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Featureline Sets

Featureline Sets

I've seen several other ideas posted with similar concepts.  I decided to summarize what I would like to see, and some potential issues that users should consider.


I started by looking at the old MLINE object, and the MLSTYLE command which is used to define what these objects look like.  Basically you define a series of offsets with individual colours and linetypes, and save that as a multiline style.  When you draw a Multiline it automatically creates mitered corners.  This feature is very old, none of the newer tools for editing polylines or featurelines work for this.


In concept, I'm trying to create something that looks like an MLINE, but includes elevation differences at the corners, using the same basic process as the Adjacent Elevations by Reference command.  The user would specify the layer, colour, style, etc for each featureline and the offset from the previous one to build the FL set.  These FL sets could be saved for reuse later.  The user would select a master FL and apply the FL set to create a grouping like the ones in the sample drawing.


The closest thing we have in Civil3d to the MLSTYLE command is probably the band set dialog.  The user would create a FL set in pretty much the same way by specifying an offset, vertical difference, style, layer, colour etc for each FL in the set.  A FL set would always use the same site as the master that it's applied to.  There would be no independent editing of the lines in the set, the only way to change them would be editing the master, or making changes to the FL set definition and reapplying it. Note – the ability to change a single offset or delta Z at a single location would be as a “nice to have” feature but not mandatory.  Users could “extract” features from a set to get independent featurelines for custom editing.


As I was building a sample drawing to show what I have in mind I realized that there will be some issues at PI points which must be addressed.  I think that it's important for the users to weigh in on how these issues should be resolved. The example that I’m using is a basic curb and gutter with attached sidewalk. The master FL is the edge of pavement.


                               Offset               Delta Z

Master                       0.0                 0.0

Gutterline                  0.40              -0.008

Top of Curb               0.05               0.15

Back of Curb             0.15               0.0

Back of Sidewalk      1.50                0.03





At Point A1 I’ve created a basic chamfer for an outside corner. The two red lines are perpendicular to the master, and the delta Z values are applied at each PI on the white FL’s This means that the width of the curb and sidewalk is “wrong” at the corner but it does follow the basic rules. At point A2 I tried something different, so that the red projection lines are parallel to the master, and both the offset distances and projected slopes are maintained. I can see circumstances where either of these solutions would be appropriate, so we may have to include something in the FL set to specify which method to use. Inside corners are probably easier, point B is the only solution that I can see for this.



Civil3d already uses fillets in grading projection, and I don’t see any reason to change how the software would calculate in these cases. The only real oddity I found was the scenario at D2, where the radius of the curve doesn’t allow for fillets on the inner featurelines. At the top of curb we have two points which are both projecting to a single intersection; I used the average of the projected elevations for this, and then continued with a chamfer scenario similar to B.



Civil3d already uses miters for grading inside corners, and the calculated elevations appear to work the same way that I did at point F. There is no existing method for calculating elevations on outside miter corners but if we use the same logic then the grade of all the projected featurelines is flat around the corner – see point E1 for an example. Another solution might be something like E2, where all of the projection slopes are the same, even though the distances at the corner are different than they are at the ends.


Please use the Accept as Solution or Kudo buttons when appropriate


I think these are the ideas you are referring to.

I also see a similarity with the Civil BIM ideas posted by @Civil3DReminders_com , specifically curb & sidewalk.


Personally, I think all of your corner treatments are potentially valid. I think the user would have to choose which to apply on a case-by-case basis.

Steve, why not ask for the object you want to be designed to be provided as a part of the product? In this case it looks like it could be a curb, gutter, retaining wall, or similar object. It seems the civil community tends to ask for an improvements on the features in the program instead of the actual objects to be designed. If you worked in an architect's office would you ask for a chair object or for a way for feature lines to be used to create the chair object?

@Civil3DReminders_com IMO, it depends what you're wanting to get out of the product. In my experience, the purpose is to produce 2D paper plots. We need all design elevations to be neatly labelled etc. What good does a 3D model of a sidewalk do for me if I can't get it represented neatly and accurately on paper?


Sure, things are changing. Maybe one day our deliverable will be a 3D model. Then we can send the robot grader and the robot concrete truck out to build it for us too! I don't have any beef with your ideas—I've voted for them too. But there's nothing wrong in asking for incremental improvements.

I want a 2D output as well. Most of the tedious work is offsetting lines, moving labels, setting elevations and grades for feature lines that represent those objects, and other crap that could be automated better with objects. EspeciallY when changes in a design occur. In addition subgrade surfaces are a pain to create because we need to do busy work.

At this point I am asking for things that should be achievable within the current product.  If I see evidence that the Development team is working on these then I might start asking for more of the "blue sky" items that @Civil3DReminders_com is requesting.


Imagine the possibilities if the MLINE could contain arcs and have differing elevations!


We're doing something in Gizmo3D with Linked Offsets (FeatureLines, 3dPolylines, etc), here is a video demo.

Don't forget Autodesk development dollars are partially driven by a popularity contest. So if we never ask for pie in the sky we won't get it. I think that is evident in Civil 3D and Infraworks not having BIM objects.

I wonder if it's all a bit moot now that the featurline corridor idea has been accepted.

You should be able to achieve all of the objectives of this idea, and some of the BIM stuff to boot (subgrade surface at least).

Nope, a corridor can't do abrupt corners. A user is going to spend way too much time managing corners and where regions start and end.

I see merit on both sides of this discussion. @sboon, what you're describing sounds to me like more of a grading set than a feature line set, basically apply these four grading criteria to a feature line as a set instead of individually. With current grading group applied to a feature line limitations, the ability to do certain tasks with a feature line such as break when grading groups are applied is not an option. With your suggestion of being able to apply a set of grading criteria or stepped offsets, that would save some time in re-applying the grading to the original feature line after the original ones are removed so that the feature line can be broken.


With @Civil3DReminders_com's suggestion of an actual curb object, the ability to break and join could be designed into the product from the beginning. Also the curb object should have the ability to have materials applied for coordination with other software products such as Navisworks, Revit, InfraWorks, and 3DS Max that I don't see woud be possible with feature lines because it's only points and links, no shapes. I want the ability to create a 3d object like that without the hassel of alignments, assemblies, and corridors. I want something like this Playdoh factory where I can define the shape and the location to get the equivalent of an "extrude along path" 3D object.


Here's a video that shows the Playdoh factory in action.


I would love to add a curb, retaining wall or building to my file rather than a line.


Until then I would love to add a multifeature line as I could get closer to the above.


Until that time arrive I would just like to see the miter, fillet and chamfer available for stepped offsets, gradings and corridors.


All of these tools together can't do what the LDD grading object did...


I would like to see I tool along these lines also agree true objects are the final goal.


i thought a while ago of an island builder tool which would be a bit like the block insert interface and let you select a style of island which is like a dynamic block made of feature lines. The island would have an anchor points perhaps more that one that could be set to chainages on an

alignment for a known point in a car park.


The new corridor features in Civil 3D 2017 address the concept of this request, and therefore make this request essentially now obsolete.

Not really. Autodesk really screwed us with the corridor feature lines instead of offset feature lines. What Mr. Boon proposed would be relatively light weight object. It determines the geometry by offset and elevation differences. Once created it can sit there nice and quietly without needing to be drawn in a complex manner.


The corridors are a horrible solution to this problem. It saddles us Civil 3D users with a ton of overhead that we don't need or want. A corridor is hugely inefficient way to get offset feature lines. It builds it by cross section, no where in Mr. Boon's request are cross sections even remotely part of the solution. So instead of a simple elegant station/elevation calculation the shape is determined by a ton of code create a curb object, way more than is what is necessary to do offset feature lines. Corridors don't do curve well at all. They tesslate them. There isn't a label that we can attach to a corridor feature line that ties to the corridor and gives the elevation/length at that location. 


Plus the corridor feature lines won't interact with other feature lines. So forget making an easy tie into the corridor.


All we got with corridor feature lines is a huge dose of Band Aid BIM instead of a real solution of what we design.


"..There isn't a label that we can attach to a corridor feature line that ties to the corridor and gives the elevation/length at that location... 


Plus the corridor feature lines won't interact with other feature lines. So forget making an easy tie into the corridor..."


Both of those statements are incorrect. 


I label my gutter flowline corridor feature lines to keep track of grades for drainage, and I Target other Corridor feature lines for leverage in Site design work.









Just checked out the new featureline as baseline option and it is sort of a really basic start. I also check out a post on civil cells in in roads which looks good.

To build on the civil feature set idea.

I am thinking an intersection is a features set sure there are different type tee roundabout etc along the civil cells idea.

In civil3d we are being limited by object type tools wizards rather than an over arching tool that can modell almost anyting we draw and save the geometric contraints I think we need something like the subassembly composer / dynamic contrainted block editor but for horizontal layout geometry that is then aplied to 3d and can be inserted into a corridor or surface or grading model if needed.
Status changed to: Implemented

I'm going to set this one to "implemented" in Civil 3D 2017 with the addition of the corridor from feature line, the sub assembly from polyline, SAC or the standard sets, the corner cleanup work and the dynamic "extracted" feature lines. While there may still be a few things that are missing, it would be better if those were called out in new ideas.




Peter Funk

Autodesk, Inc.


... While there may still be a few things that are missing, it would be better if those were called out in new ideas...


This is a great distinction, that should channel the discussion to new ideas, rather than arguments.


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