OpenRoads Survey Tip: What is different with field coding in SS4?

Written by:  Bob Mecham

If you are coming from an InRoads, GEOPAK or MXROAD Survey coding system, OpenRoads technology necessitates some changes for how field data is collected. Being a surveyor myself I know how much surveyors enjoy change so I thought I would share some of these with you.

A big difference you will notice is that you can no longer use multiple linking codes. For an InRoads example, prior to OpenRoads, to start a line with a curve the control code would have been “ST PC”. That has now been defined by the single code, “SC”.  If you want to take a shot for a curve that is Non-Tangent the code would have been “PC NT” now it is “NTC.”  Just like before, these codes can be edited to your liking.  Below is a table of some changes and additions

Linking Codes

The Linking Code is one of three ways features can be connected in the field. Linking Codes provide the best and most robust options for completing the planimetrics as they look in the field. Linking Codes are placed after a Feature Code and should use the Alpha values. (upper or lower case).
Linking codes can be accessed from the Survey Settings under the Project Settings category of the Civil Standards tab.

Link Code Alpha Numeric Description InRoads SS2
None None 0 No Action Same Different New
Start ST 1 Begin Line ST
StartPC SC 2 Begin Line with Curve ST BC
ArcPC PC 3 Begin Curve PC
NonTanPC NTC 4 Nontangent Point of Curvature PC NT
ArcSingle SAP 5 One Point Curve SPC
ArcToArc CC 6 Reverse or Compound Curve NEW
NonTanPT NTT 7 Nontangent Point of Tangency PT NT
ArcPT PT 8 End Curve PT
ArcToggle OC* 9 Toggles between NonTanPC and NonTanPT NEW
End END 10 Ends Line (not required) NEW
CloseShape CS 11 Closes the figure by adding right angles to the both ends and extending til they intersect NEW
Close CL 12 Closes the line back to the point of beginning CL

Control Codes

Control Codes can draw additional planimetrics for circles, rectangles, and lines. They can also modify the location of observations by moving the final coordinate location. Control Codes must follow the Feature Code and only Alpha Control Codes are available.
If more than one Control Code is used it must be separated by a space. Dual coding features with Control Codes in the same line is not recommended as it applies the Control Code to both Feature Codes. For example, if you shoot an Overhead line (OH), and a Power Pole (PP), with the following Join Point (JPT) Control Code, (“PP OH JPT 1024”) you will get a line drawn from observation 1024 to both feature codes. One from the Power Pole and one for the Overhead Line.

Control codes can be accessed from the Survey Settings under the Project Settings category of the Civil Standards tab.

Control Codes Alpha Description InRoads SS2
  Same Different New
CircleDiameter CD* Places a circle based on the diameter value EXTARC
CircleRadius CR* Place a circle based on the radius value EXTARC
RectangleWidth RECT Places a rectangle based on two points and a distance value. Positive number goes right Negative number goes left. RECT
TapeDistance DIST Places a polygon based on two points and a distance value. A Positive number turns 90 degrees right a Negative number turns left 90 degrees. DIST
NewTemplate TMPL Template defines multiple survey features that are uniform in distance and elevation to each other. TMPL
Elevation LV* Sets the absolute elevation of the point. Can only be used on shots that are observed data. NEW
UpDown UD* Modify the elevation relative to the value observed. Can only be used on shots tahat are observed data. NEW
LeftRight LR* Modify the coordinate point Left (-) or Right (+) to the value observed. Can only be used on shots that are observed data. NEW
FrontBack FB* Modify the coordinate point Front (-) or Back (+) to the value observed. Can only be used on shots that are observed data. NEW
AttributeName AN* A method to define an Attribute to a point NEW
AttributeValue AV* A method to define a Value to a paired Attribute Name. NEW
TerrainSpot DS* Add to Terrain models as Spot RND
TerrainBreak DB* Add to Terrain model as a Breakline NEW
TerrainNoSpot DX* Do Not Include Spot in Terrain model. X
TerrainNoBreak DNC Do Not Include Breakline in Terrain model. X
Cross Section Removed Cross Section collection XS
Join Nearest Code Removed Join line to nearest code JPC
Add to Adjustment set Removed Add to adjustment set ADJ


One additional note; by default your Feature Code list cannot include Linking or Control Codes in the Feature code definitions.  For example STEPS will not work as desired because the first 2 letters (ST) will be interpreted as a control code.  There will be a lot of setup in your Survey Settings for OpenRoads and there are work-arounds for having linking codes in your feature codes.  For help getting your Survey resources configured correctly for efficient use, please contact us.

Bob Mecham

Bob is a partner at EnvisionCAD and is an industry expert in the implementation, configuration, instruction, development, and customization of both MicroStation and InRoads.


3 comments on “OpenRoads Survey Tip: What is different with field coding in SS4?

  1. Sean Duphily Reply

    Actually, the old codes can still be used in order to not disrupt field operations. This just needs the use of the Substitute Strings option found inside of Civil Standards -> Project Settings -> Survey -> -> inside of properties, Data File Parsing -> Substitute Strings. Make sure to set Use Substitute Strings to True.

    Also, I had put a request in to fix the STEPS feature code/control code mix up years ago and that functionality has been fixed.

    • Bob Mecham Reply

      Hi Sean,
      Thanks for the tip on using Substitute Strings to still be able to use the old codes.

      To get the STEP to work a configuration variable was added to force a space between feature code and linking code:


      If this variable is set, a space is required between the Linking Code and the Feature so the linking code is recognized and will not become part of the feature. Example, consider the case of STEP:

      If the variable not set: Read as Start EP (if ST is means Start)
      If the variable set: Read simply as feature STEP

  2. Chuck Rheault Reply

    The UD* LR* FB* codes are very similar to the InRoads +H +O and +D codes (+/- Height, +/- Offset and +/- Distance). They should be listed in Red as different instead of Blue as New.
    Also the JPT code can be problematic. If a SC code is used to start a curve and it includes a JPT to another point, Open Roads draws a curved line to the specified point. It appears to attempt to make it tangent to the new figure, which results in the creation of a semi-circle and not a straight line as InRoads (and Civil 3D) does. The only solution I have found is to add the start of a new figure, using a sequence number before the JPT.
    EPR ST PC JPT1510
    to get a straight line from the PC ST to the JPT point.
    Some dual codes are interpreted correctly. ST PC will get converted to SC

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *