Saturday, June 30, 2007

Five Stages of Civil3Disillusion

This week I was working on some GIS data for a friend and a potential client. I had my google earth image, my google earth surface, a FEMA floodmap, soils information and land cover datasets all beautifully in place in Delaware State Plane coordinates.

I went to import the Sussex County Parcel boundaries and they came in somewhere in Ohio, which reminded me of the Five Stages of Civil3Disillusion. While the example here is Map related data, the same stages apply for any Civil 3D task you can think of.

Denial : "This dataset must be crap"

You instantly get on the Delaware Geospatial Data Committee newslist and compose an email proclaiming that while the website says that these parcels are referenced to DE83, they are obviously lying. You tried stripping out the .prj file and assigning several other coordinate systems (DE83F, UTM83-18N, etc, etc) and none of them work. You received about 10 responses from very intellegent people that all said they tried the dataset in various software packages from ESRI through Map 3D 2007 and they all worked. On to the next step...

Anger : "The Freaking Program must be crap"

Obviously, it must be Civil 3D's problem. You never really get past this stage in all honesty. Though you may progress and eventually reach the acceptance stage, the mean and scathing direct emails sent to Autodesk QA will always stick with you as the real reason for the problem.

Bargaining : "If I tell you what you want to hear, will you just get me close so I can finish the project?"

Sweet talking Civil 3D works on occasion. Pat it, stroke it. Add more ram, update your video card, play into its vices. Swear you will always follow the Parcel Rules, that your profiles will always be as long as your alignments and you will never complain about the lack of tags for general line labels. You remove the explode command from your CUI all together.

Depression : "I'm way too stupid to learn this program. I give up."

You follow the rules. You work with the toolspace. You watch the webcasts. You still can't find the place to set the code set style to an assembly or figure out how to use otrack to draw an arc in deed recreation. You post a few cries for help on the Autodesk Discussion Groups and are told to RTFM. Autodesk Support tells you it is a known issue and to just get over it. You take out the DVD and try to break it over your knee but realize you are so weak from spending all of these months in front of your computer that you can't break it in half. You try to uninstall it, but it won't let you. In a last ditch moment of desperation, you post to the Swamp. Someone reaches out of the mire to remind you that you are not alone. Thank heaven for the Swamp.

Acceptance : "The problem is between the seat and the keyboard."

After a few days, you take another stab at a fresh project. Your corridor builds like a dream and you save the client some money by moving the road around a high spot that you may not have noticed if you were using Land Desktop. Though your GIS data is still hopelessly lost in space, you realize that this minor setback is a drop in the bucket compared to what you have gained.

After a few days, you reenter the cycle by making a dynamic block that includes annotative objects and building it into a parcel label style.


Anonymous said...

Loved it.
2 thumbs up.

Anonymous said...

Yeah. User error. It's always user error isn't it. For once I would like to see you and other bloggers admit that Civil 3D is THE buggiest piece of software ever unleashed upon the CAD world. This post of yours only shows that you are living in a dream world.

Dana said...

I never said it was user error. The fact remains that my data is still out in left field, but I have just decided that the bug (if there is one in this case) is not something that is going to ruin my life. If you think that I don't admit Civil 3D has annoying bugs, you obviously don't read enough of my posts, either here or on :) Mostly, bugs and ugliness and all, I still think it is worth it. Thanks for your comment!

And dude, this post is not meant to be taken seriously.

Anonymous said...

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I've been expanding my techie horizons lately and getting into some of the virtual construction stuff. I come back to it a lot!

Best wishes,