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Using one alignment for multiple surfaces in a .VCL

  • 1.  Using one alignment for multiple surfaces in a .VCL

    Posted 10-25-2020 08:51

    Wondering is there anyway to associate 1 alignment with a .VCL file containing multiple surfaces. Our cofferdam design features multiple filter/material surfaces that all follow the same alignment. With lots of features and grade breaks it is important for the field crews to have access to the cross sections which I believe are only available in .PRO format so I need to recreate every single design (100+) as a .PRO. If I could utilize the cross section functionality of a .PRO within the .VCL file format allowing me to see the section of any selected design based on 1 alignment added to to the .VCL that would be awesome.


    Any help greatly appreciated.



  • 2.  Re: Using one alignment for multiple surfaces in a .VCL

    Posted 10-27-2020 19:04

    The VCL will allow you to export a number of surfaces plus a single HAL - you can only do that using the VCL export from the Export command. When you load that in Siteworks you can select the surface you want to work with and the alignment can be selected graphically and you will get Station Offset and Elevation to the surface, however unless the surface is defined as a corridor model you cannot get the cross section view for the model yet in Siteworks.


    If you create a corridor model from the surface using a surface instruction you shoukd be able to get the cross secrion view up - but unless it is defined as a corridor set of node instructions I don't think you will get any node features in the sections.


    I will post more on this tomorrow as ut is a good question as to how to get the best out of this type of info


    Be aware that VCL files will carry all dependent objects data so that the model can be recreated downstream - that means surfaces carry all the lines and points that maKe up the surface and if a surface tie is made that reference es the existing then the existing will be taken also - so the files can get large if you aren't careful.


    From my understanding Siteworks will only give you cross section view when the source surface is a corridor surface model. If it is a surface that is an alignment based surface or a surface only and an alignment you will not get the section view. I also don't believe that a surface made of breaklines that is added to a corridornas a surface instruction will give you the breakline nodes as named nodes - you will only get named nodes when the corridor has node instructions in the template.


    If you want to share the data with me I can experiment with it to give you the best result




  • 3.  Re: Using one alignment for multiple surfaces in a .VCL

    Posted 10-30-2020 17:30

    Thank you for the reply Alan. I will email you the data right away. I was hoping to be able to see the cross sections without having to recreate each design as a corridor as I would never be able to keep up with the constant revisions & updates. It would be great if the functionality could be added for regular surfaces just like the surface slicer in TBC but bind it to the alignment ensuring the cross section is always perpendicular to the alignment itself.



  • 4.  Re: Using one alignment for multiple surfaces in a .VCL

    Posted 10-31-2020 20:51

    Rory and I traded a few emails on this today - here is the content of the emails that I sent him after reviewing the model data and the best approach to take.



    I have started to look at the data and what I am seeing is basically what I posted on line the other day.
    Siteworks today will display a Cross Section View of a model only when it is set up as a Corridor. To do that with this data you can create an alignment from the centerline of the dam that you sent to me (Use Existing Line) and then create a template and add one instruction - a Surface Instruction that references one of the surfaces of the Dam. You can then select the Corridor Model from the Project Explorer and export that as a VCL file into a Design folder in the "Designs" folder for Siteworks. That will take the HAL/VAL plus the Corridor Surface and create a VCL file. 
    If you dont need all the Corridors in the TBC Project (one for each surface, then all I would do is change the surface referenced in the Corridor Template and write out a new corridor as a VCL to another Designs Folder for Siteworks and repeat for each surface in your model. While you have 36 Surfaces, I see that many of them have a (2) after the name so I assume that is a Rev 2 Surface etc. so then you have 18 surfaces that appear to be getting revised - so the worst case if you need the corridors then you may need to create 18 corridors and then simply change the surface  in the surface instruction if / when the surface is revised and then re write the VCL Design for the field users.
    If you output all of the surfaces and a single alignment to a VCL then the field users can select the surface and the alignment for staking / checking and they will get the 3D view and the plan view but no section view
    I looked further into this and my advice is to stick with the Construction Data Export and use the Road Surface Model which will create the PRO File for Corridors - you can set up your Corridors as per the last email using a surface instruction for the surface in question and then run the Design Export from the Construction Data menu and use the Road Surface Model Option - select the corridor and that will give you the best result by far. You can see all the surface Break Points and all of the surface segments and use the full Road Staking capabilities.
    The PRO is very stable and works well
    The downside here is that you will need to do one of the following
    1) If you use the Surface Instruction and just change the Surface that you are referencing, because you are using the Design exporter, the Design in the project is linked to the design written to the field, so if the project version changes it will update the design for the devices automatically. If you only want one design on the controller and want to change the surface to suit the work you are doing, this will be an OK approach, 
    2) However if you need to be able to change designs on the controller, then you will need to create a different corridor for each surface that you want as a design. However this approach, once you have set up all the corridors - each with a single surface instruction, will enable you to rapidly change the instruction to point at a new revision of the surface and that will automatically update the controller files in the Sync Folder for next time they sync up. This would be my preferred way to manage this.
    The corridors can all use the same Alignment, each only needs a simple Template with a single Surface Instruction in it and you will be good to go.
    While not able to support Multiple Corridor Surfaces in one model, this will at least give you the Plan, 3D and Sectional View.
    Hope that this helps - I hope that one day they will support 3D View Linework and also VCL files for Corridors and Material Layers. The whole point of moving to VCL was to provide better / smarter data to the field.  
    I hope that this helps
    I always use the create site / create design workflow and I don't really understand why you think it is convoluted - it puts the data in the right place and in the right formats and all it is is select what type of model you want and select the linework - what is easier in selecting an export, browsing to the right folder, creating a new folder in the right place, selecting the right format, selecting the right data and pressing export and then doing it all again for a dxf linework file?
    With SCS / Siteworks because the data can be a TTM surface or a PRO model for a road / Dam etc and the linework is a dxf and because you can send eg one surface plus many alignments or one alignment and many surfaces and now they also added vcl the more structured approach to create the design is doing what you are asking for in an export 
    The only difference is that an export does not associate the project data to a design or track the project data for changes - where's as the site and design process does - and I guess I really like that feature because it warns me and takes care of design revisions for me keeping my field teams up to date.
    I would really recommend its use over any other method especially on big projects like yours.
    I guess we all have different perspectives though so do what you are most comfortable with!