Civil 3D 2018 is here, and it has some great new features built in.
As with every new version, Civil 3D users need to pay close attention to the file format and compatibility so that they don’t accidentally make the file unusable for themselves, or for consultants and clients they are working with. Let’s take a look at how compatible Civil 3D 2018 is with previous versions.
Is Civil 3D 2018 Backwards Compatible?
The short answer is NO, it is not. Vanilla AutoCAD 2018, however, is backwards compatible. Well, sort of.
What Does 2018 Mean for Vanilla AutoCAD Users?
Traditionally, since AutoCAD version 2000, Autodesk has changed its DWG file format after three versions. Since 2013, however, Autodesk decided to keep the same DWG format (AC1027) for 5 versions, until they finally decided to give AutoCAD 2018 a new DWG format (AC1032). The chart below shows the various DWG formats throughout the years:
Essentially, this means that if you save a drawing file in 2018, it will not be compatible with previous versions. That said, you can use the “SAVEAS” command to save to a previous format – which will make the drawing file backward compatible.
Just keep in mind this is only for vanilla AutoCAD (opening AutoCAD or Civil 3D AutoCAD 2018). Civil 3D is not backward compatible no matter how you save it.
What Does This Mean for Civil 3D Users?
Let’s say you have a Civil 3D 2018 drawing file. You can open that file in Civil 3D 2018 and save it there. As expected, you will be able to use all Civil 3D objects as normal; but if you try to open that drawing file in Civil 3D 2017 (or an earlier version) after saving it in a Civil 3D 2018 you get this message:
If you click OK, the Civil 3D objects will be transformed into proxy objects, which basically means profiles, alignments, and surfaces will be more like a block. You will lose the ability to edit and update them using Civil 3D tools.
Why Did This Happen?
Similar to Civil 3D 2017, Autodesk made the decision to update their objects for the 2018 release with custom and AEC objects of vertical and 3rd party products. This will hopefully enable them to implement improvements in the initial release, as well as provide the platform with some new features on the horizon.
How Does This Affect Me?
If you are working on a project in earlier releases, keep the files with those versions until you are ready to move the entire project to the newest version. Just be prepared for when you save a file in the Civil 3D 2018 format; plan on keeping it there.
The Request for Proposal is a lot like a first date. It becomes the first impression for a relationship we hope will be valuable for both parties. Like any relationship, communication is the key to success. That is probably more evident in the RFP than anywhere else in the project.
Here’s a common scenario: You have a project that was designed on a local coordinate system. You try to bring in imagery or GIS data into the project, but they aren’t inserting in at the correct location. So you move, scale and rotate the imagery to line up correctly.
Stop. There are better Civil 3D workflows that do this for you.
One of the most confusing aspects of bringing data together from different sources is the varying coordinate systems, or lack thereof. Fortunately, most designers, drafters, and engineers don’t have to dive too deep into the world of Geodesy–they just need to understand the basics of Civil 3D coordinate systems for their projects.
It’s a new year, and that means lots of new changes for AutoCAD users. Let’s take a look at how Civil 3D has been tweaked over the last year.
The USGS (United States Geological Survey) has been collecting data for mapping for years, and they make that data available to the public. One of those is the National Elevation Dataset. The USGS has Digital Elevation models of a large part of the US available at various scales. While the data is generally too large-scale for serious design purposes, the data can be pretty useful for planning and preliminary work. The challenge can be finding it and then using it in Civil 3D.
For many years, CAD data and Geographic Information System (GIS) data have lived in different worlds. As private and public organizations across the globe are working hard to geospatially locate everything on the planet, these two worlds are quickly merging. Even better, all this data is becoming more accessible to the public, and it’s free in many cases.
Did you ever receive AutoCAD Map 3D when all you wanted was AutoCAD? It typically happens because of different promotions and pricing, much to come customers’ chagrin. Those vintage AutoCAD commands are all some people want. While there is an AutoCAD workspace, Map 3D out of the box doesn’t have the 3D modeling workspace. Reverting to the original AutoCAD is still possible, though.
The Stage Storage Tool in Civil 3D is a great time-saving tool to help calculate the storage capacity of existing or proposed basins. It can be used either with Civil 3D surfaces or with polyline contours, and you’ll no longer have to create multiple surfaces to get the same outcome!
Wanna Learn more? Watch our video explaining the ins and the outs of the tool with live action.
The Productivity tools for AutoCAD 2017 were released last month under the name “Russia Productivity Tools for AutoCAD® Civil 3D® 2017.” I don’t work too much on Russian projects, so what’s this all about? Well, it’s actually called Autodesk Cartogramma Utility when you go to the installer. But the point is, these productivity tools are referred to as such for a reason. Civil 3D just became more reliable and easier to navigate.