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 CodeAlphaNumericDescriptionInRoads SS2
NoneNone0No ActionSame Different New
StartST1Begin LineST
StartPCSC2Begin Line with CurveST BC
ArcPCPC3Begin CurvePC
NonTanPCNTC4Nontangent Point of CurvaturePC NT
ArcSingleSAP5One Point CurveSPC
ArcToArcCC6Reverse or Compound CurveNEW
NonTanPTNTT7Nontangent Point of TangencyPT NT
ArcPTPT8End CurvePT
ArcToggleOC*9Toggles between NonTanPC and NonTanPTNEW
EndEND10Ends Line (not required)NEW
CloseShapeCS11Closes the figure by adding right angles to the both ends and extending til they intersectNEW
CloseCL12Closes the line back to the point of beginningCL

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 CodesAlphaDescriptionInRoads SS2
 Same Different New
CircleDiameterCD*Places a circle based on the diameter valueEXTARC
CircleRadiusCR*Place a circle based on the radius valueEXTARC
RectangleWidthRECTPlaces a rectangle based on two points and a distance value. Positive number goes right Negative number goes left.RECT
TapeDistanceDISTPlaces 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
NewTemplateTMPLTemplate defines multiple survey features that are uniform in distance and elevation to each other.TMPL
ElevationLV*Sets the absolute elevation of the point. Can only be used on shots that are observed data.NEW
UpDownUD* Modify the elevation relative to the value observed. Can only be used on shots tahat are observed data.NEW
LeftRightLR*Modify the coordinate point Left (-) or Right (+) to the value observed. Can only be used on shots that are observed data.NEW
FrontBackFB*Modify the coordinate point Front (-) or Back (+) to the value observed. Can only be used on shots that are observed data.NEW
AttributeNameAN*A method to define an Attribute to a pointNEW
AttributeValueAV*A method to define a Value to a paired Attribute Name.NEW
TerrainSpotDS*Add to Terrain models as SpotRND
TerrainBreakDB*Add to Terrain model as a BreaklineNEW
TerrainNoSpotDX*Do Not Include Spot in Terrain model.X
TerrainNoBreakDNCDo Not Include Breakline in Terrain model.X
Cross SectionRemovedCross Section collectionXS
Join Nearest CodeRemovedJoin line to nearest codeJPC
Add to Adjustment setRemovedAdd to adjustment setADJ


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

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