Do I Really Need Points in My Drawing?


Points. Those objects that we import or create. Most of the time points are imported from text files provided by surveyors. We have all seen the PNEZD format before, and could probably import points in our sleep! However, this raises the question that I titled this post after; do I really need points in my drawing? Most of the time, we import points because we intend to create a surface with them. We import points because we want to create a surface and show the existing contours, or we want to calculate volumes between existing and proposed conditions. Bottom line is that we mostly want points for surface creation. If this is indeed the case, we do not need to have or see a single point imported into our drawing! Oooh! I know! Pick me!…………….We could import the surface from an XML file!…………..True, but that surface needs to be created somehow and somewhere and in all likelihood was created with points. Hmm. Is there another way to create a surface without bringing the points in? Most definitely!

First, create the surface like you would normally do; right click on surfaces, choose create surface, give it a name, etc. Then, in the Prospector, expand the definition under the surface. Right click on “point files” and choose “add”, as shown in Figure 1.

Figure 1

Figure 1

This will bring you to the very familiar looking dialog box as shown in Figure 2.

Figure 2

Figure 2

Just like when importing points, browse out, select the file, and BOOM! Just like that, your surface has been created, and not a single point has been imported into your drawing! One key thing to remember about this technique, however, is that the point file will act somewhat like an xref. So, once you have created your surface, it is a good idea NOT to be moving the point file around. Creating a surface in this manner may keep you from ever needing to bring points into your drawing again. Unless, of course, you are the one that needs to edit those points because you are a surveyor! That’s another discussion for another day.

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.