Create a Civil 3D Surface and Create a Section using Plex Earth terrain data
This tutorial presents how to create a Civil 3D Surface and a Section of it using Plex Earth's terrain data. Easily converting your terrain data to Civil 3D surfaces is crucial if you are a Civil 3D user and you need to gain access to the advanced surface functionality Civil 3D offers. One of these features is the ability to generate Sections for your surface, which is very important for managing engineering projects.
Step 1: Convert Plex Earth's surface to Civil 3D Surface
The first thing to do is to import a Plex Earth surface as shown in this tutorial.
After that, we need to extract from the Plex Earth surface a form of the elevation data that can be used from Civil 3D. There are plenty of workarounds, here, but the easiest thing to do is to extract a Polyface Mesh.
To do so, we select our imported terrain on the Terrain Manager, click on Generate Drawing Objects and select the option, Polyface Mesh.
Note: You can select the option to directly import Polyface Meshes every time you import a terrain through Plex Earth using the PXV_OPTIONS_TERRAIN command
Now you can close the Terrain Manager and go to the Home Tab of Civil 3D and select the option Create Surface. Click OK to the dialog box appearing to proceed with your surface.
Now, open the Civil 3D Prospector (you can do this by typing PROSPECTOR on the command line), find the surface you created, expand its subfiles, and locate the Drawing Objects Option. Right-click it, and select Add.
On the window that pops up, select as an object type Polyface, click OK, and select the Polyface Mesh you have created with Plex Earth.
Now you have successfully created a Civil 3D surface and you are ready to proceed to the next step and create a Section.
Step 2: Create a Section
To proceed with this feature, you will need to create a polyline vertical to your desired section.
After creating the Polyline, go to the Civil 3D Ribbon, and select Alignment and then Create Alignment from Objects. Select the Polyline you created and hit Enter. After that, choose the desired Alignment direction and hit Enter. On the Dialog Box that appears, make sure that you set the Alignment as a Centerline.
Then, you will need to generate a Sample Line from the Alignment you just created. Just select Sample Lines from the Civil 3D Ribbon on the Profile & Section Views Tab. On the Sample Line Tools that appear, you will have to set the stations you will use for your Sections.
You can create multiple stations for several sections you might need. If you want all of your terrain to appear in the section, make sure that you set the width of the sample line right and left, long enough to include the full of your terrain.
After finishing the Sample Lines, we can now create the desired Section. On the Profile & Section Views Tab of Civil 3D select Section Views and then Create Section View.
To the dialog box that pops up, you can select which station you will use for your section, from the ones you created previously. After that, you can adjust more options of your section, like the Offset Range, the Minimum and Maximum Height, etc but for this tutorial, we will leave the automatic values for these options, and proceed to create our Section View.
The last step is to choose where to place our Section View in our drawing and Civil 3D will automatically create the Section View requested. After that, you can repeat the process to create another section, using a different station.
With Plex Earth 5 you get quick access to georeferenced high-quality elevation data to create terrain models. Using these terrain models in the Civil 3D environment you can be benefitted from all the CAD tools offered for advanced surface analysis.
Actually, there are many more features waiting to be explored. Just try the fully-functional trial of Plex-Earth 5 and get to know its amazing capabilities.
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