OpenRoads Tip: 3D Elements from Survey Data

Written by:  Bob Mecham

OpenRoads Survey can automatically create 3D elements in your CAD file. Some uses are pipes, trees, and utility structures such as manholes and inlets or above-ground structures. This has multiple benefits.  This includes 3D graphics in the drawing which provides a foundation for BIM, clash detection, I-models and more.  Additionally, OpenRoads will display MicroStation solids, surfaces or mesh elements in both dynamic and graphic cross sections.

This is accomplished with a MVBA delivered by Bentley Systems. The provided samples can be used as a starting point to customize and automate the process for you.  Below is an example to illustrate one of many possibilities.

1. From the pull down menu Utilities > Macro > Project Manager.  The VBA Project Manager dialog will appear.

2. Open the Survey SmartObjects.mvba from the folder C:\ProgramData\Bentley\Civil\SurveyTools\8.11.9\macros\mvba

openroads survey 3d pipe mvba project manager

3. In the Project Explorer dialog on the Civil Standards tab expand the Project Settings > Survey > Settings

4. Right click the Survey Settings and from the pop up menu select Properties.

5. Expand the General Settings section of the dialog and set Use VBA Macros to True.

openroads survey 3d pipe mvba element information

6. Click on the ellipsis in the VBA Feature Macros to open the VBA Features Macros dialog.

7. Click the New icon in the VBA Features Macros dialog box.

8. Set the Object Type to Linear the Feature Definition to “CPM” ( culvert alpha code) and the VBA Macro keyin “Survey,Annotate,Pipe,22“. Trust me on that keyin string!

openroads survey 3d pipe mvba feature macros

9. Now import your raw survey data. When the code CPM is processed a 3D solid 22′ dia. pipe (delivered default) will be added to design file.

10. To assign real-world values to the pipe; identify the linear feature with the Element Selection tool and from the mini-toolbar; select Properties.

openroads survey 3d pipe mvba properties

11. In the Description field keyin the value 18.

openroads survey 3d pipe mvba description

12. The graphics require refreshing. Go to the Tasks > Civil Tools > Survey > Survey Processing > Redraw.

openroads survey 3d pipe mvba redraw openroads survey 3d pipe mvba solid

Note: OpenRoads cross sections will display any 3D MicroStation Solid, Surface or Mesh element that is displayed in the CAD file.

openroads survey 3d pipe mvba cross section

Contact us if you want to get more out of OpenRoads. We can provide MVBA routines that will model pipes (incorporating wall thickness) or the modeling of box culverts, utilities above and below ground, and other real-world features.

Bob Mecham

Bob Mecham

Bob joined the training and consulting firm EnvisionCAD in 2000 and became a partner in June of 2002. He has specialized in the software MicroStation & InRoads from Bentley Systems, Inc. Mr. Mecham is an industry expert in the implementation, configuration, development, and customization of the two software applications MicroStation and InRoads. Bob instructs MicroStation classes ranging from fundamentals to advanced productivity. He has extensive experience using, implementing, and instructing both InRoads Survey and InRoads Site Design. Bob received his degree in Civil Engineering Technology from the Madison Area Technical College in 1992 and has over a decade of experience in the use, implementation, and management of software and CADD systems. He has worked for a wide range of organizations providing services from general survey and engineering services to specific applications such as landfills and site design.

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