doesn't need to load most of the elements within that workset into memory, so you save a lot of memory. This can improve performance.
o   Generally you should use visibility if you want to permanently change the way a sheet will look when plotted. Use workset closing when you are just trying to improve performance by temporarily hiding stuff you don't need to see in the current session.

·         Moving a level or major geometry changes - When making significant changes in a project (moving a level or major geometry changes), it is recommended that you perform the operation when no other users are working on the file and they have relinquished all elements. Once the changes are Saved to Central, have all users make new local files.
·         Selective Open - Selective open is a reason to continue partitioning the model into worksets instead of dumping everything into one workset (by default Workset 1). But, even if you are using selective open you can still do frequent saves to central and avoid explicitly making anything editable (letting elements become editable automatically as you change them). It minimizes editing requests. To use selective open, use the Open tool to open your local project file. In the Open dialog box, select the drop-down arrow button beside the Open button. Choose All, Editable, Last Viewed or Specify.. to display specific worksets when the file is opened. Press the Open button to open the file. If the Specify option is selected, in the Opening Worksets dialog box, pick the worksets to be Opened or Closed, and use the Open or Close buttons to display or not display the selected worksets. If worksets have been closed, you may turn them on by accessing the Worksets dialog box pick the desired workset and pick the Open button to open the workset in your local file.

·         Editing Requests – Revit is intended to facilitate a workflow in which you generally don't make anything editable -- just start working and the elements get borrowed automatically as you change them. Then, save to central frequently, accepting the default of relinquishing borrowed elements (the Save to Central button in the toolbar does this). It does it for all checkboxes except User Created Worksets This way, most of the time people have very few elements editable and it should be pretty rare that there is any need for an editing request. Editing requests can be made when a user is trying to access an object that is borrowed or owned by someone else. However, if placing an editing request, the person whom the request is directed to must know to check the Editing Requests dialog box as there is no notification that a request has been made.

·         Upgrading a Work Shared Project to a new Revit version or build - The process when upgrading work shared projects is to make sure everyone saves to central, then open the central file in the new release/build to upgrade it. Save the file, then create new local files from the upgraded central. Remote Working with Worksharing – You can add new elements to an existing workset without making the workset editable, even if you are disconnected from the central file. You can continue to edit these new elements until you reconnect and save to central. If a workset is owned by you and you are disconnected from the central file you may still work on the items within the workset. Other team members connected to the central file see your workset as owned by you and not editable. You cannot perform the borrowing of elements when disconnected from the central file. If you attempt to perform element borrowing, you will receive an error that you cannot edit non-editable elements. You can however checkout another workset. This becomes a workset “at risk”. If another team member checks out a workset while connected to the central file and you check out a workset while disconnected, you both can make changes to the elements within the workset. When you login back to the network, the project will attempt to re-establish the link between your local copy and the central file. If you checked out additional worksets while disconnected from the central file you will not be able to re-link with the central file. You will need to open your local file and detach from the central file, then you can copy/paste information back to the central file. If you did not check out any other worksets while disconnected from the central file, open the local file will re-establish the link and allow you to save your changes made in your local file to the central file.

·         Steps to relinquish control of a workset checked out by another team member – There may be instances where another team member has checked out a workset, left for the day and for one reason or another is not available to relinquish control of the workset. If this happens, have the entire team save to central and their local files, and then exit the project. Rename your user name to that of the person who checked out the workset. Open the central file. Access the Worksets dialog box and relinquish control of any worksets. Save to Central and exit the project. Change the user name back to your user name, open your local file and perform a Reload Latest. Have the other team members do the same. The workset is now open for all to checkout.

·         Workstation Specifications – Attempt to keep project team workstation specifications equivalent. A dramatically weaker machine specification used by a single team member can reduce overall project performance.

Error: “Data in file (name of central file) needs to be manually upgraded. Please contact your Autodesk Revit Service Provider” – This results from unstable networks or problems in the Microsoft network file caching system. If you can open the central file itself using the Audit option and see no errors then all is well. If there are errors, sometimes creating a central file from backups helps.

Valid Licensing Combinations for Autodesk Vehicle Tracking

here are some combinations that have been announced as supported but are currently unavailable due to a file being created in the wrong location.

See more info here:

Monday, July 28, 2014

Crossing The Line with Civil 3D: Which Way is North?

Crossing The Line with Civil 3D: Which Way is North?:  Okay I admit it, the allure of one day being invited into the "Autodesk Expert Elite Program" has me checking the Autodesk Civil...

Wednesday, July 16, 2014

Civil 3D 2015 - ProSoft PowerTools for Civil 3D

I wrote an article recently for AUGI on the ProSoft PowerTools.  Some info is below on some of the new 2015 features, the full article is here:

New for Civil 3D 2015!!

There are several new items new for the first rollout of the 2015 version.  One I chose to highlight here is the grading tools.

Grading tools enables you to create 3D projection polylines from any polyline or feature line. Grading is defined with a set of grading criteria, which are applied to a footprint. The following grading criteria are supported:

o    Offset/Slope
o    Offset/Relative elevation
o    Slope/Relative elevation
o    Slope/Surface
o    Drape
o    Offset/Drape/Elevation

Grading object consist of several 3D polylines each one representing grading criteria. Grading definition can be saved and applied on other footprints. Several grading objects can be applied on a single polyline or feature line.

Grading tools enables you to verify different designs by changing grading criteria or footprint. You can move or modify a footprint – grading is updated automatically. Or run an edit grading command and add, change or remove grading criteria from a grading dialog. 

This powerful functionality will help you design complex 3D objects and tasks: road/railway embankments, dikes, intersections, road islands, sidewalks, landfills, plateaus…

PIPE DEPTH SUMMARY REPORT - This tool calculates pipe depths for selected Civil 3D profile and creates a summary report. We can set different depth intervals: 0-8, 8-10, 10-12, … 20+. Pipe depth can be calculated from: bottom, invert, center, crown or top of the pipe. If pipe profile is changed, summary depth report is updated automatically.