Managing Surfaces (DFX/Point Cloud) | Managing Civil 3D

Our Consulting and Services Manager, Shawn Herring, wrote an article for this month's issue of AUGI World. Below is a portion of the article:

As we all know, there is a ton of data to manage when it comes to Civil 3D. Not just data, but files, best practices, styles, folder structure, etc., etc., etc.! At times it can be a bit overwhelming, especially if there has been no management over these items in the past. But for those looking to get a better handle on things, I’ve outlined several of the topics I’d make sure to spend a bit more time getting up to speed on. There are obviously many more things that help in project management, but these are some of the things I see being underutilized.


I see a lot of people struggling with creating surfaces from GIS data, specifically large datasets with a lot of contours. Users tend to import as polylines and add the polylines, with millions of vertices, to a surface and wonder why the slowdown or crashing happens.

Did you know that if you create a surface from contours (polylines) you can delete those polylines and keep that surface in place!! A CAD file with millions of vertices of a polyline can be very slow. Simply go into your surface properties, BEFORE YOU ERASE THE POLYLINES, and change the build definition as shown below!

Surface properties in Autodesk Civil 3D


Create a plan and stick to it! All the management best practices in the world won’t help if it’s not documented, reviewed regularly, and most importantly, ENFORCED!

Other items such as sheet set manager, file organization and best practices can be documented easily in some sort of a CAD Manager handbook. Monthly, or quarterly meetings to review best practices and even items such as template changes are also a good idea. If I only followed half of the stuff I mentioned above, I’d be in much better shape!

To learn more about managing data in Civil 3D, click here.