Configuration & Access | BIM 360 Collaboration for Civil 3D

Our IT Manager, Bryson Anderson, wrote an article for the February 2020 edition of AUGI World. Here is a portion of that article:

BIM 360 Collaboration for Civil 3D

Autodesk’s BIM 360 platform connects project teams with a suite of products, from design to construction, all working from centralized project data. This unified platform, centralizes data in BIM 360 Document Management, where BIM 360 products can utilize the data across the project lifespan. One product, BIM 360 Design, has been connecting Revit teams for seamless cloud collaboration. The cloud collaboration tools in BIM 360 Design has now been extended to Civil 3D!

Project teams can now collaborate in the cloud with both Revit and Civil 3D through BIM 360 Design. Though the methods for collaborating are different in Civil 3D and Revit, both enable Realtime collaboration, Anytime, Anywhere. In this article, we are going to focus on the new tools for BIM 360 Design, Collaboration for Civil 3D.


The first step is to setup the project folder structure in BIM 360. This can be done in the BIM 360 Docs web portal or using the Desktop Connector folders. If you have a folder structure already created you want to copy to this project, use the Desktop Connector as there currently is not a folder upload in the web portal. There are two default parent folders in Docs, Plans and Project Files. The plans folder is a special type of folder, with uses cases, like a digital equivalent of printed contract drawings. However, it is not accessible through the Desktop Connector, making it also not accessible through Civil 3D. All Civil 3D project files need to be placed in the Project Files directory. Copy your project data in by dragging and dropping, or CTRL-V to paste. Currently, there is no right click context menu in the Desktop Connecter for Copy/ Paste etc., only ‘New Folder’.

Once you have pasted or dragged and dropped in your data, a ‘Transferring Files’ window will appear to let you know your files/ folders are being uploaded. You can also monitor the upload status via the Pending Actions dialog. In the System Tray of Windows, you will see the white Autodesk ‘A’ Symbol of the Desktop Connector. Right click on the icon and select ‘Pending Actions’ to open the dialog box.

As you are working in the Collaboration for Civil 3D environment, it is a good idea to have the Pending Actions dialog open to monitor for any sync or other problems that may occur.

Now that you have your data uploaded, its time to open Civil 3D. Currently, only Civil 3D 2020.2 and later is supported. If you do not have the 2020.2 update installed, you need to install the update before continuing. The start screen for Civil 3D 2020.2 now has a ‘BIM 360’ location where you can browse the Accounts/Projects you have access to. The dropdown at the top of the screen allows you to switch which projects folders you are browsing. Clicking ‘Change Account’ will show you all Accounts you have access to, selecting an Account will then list the available projects.

On the metadata ribbon, to the far right is a gear icon that lets you select what meta-data you see about the files. I like to turn on at least Locked State, Local State, and Locked By fields. Click on the file you want to open, or right click to select between Open and Open Read-Only.

As the file opens, the file is automatically locked so no one else can modify the file while you have it locked. (Unless of course you selected Read-Only, or it was already locked, and it forced Open Read-Only) You can also manually lock a file without opening it by right-clicking on the file in the Desktop Connector and clicking ‘Lock’. You can also manually unlock files you have locked in the same way. Be careful not to unlock a file you have open in Civil 3D; another user could lock the file and cause you to lose your work. Its best to let the lock/unlock happen automatically by the software.

To learn more about BIM 360, click here.