Get Those Points Into a Database!

For those present and prior Land Desktop users, you know the importance of having points in a database. You can share the points among other users because the points are in the LDT project which is a database.  What do we do with Civil 3D? For those that have tried it, you know that you can add points from a drawing into a survey database. When I talk about this with people, some say, “I don’t do Survey so why should I go through setting up a Survey database?” My response to that statement is this; not only can you share points in a project or database environment, but you can protect the points that are in a database from accidentally being moved around as well. Without the use of points in a Survey database, the points are either in your drawing or not, it’s just that simple. “But setting up a Survey database is cumbersome for just needing to share points, isn’t it?” The answer is “No!” In this article, I will take you through the process of creating a Survey database and adding points that are in your drawing to that database. I will also show the differences in this process between Civil 3D 2009 and 2010.

To set up a Survey database in either version is exactly the same process. Go to the Survey tab of the toolspace, right click on “Survey Databases” and select “new local survey database” as seen below.

New Survey Database

New Survey Database

When prompted to enter a name for the database , it is a good idea to use a name that represents what the survey is relating to overall. For example, if you are creating a database for a town or a city, you may name the database after that town or city. After creating the database, you will need to create a network. A survey database can contain many networks. Instead of having a network that has the whole town of Gilbert in it, you could create a network for each piece of the town to make it easier to use. An example of a network used in this manner could be “Gilbert Road”, with a description of “From Baseline Rd to Warner Rd.” To create a new network, right click on networks and select “new” as seen below.


With a network created, now we can add points that exist in out drawing into the database. Let’s look at the differences on how to do this between 2009 and 2010. For 2009, right click on control points or non-control points and select “create from drawing” as seen below.


Those points that are in the drawing will now be added to the database.

The process for doing this in Civil 3D 2010 is very different, so let’s go over that now.

In 2010 there is a new item listed in the Survey database called “Import Events”. To add points from a drawing into the database, right click on “Import Events” and select “Import Survey Data”, as seen below.


In the Import Survey Data dialog box, specify the database you want the points to come into, or create a new database. Click the next button. You now have four choices to bring in data from as seen below.


For what we are doing, choose “points from drawing”, then click “select points in current drawing”. You will then be prompted to select points, either all, numbers, group, or selection. If you want all of the points in the database then select all. The import survey dialog box will display the number of points selected. Click the next button. Select the network you want the points to go into or create a new network. Verify your import option and click the finish button. Civil 3D will process the points and add them to your database. To add those points into a new drawing, in the survey tab, click on survey points, and drag and drop into the drawing area! It’s that simple!

Civil Infrastructure software is my main professional interest. Civil 3D, Infraworks, and Recap are what I work with mostly. I have been with CADsoft Consulting for over 10 years now. I got my start using Softdesk and AutoCAD R12 in DOS. My wife and I have four children and I am a die hard Red Sox fan.