Points in AutoCAD Civil 3D

When you are working with points in AutoCAD Civil 3D, one of the first things that is important to understand is that in AutoCAD Civil 3D, each point is maintained as an individual object. Each point also always belongs to a point group, which is also an object. This means that you can manage points at different hierarchical levels. Being able to manage points this way improves overall performance and provides additional flexibility that you do not have when using points in Land Desktop.

A second concept that is important to understand is that unlike Land Desktop points, the display characteristics of AutoCAD Civil 3D points are based on two style settings: the point style and the point label style. This is a concept that is employed throughout many AutoCAD Civil 3D object types.

The point marker (shown as the “X” in the preceding illustration) is controlled by the point style and the label text for the point is controlled by the point label style. Setting up proper styles is one of the keys to unlocking the potential of AutoCAD Civil 3D. By simply setting the point style to the desired marker, which can include symbology, and setting the point label style to the desired label style, you can achieve virtually limitless combinations for displaying points.

Note that in AutoCAD Civil 3D, when you are using symbology as part of your point style, the symbol is the marker. In other words, there is no separate block inserted on top of the point. Instead, the symbol is embedded in the point itself. Because points are dynamic in AutoCAD Civil 3D, so are the symbols. For example, there is no need to maintain multiple fire hydrant blocks to accommodate plotting drawings at multiple scales. Also, symbols never become separated from their associated points as they may have in Land Desktop. Your point styles can be set in such a way that you can still control visibility of the symbology, and the points still do what they did in Land Desktop. For example, you can still show symbols and no points, or show points and no symbols, or show neither. It is simply easier to do this in AutoCAD Civil 3D.

AutoCAD Civil 3D contains numerous styles you can begin working with right away, including ones that look like Land Desktop styles. These styles can be assigned to the points directly by selecting the point(s), and then right-clicking and clicking Edit Points. Doing it this way is like switching from a BYLAYER setting to a fixed setting.

You can also set these styles at the point group level, which means that all points in that group are updated automatically. To do this, simply click on the desired Point Group in the Project Toolspace (Prospector Tab), right-click, and click Properties.

Because you can associate a symbol with your points using the point style, does this mean that description keys are not necessary in AutoCAD Civil 3D? This is your decision. Description keys still exist and still function in AutoCAD Civil 3D similar to how they function in Land Desktop. The major difference is that instead of inserting blocks, as you would in Land Desktop, in AutoCAD Civil 3D, you set the desired point style and point label style for each point. With AutoCAD Civil 3D, you can decide which method of handling point styles and symbology works best for your situation.

A third concept to understand when comparing AutoCAD Civil 3D and Land Desktop point functionality is the fact that AutoCAD Civil 3D project data is drawing based rather than project based as in Land Desktop. Because AutoCAD Civil 3D data is drawing based, the points exist in your drawing file and do not point to an external point database, as they do in Land Desktop. This means that your points cannot become out of sync with an external point database, so operations such as the Undo command are no longer a problem. Without an external point database, commands like Check Points and Insert Points To Drawing are no longer necessary, as well.