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.

Friday, June 15, 2007

Happy Bloomsday?

I'm trying to get smart... catching up on the classics, you know- Dickens, Tolstoy, the Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy, Shakespeare, etc.

One of the books on the list is Ulysses. OK, it isn't just on the list. It's been on my shelf for about 5 years now just waiting for me to crack it open.

I guess tomorrow is the day I should start according to this article written by a guy I went to grade school with.

Sevenfold Path to the True Meaning of Bloomsday

Intersection Design

If you are looking for some information about how to model and intersection in Civil 3D, check out this link:
and this one, too.

Tuesday, June 12, 2007

Sites and Snakes

On my way in to teach at Cadapult this AM, I saw a big ol' black snake in the parking lot. Kevin, the architecture AE and my hero, threw his shoe at it. The snake reacted by slithering under Kevin's car, which made Kevin very happy.

Friday, June 08, 2007

Still Alive

Though rumors have been flying and the occasional shrine erected, I have not fallen off the face of the earth.

Just got in today from Bel Air, MD (on the "other" side of the Chesapeake) and in the past six weeks I've been to Chicago, Ramsey, NJ, Lancaster, PA, and all points down I-95 and Route 1 in Delaware. I'm beat. Mix in wrapping up the last edits and tweaks of our book, throw in a moderate amount of gestation and the occasional nap, and that makes for a very unbloggerific mood. I'll be back soon...

Just a note that June 3rd marked the one year anniversary of the blog post that changed my life. Ha.