AutoCAD Civil 3D General Discussion

AutoCAD Civil 3D General Discussion

Reply
*Steve Cannon
Message 1 of 17 (101 Views)

Civil 3D Initial Impressions, Take 2

101 Views, 16 Replies
01-28-2004 01:16 PM
Hi,

AutoDesk gave me a chance to participate in a Civil 3D - 30 trial, and FWIW
I thought I would outline some of my first overall impressions of the
product. The impressions are my own and they are initial takes. Evaluating
new tools is difficult at best and is often swayed by unfounded
expectations. It is heavily weighted based upon one's particular job
description and previous experience. Learning new software is like learning
a new language. You first try to translate while still thinking in your
native language. You become frustrated when there are no direct
translations. But if you stay with it over a period of time, you may learn
how to re-think, and therefore your evaluations of the new approach may
change. I will go back and re-read this in six months or a year.

As usual, I am way to verbose. I attached the commentary as a .doc to
preserve formatting and make it more readable. I apologize if the use of a
small attachment in this NG infuriates some, but as I understand the new
rules, small attachments are allowed.

--
Stephen Cannon



Attachment not added (too large): "Civil 3D - First Takes.doc"
*Jon Rizzo
Message 2 of 17 (101 Views)

Re: Civil 3D Initial Impressions, Take 2

01-29-2004 07:56 AM in reply to: *Steve Cannon
Hi Steve, I agree with a lot of what you said, but I think you missed a big point. From the point of view of the draftsperson opening the product up and beginning to use it to draft plans, you are correct. This would be a frustrating exercise. The point that you missed is that the ultimate purpose of this program is this tool in the hands of an engineer, not a draftsman. The product is a LONG, LONG way from that, but the reality is that once you get your styles set up, you will not need to perform 80-90% of the drafting tasks that you currently perform with LDT. Land Desktop is currently a distraction for engineers. Engineers have to spend too much time performing basic drafting tasks to get their idea accross, and often end up feeling like glorified drafters at the end of a work day. The goal of Civil 3D is to make the majority of the drafting just "happen". Granted, the program is not there yet, and styles require an extensive amount of effort to perfect, but you only need to do it once. The goal is not to make the CAD technician's job easier, it is to reduce or eliminate the need for such a person in the first place. Engineers should be engineering, draftsmen should be drafting. Yes, the program has a long way to go before it is there. -- Jon Rizzo Langan Engineering and Environmental Services, Inc. "Steve Cannon" wrote in message news:401826c7_1@newsprd01... > Hi, > > AutoDesk gave me a chance to participate in a Civil 3D - 30 trial, and FWIW > I thought I would outline some of my first overall impressions of the > product. The impressions are my own and they are initial takes. Evaluating > new tools is difficult at best and is often swayed by unfounded > expectations. It is heavily weighted based upon one's particular job > description and previous experience. Learning new software is like learning > a new language. You first try to translate while still thinking in your > native language. You become frustrated when there are no direct > translations. But if you stay with it over a period of time, you may learn > how to re-think, and therefore your evaluations of the new approach may > change. I will go back and re-read this in six months or a year. > > As usual, I am way to verbose. I attached the commentary as a .doc to > preserve formatting and make it more readable. I apologize if the use of a > small attachment in this NG infuriates some, but as I understand the new > rules, small attachments are allowed. > > -- > Stephen Cannon > > >
*Steve Cannon
Message 3 of 17 (101 Views)

Re: Civil 3D Initial Impressions, Take 2

01-29-2004 09:24 AM in reply to: *Steve Cannon
Hi Jon, I think that we can agree that the ultimate goal of C3D should be to put the tool in the hands of the engineer. I think that we can agree that LDT failed miserably at this task. However, I foresee in the C3D's basic philosophy, the beginnings of a dangerous path that may bog the toll down in a swamp of divergence and discord. Where we seem to disagree is that C3D should strive for the goal "to make the majority of the drafting just 'happen'". I think this is a pipe dream. You are thinking that once all the drafting styles are setup, all will be good. I foresee the scenario where style setup is a continual never-ending process. Many shops produce a broad range of civil services, all that will require their own special drafting styles. Even in very specialized shops, with very repetitive type production, every individual project is going to be just enough different and special that each new job will require a re-examination of previously setup styles. Management is going to have to address a continual evolution of styles and standards. I still see the goal of C3D heading down the road where it defines itself as an infrastructure drawing preparation tool. It attempts to eliminate the role of the draftsman, replacing it with automation. It ain't gonna work. In the process, it is going to distract the designer from his real task, which is design conceptualization. As long as drawings are still used as the source of communication, we are going to need both the roles of engineer and draftsman, and I believe they each should have their own tools. As an engineer, I see my world as a place to conceptualize a design. As a draftsman, my place in the world is to prepare infrastructure drawings. In C3D, we see the two worlds collide. sc "Jon Rizzo" wrote in message news:40192d14_1@newsprd01... > Hi Steve, > > I agree with a lot of what you said, but I think you missed a big point. > From the point of view of the draftsperson opening the product up and > beginning to use it to draft plans, you are correct. This would be a > frustrating exercise. The point that you missed is that the ultimate > purpose of this program is this tool in the hands of an engineer, not a > draftsman. The product is a LONG, LONG way from that, but the reality is > that once you get your styles set up, you will not need to perform 80-90% of > the drafting tasks that you currently perform with LDT. > > Land Desktop is currently a distraction for engineers. Engineers have to > spend too much time performing basic drafting tasks to get their idea > accross, and often end up feeling like glorified drafters at the end of a > work day. The goal of Civil 3D is to make the majority of the drafting just > "happen". Granted, the program is not there yet, and styles require an > extensive amount of effort to perfect, but you only need to do it once. > > The goal is not to make the CAD technician's job easier, it is to reduce or > eliminate the need for such a person in the first place. Engineers should > be engineering, draftsmen should be drafting. Yes, the program has a long > way to go before it is there. > > -- > Jon Rizzo > Langan Engineering and Environmental Services, Inc. >
*Jon Rizzo
Message 4 of 17 (101 Views)

Re: Civil 3D Initial Impressions, Take 2

01-29-2004 10:03 AM in reply to: *Steve Cannon
Honestly, I don't see styles as being a major distraction, provided that the functionality that you need is there. Granted, some minor changes could easily lead to a 20 minute "hunt", but I think that after the first 2 or 3 projects, the frequency of this would be greatly reduced. The unfortunate thing with styles is that you are totally sunk if the styles do not support the functionality you are looking for. I think in the long run, C3D will prove to be the right way to go, but the long run still sounds like it's a few years out... -- Jon Rizzo Langan Engineering and Environmental Services, Inc. "Steve Cannon" wrote in message news:401941c3$1_3@newsprd01... > Hi Jon, > > I think that we can agree that the ultimate goal of C3D should be to put > the tool in the hands of the engineer. I think that we can agree that LDT > failed miserably at this task. However, I foresee in the C3D's basic > philosophy, the beginnings of a dangerous path that may bog the toll down in > a swamp of divergence and discord. > > Where we seem to disagree is that C3D should strive for the goal "to make > the majority of the drafting just 'happen'". I think this is a pipe dream. > You are thinking that once all the drafting styles are setup, all will be > good. I foresee the scenario where style setup is a continual never-ending > process. Many shops produce a broad range of civil services, all that will > require their own special drafting styles. Even in very specialized shops, > with very repetitive type production, every individual project is going to > be just enough different and special that each new job will require a > re-examination of previously setup styles. Management is going to have to > address a continual evolution of styles and standards. > > I still see the goal of C3D heading down the road where it defines itself as > an infrastructure drawing preparation tool. It attempts to eliminate the > role of the draftsman, replacing it with automation. It ain't gonna work. > In the process, it is going to distract the designer from his real task, > which is design conceptualization. As long as drawings are still used as the > source of communication, we are going to need both the roles of engineer and > draftsman, and I believe they each should have their own tools. > > As an engineer, I see my world as a place to conceptualize a design. As a > draftsman, my place in the world is to prepare infrastructure drawings. In > C3D, we see the two worlds collide. > > sc > > > "Jon Rizzo" wrote in message > news:40192d14_1@newsprd01... > > Hi Steve, > > > > I agree with a lot of what you said, but I think you missed a big point. > > From the point of view of the draftsperson opening the product up and > > beginning to use it to draft plans, you are correct. This would be a > > frustrating exercise. The point that you missed is that the ultimate > > purpose of this program is this tool in the hands of an engineer, not a > > draftsman. The product is a LONG, LONG way from that, but the reality is > > that once you get your styles set up, you will not need to perform 80-90% > of > > the drafting tasks that you currently perform with LDT. > > > > Land Desktop is currently a distraction for engineers. Engineers have to > > spend too much time performing basic drafting tasks to get their idea > > accross, and often end up feeling like glorified drafters at the end of a > > work day. The goal of Civil 3D is to make the majority of the drafting > just > > "happen". Granted, the program is not there yet, and styles require an > > extensive amount of effort to perfect, but you only need to do it once. > > > > The goal is not to make the CAD technician's job easier, it is to reduce > or > > eliminate the need for such a person in the first place. Engineers should > > be engineering, draftsmen should be drafting. Yes, the program has a long > > way to go before it is there. > > > > -- > > Jon Rizzo > > Langan Engineering and Environmental Services, Inc. > > > >
*Neil Wilson
Message 5 of 17 (101 Views)

Re: Civil 3D Initial Impressions, Take 2

01-29-2004 01:27 PM in reply to: *Steve Cannon
I would take the middle ground about styles. An engineer should not have to be concerned about whether his drawings are finished from a drafting perspective. What he does need is a way to generate the drawing data that conveys the design clearly and accurately to the drafters and other personnel in the design cycle. If he wants to design a road, he needs to create alignments and cross sections to analyze and refine the design. He doesn't want to be hampered by the drawing medium (CADD) to generate the data he needs for the analysis. Using the current version of Civil Design, the engineer is burdened with having to set all sorts of drafting parameters just to generate his plan, profile and cross sections output. This in itself prevents many engineers from using Civil because they don't want or need to be saddled by such details. I am very enthused about civil 3d's ability to dynamically update the design elements. That is what will empower the engineers. The styles will benefit the drafters later. "Jon Rizzo" wrote in message news:40192d14_1@newsprd01... > Hi Steve, > > I agree with a lot of what you said, but I think you missed a big point. > From the point of view of the draftsperson opening the product up and > beginning to use it to draft plans, you are correct. This would be a > frustrating exercise. The point that you missed is that the ultimate > purpose of this program is this tool in the hands of an engineer, not a > draftsman. The product is a LONG, LONG way from that, but the reality is > that once you get your styles set up, you will not need to perform 80-90% of > the drafting tasks that you currently perform with LDT. > > Land Desktop is currently a distraction for engineers. Engineers have to > spend too much time performing basic drafting tasks to get their idea > accross, and often end up feeling like glorified drafters at the end of a > work day. The goal of Civil 3D is to make the majority of the drafting just > "happen". Granted, the program is not there yet, and styles require an > extensive amount of effort to perfect, but you only need to do it once. > > The goal is not to make the CAD technician's job easier, it is to reduce or > eliminate the need for such a person in the first place. Engineers should > be engineering, draftsmen should be drafting. Yes, the program has a long > way to go before it is there. > > -- > Jon Rizzo > Langan Engineering and Environmental Services, Inc. > > > "Steve Cannon" wrote in message > news:401826c7_1@newsprd01... > > Hi, > > > > AutoDesk gave me a chance to participate in a Civil 3D - 30 trial, and > FWIW > > I thought I would outline some of my first overall impressions of the > > product. The impressions are my own and they are initial takes. Evaluating > > new tools is difficult at best and is often swayed by unfounded > > expectations. It is heavily weighted based upon one's particular job > > description and previous experience. Learning new software is like > learning > > a new language. You first try to translate while still thinking in your > > native language. You become frustrated when there are no direct > > translations. But if you stay with it over a period of time, you may learn > > how to re-think, and therefore your evaluations of the new approach may > > change. I will go back and re-read this in six months or a year. > > > > As usual, I am way to verbose. I attached the commentary as a .doc to > > preserve formatting and make it more readable. I apologize if the use of a > > small attachment in this NG infuriates some, but as I understand the new > > rules, small attachments are allowed. > > > > -- > > Stephen Cannon > > > > > > > >
*Doug Boys
Message 6 of 17 (101 Views)

Re: Civil 3D Initial Impressions, Take 2

02-02-2004 07:46 PM in reply to: *Steve Cannon
Steve raises an important strategic point. Do we want engineers to use the PC only to prepare basic design outlines and have all final “presentation” (construction drawings, report figures, visualizations, etc.) done by a separate draftsperson? Or do we want the designer to be able to prepare their own final presentation documents. I suggest that the latter option is the only way to go. Engineers want to prepare their own final output if possible. “Draftspersons” want to move on to design work. This has been accomplished in other applications. I do not know many engineers who do not now do their own word processing including letters on letterhead etc. Therefore Autodesk’s intelligent objects style-based approach is the correct direction. This has been very successful for Microsoft Word. Get used to using styles. If the available style options do not quite suit your presentation standards, tough luck. Change your standards. (Who uses anything other than Arial font nowadays in word processing?) Of course the software developer must keep the market happy and continually add available options to allow flexible use of styles. (Autodesk has not done this with Land Desktop. We are constantly being told that certain options or improvements are not allowed at present. Autodesk is too slow to respond to demands for improvements.) But this approach raises a real difficulty for engineering firms who are considering AutoCAD as a possible platform because the cost of licenses is too high to provide a copy to all staff. It can be done with word-processing because license costs are much lower. This is a strategic decision to be made by Autodesk. One option is to lower the license cost and try to have a copy on every engineer and draftspersons desk. Another option is to market two packages, namely a Design package and a Drafting package. This is the approach currently used by other design software developers. It has paid off because they can build in more direct design procedures and optimise the speed and power of the design methods. These developers rely on AutoCAD for the drafting presentation. Autodesk has not kept up with this competition. But either way you must buy a package for each desk. Autodesk should use its market power to make sure that it is cheaper to provide a license on each desk. Then the engineer can have Land Desktop and hand over routine drafting to a draftsperson equipped with AutoCAD if that is more efficient. Or the engineer can do his own final presentation if preferred. The current situation is absurd. Management can only afford one package. The draftsperson must have AutoCAD so he gets the entire package Land Desktop included for $6000 and the engineer gets none or a copy of AutoCAD LT at most for $1000. It would be much better and just as profitable (since LT is just cobbled AutoCAD) to sell two Land Desktop for $3500 each. Doug Boys Cardno MBK Brisbane Australia
*Jon Rizzo
Message 7 of 17 (101 Views)

Re: Civil 3D Initial Impressions, Take 2

02-03-2004 05:18 AM in reply to: *Steve Cannon
> styles. If the available style options do not quite suit your presentation > standards, tough luck. Change your standards. (Who uses anything other than Don't you think that sounds a bit like the tail wagging the dog? ie: Don't give them what they want, TELL them what they want. Why should I buy a Piece Of Software that does not give me the flexibility to make the drawings look the way I want them to? You said it yourself. If we can save a lot of money using a competitor's product, and we can create drawings that look the way we want them to look, then why should we expect any less? -- Jon Rizzo Langan Engineering and Environmental Services, Inc. "Doug Boys" wrote in message news:401F197C.8C5B782@cardno.com.au... > Steve raises an important strategic point. Do we want engineers to use the PC > only to prepare basic design outlines and have all final "presentation" > (construction drawings, report figures, visualizations, etc.) done by a > separate draftsperson? Or do we want the designer to be able to prepare their > own final presentation documents. > > I suggest that the latter option is the only way to go. Engineers want to > prepare their own final output if possible. "Draftspersons" want to move on to > design work. This has been accomplished in other applications. I do not know > many engineers who do not now do their own word processing including letters on > letterhead etc. > > Therefore Autodesk's intelligent objects style-based approach is the correct > direction. This has been very successful for Microsoft Word. Get used to using > Arial font nowadays in word processing?) > > Of course the software developer must keep the market happy and continually add > available options to allow flexible use of styles. (Autodesk has not done this > with Land Desktop. We are constantly being told that certain options or > improvements are not allowed at present. Autodesk is too slow to respond to > demands for improvements.) > > But this approach raises a real difficulty for engineering firms who are > considering AutoCAD as a possible platform because the cost of licenses is too > high to provide a copy to all staff. It can be done with word-processing > because license costs are much lower. > > This is a strategic decision to be made by Autodesk. One option is to lower the > license cost and try to have a copy on every engineer and draftspersons desk. > Another option is to market two packages, namely a Design package and a > Drafting package. This is the approach currently used by other design software > developers. It has paid off because they can build in more direct design > procedures and optimise the speed and power of the design methods. These > developers rely on AutoCAD for the drafting presentation. Autodesk has not kept > up with this competition. But either way you must buy a package for each desk. > Autodesk should use its market power to make sure that it is cheaper to provide > a license on each desk. Then the engineer can have Land Desktop and hand over > routine drafting to a draftsperson equipped with AutoCAD if that is more > efficient. Or the engineer can do his own final presentation if preferred. > > The current situation is absurd. Management can only afford one package. The > draftsperson must have AutoCAD so he gets the entire package Land Desktop > included for $6000 and the engineer gets none or a copy of AutoCAD LT at most > for $1000. It would be much better and just as profitable (since LT is just > cobbled AutoCAD) to sell two Land Desktop for $3500 each. > > Doug Boys > Cardno MBK Brisbane Australia > >
*Steve Cannon
Message 8 of 17 (101 Views)

Re: Civil 3D Initial Impressions, Take 2

02-03-2004 08:27 AM in reply to: *Steve Cannon
Doug, The point that you make on pricing is the most important. At a couple hundred dollars for a Microsoft Office, you can afford to put it on everyone's desk. At $8k per C3D workstation, you cannot. We will have to wait and see how AutoDesk markets the product. The second economic stumbling block to 'one package does all concept - design modeling and finished drafting ', is that a engineer, at his charge out rates, cannot afford to get involved with final detailed drafting. Is the Civil 3d concept that a drafter and engineer 'share' this tool? A third point I wish to make is the timing of the package. C3D SHOULD have been developed instead of LDT, immediately after the Softdesk acquisition. The technology was available - AutoDesk took this approach with ADT. Instead, AutoDesk 'milked' the civil industry for years and years of nothing. LDT was much more about the software giant's quest to improve their bottom line than it was about helping the civil user become more productive. During those years, I have seen a significant change in the civil industry. We are now involved more and more with designer-built projects, where final infrastructure drafting is not used. The team communicates ideas via design data. We are currently working on a large DOT urban freeway, that was fast tracked to the point that the engineer did not cut P&P's, but communicated design data to the surveyor, contractor, and DOT via AutoCAD model space plan drawings and electronic templates and cross sections. Contractors are constantly pushing for electronic model data over paper infrastructure plans at the time of bidding. LandXML is going to greatly increase in stature as a vehicle for civil commerce, replacing the traditional paper drawings. When you converse in LandXML, the language is land concepts and design ideas, not labels and details. Surveyors need to become modelers not drafters. Engineers need to become modelers not drafters. It this atmosphere, the industry is going to rely less and less on formal infrastructure drafting. It is going to take Civil 3D time to mature before it can become a true production tool. Maybe 2 to 3 years. By targeting itself primarily as an infrastructure drawing preparation tool, by the time it becomes ready for primetime, C3D just may again be out of date. Engineers won't want topographic surveys - they will want topographic models. Contractors and stakeout surveyors will value electronic models over paper. Finished drafting won't mean much, and AutoDesk will have a product that emphasizes a great deal of resource to drafting at the expense of a first rate modeling environment. Doug, I agree with the concept of two tools - one for modeling and one for drafting. Create a separate design modeling tool, sleeked down to minimal 'instant image' styles, keeping only portions of the AutoCAD interface that are needed for a real model environment, then load it up with pop-up sections and profiles and views and queries. Emphasize, in process and environment, the crafting of a finished model over the illustration of a final drawing. Make the cost affordable. Give this tool to the design engineer. Make all the objects in it compatible with the objects I now see in C3D, and make the current Preview C3D the future drafting base, the future replacement for LDT. In other words, provide two different and distinct tools that use a common database and share common objects. Imitate the way many shops now operate, instead of making the industry change to match AutoDesk's product. I am afraid that the market for what I now see in C3D will just appeal to the same super LDT technician-designer database you already have. It is going to have problems expanding the user base to all those great 'paper' and 'over-the-shoulder' designers that are out there. sc "Doug Boys" wrote in message news:401F197C.8C5B782@cardno.com.au... > Steve raises an important strategic point. Do we want engineers to use the PC > only to prepare basic design outlines and have all final "presentation" > (construction drawings, report figures, visualizations, etc.) done by a > separate draftsperson? Or do we want the designer to be able to prepare their > own final presentation documents. > > I suggest that the latter option is the only way to go. Engineers want to > prepare their own final output if possible. "Draftspersons" want to move on to > design work. This has been accomplished in other applications. I do not know > many engineers who do not now do their own word processing including letters on > letterhead etc. > > Therefore Autodesk's intelligent objects style-based approach is the correct > direction. This has been very successful for Microsoft Word. Get used to using > styles. If the available style options do not quite suit your presentation > standards, tough luck. Change your standards. (Who uses anything other than > Arial font nowadays in word processing?) > > Of course the software developer must keep the market happy and continually add > available options to allow flexible use of styles. (Autodesk has not done this > with Land Desktop. We are constantly being told that certain options or > improvements are not allowed at present. Autodesk is too slow to respond to > demands for improvements.) > > But this approach raises a real difficulty for engineering firms who are > considering AutoCAD as a possible platform because the cost of licenses is too > high to provide a copy to all staff. It can be done with word-processing > because license costs are much lower. > > This is a strategic decision to be made by Autodesk. One option is to lower the > license cost and try to have a copy on every engineer and draftspersons desk. > Another option is to market two packages, namely a Design package and a > Drafting package. This is the approach currently used by other design software > developers. It has paid off because they can build in more direct design > procedures and optimise the speed and power of the design methods. These > developers rely on AutoCAD for the drafting presentation. Autodesk has not kept > up with this competition. But either way you must buy a package for each desk. > Autodesk should use its market power to make sure that it is cheaper to provide > a license on each desk. Then the engineer can have Land Desktop and hand over > routine drafting to a draftsperson equipped with AutoCAD if that is more > efficient. Or the engineer can do his own final presentation if preferred. > > The current situation is absurd. Management can only afford one package. The > draftsperson must have AutoCAD so he gets the entire package Land Desktop > included for $6000 and the engineer gets none or a copy of AutoCAD LT at most > for $1000. It would be much better and just as profitable (since LT is just > cobbled AutoCAD) to sell two Land Desktop for $3500 each. > > Doug Boys > Cardno MBK Brisbane Australia > >
*Doug Boys
Message 9 of 17 (101 Views)

Re: Civil 3D Initial Impressions, Take 2

02-04-2004 06:03 AM in reply to: *Steve Cannon
Steve, I know that everyone says that engineers charge fabulous rates and can't afford to do final detail drafting but that is what they are doing just the same. They should not type their own reports and letters either but they all do. You recommend two packages ("design" and "draft"). But Autodesk must package these both in one product based on AutoCAD because that is their main "engine". So engineers and drafters will both get Land Desktop but engineers will use some bits and drafters will use other bits. Just like Microsoft Office. Some only use Word and some only use Excel. To make it work the average price must come down. Interesting to hear that you are able to go away from paper presentation drawings and proceed to contracts and construction using electronic transfer only. We are not at that stage here. A 3D model of construction site elements with data labels which display the specifications (with a right-button menu say) would be a boon to contractors. I don't agree with you about "styles" being a problem. I can see LandXML being a great success. When the design changes have all been made then standard style sheets would be used to prepare reports for contractors, estimators etc. CAD object styles will hopefully be similar. Doug Boys Cardno MBK Brisbane Australia
*Doug Boys
Message 10 of 17 (101 Views)

Re: Civil 3D Initial Impressions, Take 2

02-04-2004 06:09 AM in reply to: *Steve Cannon
Jon, I did not mean to sound dictatorial. I meant that if the software has most of the functions you want and some more you did not even know existed and its fast and works well then it is best to try and use its best features even even though you might have to give up one or two of your favourite fonts or label arrangements or drafting styles because they are not included. Doug Boys "Jon Rizzo" wrote in message news:401f9fab_3@newsprd01... > > Don't you think that sounds a bit like the tail wagging the dog? ie: Don't > give them what they want, TELL them what they want. Why should I buy a > Piece Of Software that does not give me the flexibility to make the drawings > look the way I want them to?
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