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I am getting more and more questions relating to Trimble Access, and Roading especially so I am starting this Blog to try and capture the issues and responses and other useful tools to assist all you Contractors using Access out there.

 

I am not the expert on Trimble Access, it has been a while since I really used the product, however through discussions with the Geospatial team and being provided answers to some questions internally I will try to add some value here for you also. If you have input on any subject raised, please feel free to add detail to this Blog post.

 

Starting this am, I was asked a question about the support for Bentley MX GENIO Files in Trimble Access - the customer was provided a large GENIO file that imported fine into TBC yet would not open in Access. I have currently recommended that he take the GENIO File through TBC and use the Export Option under Corridor called Trimble Access Road Strings to re-export it to a new GENIO File for use on Access. 

 

The reason it may be failing could be that it is too large to open on the device the customer is using. Failing that it could be that the GENIO file has some issue that Access doesn't like, so washing the file through TBC may resolve the issue. Failing that I guess I will be looking at the file tomorrow to see whats up ....

 

The Geospatial Team provided the enclosed Manuals as a reference - I am posting them here as they may also be helpful to others out there - I have not read these yet so I cannot comment further at this point.

 

Hope that this helps - I have an action to work through the RXL Export process, but this is not used by the CEC Products so it is not my highest priority right now, but I hope to get to that for you next week and I will make some comments on that at that time.

 

Alan

If you import iModels from Bentley and create "Component Mesh" objects, or import IFC data and create "BIM Objects" in TBC, and you need to create Points from e.g. the Corners of the solid objects, you can do this using Create From Cad command and select the CAD Points Option (this is the only one that works and I have asked development to change the text to CAD Points / Solid Objects because it is not at all obvious that this would be the option to select (but it is in the Help System!) 

 

Anyhow -I found this out this morning and I thought I would share

 

Alan

Installation and Operational Problems with TBC

The following list are things that you can always try to resolve problems with TBC Installation or Operation. Below that you will find some typical support cases that have been raised and any remedies that are known to have worked in similar cases. 

 

Please note that on the Forum I am committed to helping you with technical issues relating to use of the software. While I can try to help you with specific problems relating to failed installations or specific PC configuration issues or network license installations, I am really not the right person to assist you. All such issues should be raised with your SITECH Dealer and have them work with Trimble Support to resolve the issue. SOme of these can take significant time to resolve because they are often unique to your computer, network, IT policies etc. and the state of update of your computer etc.

 

Solutions to Common PC Problems Checklist

  • Run the TBC Cleanup Utility to scrub prior versions of the application from your computer. This helps to eliminate duplications of tools from different versions being present and also clean and scrubs the registry to give you a completely clean start. The cleanup Utility can be found at the following link

   

Click here for the Cleanup Utility Link

 

  • De-install and Reinstall Trimble Business Center – use Control Panel – Add / Remove Programs to remove TBC and components installed with TBC including
    1. Trimble Business Center
    2. Business Center - HCE
    3. Trimble SCS Data Manager
    4. Trimble Office Synchronizer
    5. Trimble Feature Definition Manager
    6. Trimble Coordinate System Manager
    7. Trimble Data tdupload
  • Update your Windows OS using Windows Update – install all drivers and updates possible. As the software becomes more and more sophisticated, the need to have all of the latest Windows Drivers and Updates becomes more important. Like any product we use third party tools in the solution, and some more than others are sensitive to latest Windows Tools. Note in some companies, including Trimble here, the corporate IT may suppress Windows Update so that you only get a subset of Windows Updates. Run the Full Windows Update Tool yourself to go out on the web to check for all updates. I just did this personally and was shocked at what I had missed over the past year or so since getting a new PC.
  • Update your Graphics Driver(s). If you are having Graphics Issues of any kind, then updating the Graphics Drivers is also important.
  • De-install the Intel Graphics Driver and leave e.g. your Nvidia Driver only. I personally do not do this, however some people swear by this to improve graphics performance or to solve graphics problems. TBC should just use the best available, but I guess some combinations behave differently to others.
  • Update your computer’s BIOS (manufacturers website / support)
  • Check with your computer supplier e.g. Dell for system Drivers and Updates for your PC Model
  • Update your Windows to Windows 10 – if you are running an older OS, while not prohibitive in most cases, upgrading to Windows 10 will help you a lot. Also running 64 Bit OS will also help you significantly. Continuing to run an Old OS will cause more and more problems as time moves on.
  • Run the .Net Framework Update from the Install Folder on the Installation Package for TBC. We have found that Windows 10 for example installs .Net Framework by default now, and manages it’s updates through Windows Update, and therefore blocks the Installer in some cases from installing the .Net Framework Package. You can typically ignore the error during installation and continue to install the software and it will typically operate fine when the install is completed.
  • Download the installation again as there may be some corruption in the downloaded files. We appreciate that the full installation package is large and takes time to download, especially on slow connections. However, we also know that slow connections are often the cause of file corruption. So if the installation did not work, sometimes downloading it again fixes the problems. TBC v5 can be downloaded from the following link

 

Click Here for the TBC v5 Download Location on Trimble.com

 

  • We have also had a number of support cases where installations failed because people were installing off a Network Drive or Peripheral Device (Backup Drive or USB Stick etc.). We recommend making a copy of the installation package on your local PC and running the installation from there to minimize the likelihood of this type of issue from occurring.

 

Important

If the notes in any of the following Problem Cases do resolve your issues, can you please send me a notification that this was the case, so that we can strengthen this support note in our system for others with the same issue. Often we suggest to people that this may be a solution and we can only assume that it worked because we don’t hear from them again. It is always good for us to hear back that you are up and running and problem got resolved. We can then also close out the support case on our systems.

 

Thanks

 

Alan Sharp (alan_sharp@trimble.com)

Alan Sharp

TBC v5.0 Useful Resources

Posted by Alan Sharp Jan 7, 2019

In this Blog I am going to post any useful resources including the following types of information

 

  • Custom Menu Ribbons
  • Custom Project Templates
  • Custom Reports
  • Custom Drafting Templates
  • Custom MSI Libraries
  • Custom Color Maps for Cut Fill and Elevation Maps

 

Please email any requests or comments on the content to me at alan_sharp@trimble.com so that we can keep these "Master Blogs" clean and free of comments, so that they remain easy to use and find the materials that you need. I will endeavor to keep these updated in this central location so that the latest versions will always be here for you. The Table Below will keep a record of updates made and dates of update etc.

 

Resource TypeUpdated OnReason For Update
Custom Menu RibbonsJan 7th 2019TBC v5 Viewer Only Menu
Custom Project Templates
Custom MSI Libraries
Custom Drafting Templates (US Feet) (ARCH)
Custom Drafting Templates (US Feet) (ANSI)
Custom Drafting Templates (Metric)
Custom Reports
Custom Color Maps (US Feet)Jan 7th 2019Uploaded Cut Fill Map and Elevation Map examples
Custom Color Maps (Metric)Jan 7th 2019Uploaded Cut Fill Map examples. For Elevation examples download the US Foot examples and edit the files using Notepad, substituting the Elevation values for metric values.

After the Drafting Webinar this week, I decided to capture the webinar as a series of shorter training videos and to provide you with a set of downloadable items that give you the building blocks to create your own Project Template and  Drafting Templates. This Blog Post covers the materials delivered in the Drafting Webinar.

 

As discussed in the Webinar, there are three main steps to successful use of the Advanced Drafting Capabilities

 

  1. Creation, continuous management and use of a good Project Template
  2. Creation, continuous management and use of a good Layer and Layer Group setup complete with view filters that combine the layers into views that you will typically use for drawing creation
  3. Creation, continuous management and use of a good Drafting Template (set of Templates) for the paper sizes that you typically use (for Paper or PDF output)

 

Project Templates

The Video below covers this in detail and incorporates a short PowerPoint overview as well as a more detailed walk through all of the setup elements you should manage in your Project Templates

 

 

The attachments to this post include the following

 

  • The Default Project Template (US Feet) that was shown in the video. 

 

The Project Template should be placed in your Templates folder for your TBC installation. You can determine the path to the Project Templates folder from the Support Menu Ribbon, the Options Command and look for File Locations and then Template Folder. The path will be something similar this

 

C:\Users\UserName\AppData\Roaming\Trimble\Trimble Business Center Survey\30.0\

 

 

Copy the provided .vct Template file into the path shown using File Explorer.

 

View Filters and Selection Sets

In the following video I cover how to set up View Filters for the purposes of Advanced Drafting. Many of these can be preset and saved in your Project Template. The following should be understood when defining View Filters.

 

  1. In your Plan View you have a lot of objects placed on a large number of layers that represent many aspects of your project including Existing Conditions, Design Model, Demolition Model, Bridge Model, Cut Fill Maps etc. Each set of data may be something that you need to create drawings for. Creating a View Filter that captures the combinations of layers that you want to produce drawings for is the basis for the "Sheet - View Filters"
  2. A View Filter can be supplemented by a Selection Set. For example you have 10 layers of information that make up a drawing that you need to create. However, on one or more of the layers there is data that you want to exclude from the drawing you want to create, but there is also data on that same layer that you want in the drawing. You have two options on how to manage this
    1. Split the data onto two different layers. Have one of the layers in the view filter and one of the layers out of the view filter.
    2. Make a Selection Set of the data that you want to exclude from the drawing. Add that selection set to the View Filter that will be used to create the drawing. Set the Selection Set to "Hide members of selected"  so that those objects are excluded from the View Filter. (Note: There is a defect in TBC v5 that is prohibiting this from working today)
    3. When you create Sheet Content based on information in another view (Plan, Profile, Sheet, Superelevation, Station and Offset view etc.) you will use a Dynaview or Dynaview Collection to achieve that. The Dynaview utilizes a "Drawing Frame" to create a window on the data for the drawing sheet. The Dynaview has a set of properties, one of which is the View Filter to be used to create the selection of objects that will be drawn / seen in the Window / Drawing Frame on the Sheet Layout. The Dynaview frame will clip the reference data at the frame edges. 
    4. In the Sheet View, provided the Dynaview Layer is visible the content of the Dynaview will be visible, regardless of whether the source data layers are visible or not.
    5. However the Sheet View will require that all of the "Sheet / Drafting Template Layers" that you also want to plot are also visible.  This means the layers that are used for the Sheet Borders, Title Boxes and Content etc. Creation of a View Filter that can be applied to the Sheet View is an important step in drawing creation. 
    6. Remember - The Dynaviews placed on a drawing sheet each have their own View Filter, and the Sheet View itself has a different View Filter. You can use the "All" view Filter in the Sheet View in most cases since the bulk of the content will be in Dynaviews and those are controlled by the View Filter applied to the Dynaviews. 

 

The following Video reviews the use of View Filters and Selection Sets

 

 

Drafting Templates

The next step in the Drafting Process is the Creation, Management and Use of your Drafting Templates. Creating a good Drafting Template takes time and likely a number of iterations before you get it as you really need it. To that end we have created some rafting Templates that serve as a good starting point for you to evolve your own solutions. The provided Templates will at some point be rationalized so that they all have the same approach, I apologize that they are not all created in the same way at this point. The ANSI and AX (Metric) Sheet Size Templates where we had all Sheets of All Sizes in a single template are the oldest templates that we created and we have improved the Templates significantly in the AX (Metric) and ARCH size sheet templates where we have only one paper size per planset. We will recreate the ANSI size sheets in that same structure over the next few weeks.

 

The following video provides an overview of the ARCH Sheet setup, and shows you how you can modify the company logo that is used on the sheet, and provides recommendations as to how you can go about modifying these layouts to make them better suit your purposes.

 

 

Recommendation

If you can keep your Title Sheet Set and Other Sheet Sets with the same size of Titles area (Stamp) then you can place much of the Title Box information on the Planset Master and let it ripple down through all of the Sheet Sets. In the example shown, the customer request was that the Title Sheet had a different size Title Area and quite different content to the other sheet sets and as a result, the Template is a little harder to manage, as you now have to have all of the Sheet Sets with their own Title Area definitions.

 

Manage all of your Layers, Layer Groups, Text Styles etc centrally and be rigorous about setting those up once for all purposes. Refine these continuously to get the look and feel that you want for your Plansets. Be consistent with Text Fonts, Text Sizing and Text Justification etc. to create a uniformity to your Sheet Sets. 

 

Always create a backup of your Masters once created to protect against data corruption in use or inadvertent deletions of information.

 

Drafting Template Setup For Road Based Data (Profiles, Sections and Plan / Profile Sheets)

 

The following data has been provided for you as a tool to help you build your Road Based Drafting Templates. Both metric and example data has been provided.

 

  1. Metric Road project including utility reference lines (Use for Metric Drafting Template updates)
  2. US Feet Road project including utility reference lines (Use for US Feet Drafting Template updates)

 

The following Templates are already included with your TBC v5 Installation. They can be found in the Drafting templates Folder. 

 

Metric Templates

  1. Metric Sheet Template (All Sizes and Types).vcl (Uses the Your Logo Goes Here (V).png Logo)
  2. A0 Planset (Landscape) (ENG).vcl (Uses the Your Logo Goes Here.jpg Logo)
  3. A1 Planset (Landscape) (ENG).vcl (Uses the Your Logo Goes Here.jpg Logo)
  4. A2 Planset (Landscape) (ENG).vcl (Uses the Your Logo Goes Here.jpg Logo)
  5. A3 Planset (Landscape) (ENG).vcl (Uses the Your Logo Goes Here.jpg Logo)
  6. A4 Planset (Landscape) (ENG).vcl (Uses the Your Logo Goes Here.jpg Logo)
  7. A4 Planset (Portrait) (ENG).vcl (Uses the Your Logo Goes Here.jpg Logo)

 

US Feet Templates

  1. ANSI Sheet Template (All Sizes and Types).vcl (Uses the Your Logo Goes Here (V).png Logo)
  2. Feet - Arch A (9 x 12) Planset (Landscape).vcl (Uses the Your Logo Goes Here.jpg Logo)
  3. Feet - Arch B (12 x 18) Planset (Landscape).vcl (Uses the Your Logo Goes Here.jpg Logo)
  4. Feet - Arch C (18 x 24) Planset (Landscape).vcl (Uses the Your Logo Goes Here.jpg Logo)
  5. Feet - Arch D (24 x 36) Planset (Landscape).vcl (Uses the Your Logo Goes Here.jpg Logo)
  6. Feet - Arch E (36 x 48) Planset (Landscape).vcl (Uses the Your Logo Goes Here.jpg Logo)

 

In addition, to assist in the computation of the Sheet Layout parameters for Sections, Profiles and Plan and Profile Sheets, the Excel File named BC-HCE Sheet Layout Calculator.xls has been provided in the same location of your TBC v5 installation.

 

There are additional Sheet Layout Drafting Templates in this location, however the above have been set up in line with the videos captured in this Blog Post.

 

Drafting Templates and Road Based Data

When working with Profiles, Cross Sections and Plan / Profile Sheets, based on alignment and corridor model data, the setup of the Drafting Template requires that you have Road Data in the Project in order to create a Sheet of Road based data that allows you to establish the settings required to drive the creation of these types of drawings. In the video below, I review the setup and common edits that you may want to make to Road Based drawing Sheet templates. At the end of the video I show you how to "clean out" your project and export an updated Drafting Template.

 

 

Drafting Templates and Site Model Data

When working with Site Model data, you will be using Dynaviews and Dynaview Collections to create the framed areas that you will place on your drawing sheets. In the next video we will show you how to create those Dynaviews and Dynaview Collections, and how they are used to drive the Sheet Layout Process. In the examples we will show you how to create a single sheet plot at "whatever scale works" for e.g. a Cut Fill Map and also a multiple sheet layout at a specified scale that will create you multiple sheet outputs using your drafting template.

 

Mixed Sheet Layout For Site Projects

When working with Site Model data, I am often asked how I can use the Sheet layout tools to create a single sheet that contains for example a Cut Fill Map, a 3D View, a Cut Fill Map Legend and maybe some site photos or even a sample of cross sections or a specific ground profile through the project along a defined baseline etc. In the next video we will show you how to achieve that using the provided drafting templates.

 

Printing PDF Drawing Sheets

The final step of producing the final drawing output for a project is executed using the Print Plan Set command. This allows you to select any single sheet, an entire Sheet Set or an Entire Plan Set or any combination to a PDF File or a Plotter / Printer. The final video shows the entire process of creating Single or Multiple Sheets for a Plan Set, how to add other drawing elements to the drawing sheet, and then running the output to a PDF Planset that you can deliver to your client, project owner or other corporate department.

 

 

For those that may want to review some other areas of the Drafting Workflow, I have posted the Powerpoint Video that accompanies this webinar content in the attachments section below.

 

If you have any questions on the materials posted here, please don't hesitate to ask for more information or assistance.

 

Thanks and Happy Drafting!

 

Alan

 

For all of you that have become daily readers / posters on the TBC for Construction Forum, I would like to thank you for your enthusiasm and motivation about the product and for learning / absorbing through this forum.

 

When I was asked to help kick start this in June, I did not know where this would end up, we are seeing an incredible growth in participation and daily communication and both Q&A as well as Feature Enhancement Requests and Feedback. 

 

For me it is great interacting with you all and getting / gathering your input, there have been a few surprises along the way for sure, but we hope that this "2 way street" is helpful and informative for you and in 6 months we for sure have built up a lot of great information that has been useful to many users so far. I believe that collectively we have made this a success and I look forward to continuing this in the New Year. Thank you to all of those that are helping other users out there through your own responses - our goals for the Forum are that either all the questions have been asked and answered or that as a user community you will help each other more and more through the sharing of ideas, successes and hopefully not so many failures - someone once said if you never failed you can't have been trying that hard ! ....

 

I am heading out for Christmas PTO starting Thursday 20th Dec and will be back at work on Jan 4th. Others in the team may pick up on some requests over the Christmas Period, however I will for sure get back on this in the New Year. Apologies if the delay in responses causes any production issues for you, if it is causing issues, please contact your local SITECH dealer and have them work with Trimble Support to get you answers or assistance as needed.

 

I am looking forward to 2019, we are planning 2x PUG Conferences in Colorado - one in the Spring and one in the Autumn, and we are planning some regional activities also with the same type of theme. If you have ideas for things that you would like to learn, discuss etc at such an event, please let me know in response to this post and I will take all input into consideration as we put together the agenda and plans for the events.

 

On behalf of Trimble and the entire TBC Product Management, Development, and Sales Team i want to take this opportunity to thank you all for your continued business, support, enthusiasm and interest in TBC and other Trimble products, and we look forward to worming even closer with you all in 2019. Have a great Christmas and a Happy New Year.

 

Don't forget to ask Santa for that extra license of TBC and especially a Logitech G600 (or similar) Gaming Mouse - my favorite thing from 2018 (and I think the biggest addition to my personal TBC productivity)

 

Happy Modeling

 

Alan

Alan Sharp

Drafting Tools in TBC v5.0

Posted by Alan Sharp Dec 11, 2018

In this Blog I will start to capture "How Tos" for Drafting in TBC.

 

Point Labeling is a common request in TBC. There are two ways to Label Points in TBC. The first is a "Quick and Dirty" method, and is not designed for final drawing production. In the View Filter Manager you can turn on Point Id, Point Code / Description and Elevation values. This is designed to give you point data on screen that you can use before getting to your final drawing production. The size of the text here is defined in Support - Options and then the Object Labels font and size selection. It defaults to 10 point Font. You may want to make that e.g. 8 point Font. When placed, this text changes in size so that it is always 8 point font no matter what scale or zoom level you are at. The Text relative to your Drawing / Model will get Larger as you zoom out and smaller when you zoom in (but it is always the same size - but changes relative to your drawing). 

 

The second method is to use the Label Points command from the Drafting Menu. In this case you define Point Label Styles that utilize a Text Style to generate point labels on a selected set of points. The Label Style Manager - Point Labels tab is where you define what the Point Labels look like. I recommend that you define these in your Project Template so that you have them every time you create a New project. The video below shows how to create these and how to deploy them.

 

Tips:

  1. Create Text Styles that are "For Purpose" i.e. in this case create a Text Style called Labels - Points and set the size of the text as you want it in Sheet Units. That way when you plot at different scales, the Text Height will change based on the scale selected.  Giving them a specific name like Labels - Points, makes it easy to find them in the list of Text Styles. I deleted all of the Text Styles in my Text Style List that are called Font Name - Font Size in preference to named styles that I use for different purposes - like Cut Fill Map - Labels, Cut Fill Map - Legend, Cut Fill Map - Legend Title etc. so that I know what they are all for.
  2. Create the Label Styles that you need and save them in your default Project Template(s) so that you always have them available - no matter which project you are working on.
  3. You can create Point Labels that refer to an alignment (that extracts the Station and Offset of the Point) or to a Surface (that extracts the Delta Elevation between the point and the target surface) or both Alignment and Surface. Before using these types of label in any project, you need to select the Alignment and or Surface model in the Label Style Editor (because the Alignment Name and or Target Surface names will typically change between projects and even between labeling processes in a single project.

 

Here is the Video

 

 

If you have specific Drafting Questions, please capture them in this Blog Post so that we have this as a great reference going forwards.

 

Thanks

 

Alan

Alan Sharp

TBC v5.0 Issues

Posted by Alan Sharp Dec 11, 2018

If you are having issues with TBC v5.0 please de-install TBC v5 and run the Clean up utility before reinstalling TBC v5.0. While I had never really used the Cleanup tool prior to the v5.0 release, the Geospatial Team are recommending that to all users on all installations of new versions. If you have already done this then you don't need to do this again, but if you did not do this when you installed TBC v5 for the first time, you may want to try this in order to clean out any legacy settings that may be affecting your TBC v5 installation.

 

You can search for "Cleanup" and that will provide you the link to download the Cleanup Utility.

 

Alan

Alan Sharp

TBC TMLs Forum

Posted by Alan Sharp Nov 30, 2018

If you haven't already checked this out, you should - you can get a number of "free" macro tools to use with TBC v5

 

The Macro Forum can be found at this link

 

Click Here

 

The following Macro's are out there today for you

 

  1. Insert Line Segment - an easy way to insert additional nodes into existing linestrings without the overhead of the Linestring Editor
  2. VPI at Elevation - Creates VPIs on a selected Linestring at a specified elevation, wherever the elevation exists on the linestring as it is defined currently. This is helpful if you have 3D Lines e.g. that represent Bridge Piers, and you are trying to create locations on those lines for e.g. a Concrete pour at a specified elevation. Note that you can also draw additional lines that snap to the VPI locations once created if you need to create the slab itself etc.
  3. Find Surface Area - allows you to select any boundary area on a surface Model that has been textures, site improvement or just a closed line that is an area for which you need to know the Surface Area of the triangles included within the area. You can single or multi select lines to get combined areas. The "mini report" can be placed on the drawing as text if needed to label the areas
  4. Offset Surface - Allows you to select a surface and apply a surface offset above or below the existing surface to create a second surface at the offset value
  5. Surface to Grid - Allows you to create a Grid of Points on a defined Grid pattern from a 3D Surface Model. This saves having to use the Create Surface Elevation Grid that has a lot of Text, and it works super fast on large area surveys. A great way to cut down Drone or Scan Point Clouds to a regular grid. You can do this reference to an alignment and specify Station and Offset Intervals separately, you can export a points file and then auto reimport the points as a point cloud if needed. You can also compare the selected surface to another surface and report the deltas between the Grid points and the second surface for QA purposes. Awesome TML!
  6. Assign Name from Layers - for those of you that want to rapidly name a lot of lines using the name of the Layer that the Line is on as the new name for the objects (optionally ignoring names if they already exist) as a process before sending data to the field - you now have your tool!

 

Keep watching the Macros Forum - awesome productivity tools

 

Alan

Get Yourself a Logitech G600 Gaming Mouse! Best $30 you will ever spend - Where have you been all my life ....
Thank you Wayne Welshans - You just made TBC v5 at least 20% more productive. If you don't have one of these, get one (or something similar) and buy Wayne Welshans a Beer when you next bump into him (you will have time for more than one beer with the time this baby will save you).

For Demos / Practical Use this is an awesome addition for $30 if you are selling / showing / using software. There are 12 programmable keys on the mouse with 2 functions per key. You can create Profiles (for different work methods / processes) and you can cycle profiles with one click). 

You can record Macros and assign the macros to a key (so if you have a key stroke sequence that you are doing a lot e.g. in Linestring command you want to always hop from one field to another field that s normally e.g. Tab Tab Tab Tab you can record a Macro to do that and assign it to a key on the mouse so you press one button and it jumps over the 4 tabs in one click!
You can add Enter, Tab, Shift Tab and Space Bar to the 4 easiest access buttons, and then when you are digitizing you can press Enter on the mouse to accept a value / null value and create a node on a linestring, if you are adding VPIs to a 2D line you can do it all on the mouse with one hand and the numeric keys on the other 
No more Wimbledon effect (going left to right on the screen to access fields on the dialog boxes - ooooh (for those Americans that don't know Wimbledon it is a Tennis Tournament in England and also the home or the Wombles (look them up!)
Productivity Gain or what !!!! Thank you Logitech

We are getting the occasional question about our support of Spiral Types other than the traditional Clothoid Spiral that is used in Road Construction. There are many types of Spiral out there that get used in different parts of the world and primarily for Railway work. Spiral Types include

  • Clothoid
  • BLOSS Curves
  • Cubic Parabolas
  • Korean Cubic Parabolas
  • Half Sine Spirals
  • NSW Cubic Parabola

 

Business Center - HCE and Trimble Business Center supports all of the above Spiral Types. There are Spiral Types that it doesn't support. This is however only half the challenge.

 

If you create a Corridor Model that uses these types of Spiral, can you use the data downstream in any of the Trimble Field Systems. Below I will try to address this issue.

 

Trimble GCS900 / Trimble Earthworks / Trimble PCS900 Machine Control Systems

These systems all employ either SVD / SVL or DSZ file formats for the design models. The SVL or DSZ file is what carries the alignment geometry. Those file types actually use a chorded approximation of the alignment, chorded to a density that is unnoticeable on the machines. In the file format the chords all have the true stationing at that location stored as a part of the file format, so while in each chord, as you move towards the end of the chord, the station will be off fractionally, it will be unnoticeable on the machine. 

 

As a result of this approach, the Machine Control Systems all work with all of the above Spiral Types because they are not actually dependent on the alignment geometry or a calculation engine for the computation of Station and Offset from these Spiral Type elements.

 

Trimble SCS900

Trimble SCS900 utilizes the Terramodel PRO file for its corridor models. The PRO File format only supports the Clothoid Spiral. There is no support in SCS900 or the Field Data Exporter for Alignments or Road Surface Models for any alignment other than one that utilizes a Clothoid Spiral.

 

Trimble Siteworks

Trimble Siteworks is officially the same as Trimble SCS900. However Siteworks also has initial support for TBC VCL files as a Design Model. Currently you would have to select an Alignment and a Normal Surface Model (not a corridor surface model) and any linework required, and then run the normal Exporter, Select VCL File and output the data to the correct Design Folder for the correct device(s). When you open this type of file in Siteworks, the alignment will support all of the above spirals with the exception of the Half Sine Spiral currently. This is a VCL File Version Issue - Siteworks has not yet been updated to the BC-HCE 4.12 or TBC v5 VCL Version, once that is done, it will support all of the spiral types from TBC using the VCL format.

 

Trimble SitePulse

This has the same data structure as Trimble SiteWorks and also supports VCL format in the same way. It also has the same VCL version issue for Half Sine Spirals.

 

Trimble Access

Trimble Access Portal states that it supports the following Spiral Types in its Road Model definition (RXL Format)

 

  • Clothoid Spiral
  • Egg-Shaped Clothoid Spiral
  • Cubic Spiral (Cubic Parabola)
  • BLOSS
  • Korean Cubic Parabola
  • NSW Cubic Parabola

 

Note that the Egg-Shaped Spiral is not currently supported in Trimble Business Center v5.0.

 

People often ask - Can I just change the spiral type, and if I do what difference will it make? The simple answer is No you cannot just change the spiral type and expect it to give you the same numbers exactly. If you change the spiral type several things can happen

 

  1. The spiral can change position along its length
  2. The spiral may start at the same location but it may end at a different location
  3. The Spiral elements may no longer be Tangential with the inbound or outbound alignment elements

 

The errors associated with a change of Spiral Type will of course depend on the following

  1. The start and end radii of the spiral
  2. The length of the spiral
  3. The formula used to define the spiral

 

In some scenarios, it may be possible to change the Spiral Type and still get results that approximate to within an acceptable tolerance of the original data, however you would need to validate every part of an alignment after making such a change - Trimble cannot support that this is either viable, acceptable or good practice. As an industry professional you would be entirely responsible for making such a decision and the consequences of making any such change. Business center provides you with the tools necessary to explore these types of changes to see what effect it may have on the data. 

 

When checking or validating such a change, be sure to create a set of points from the original data that are fixed in space, that follow the entire original alignment, so that you can compare their position to any adjusted alignment. You have to validate along the entire length of all spiral elements not just at the end points, as some spiral types bulge more or less than other spiral types.

 

I hope that this helps provide background to this subject area

 

Alan

Today's Tip started out as a question from George Henry Schneider.

 

He was asking about how to model scenarios where e.g. a Layer or more of the subgrade Site Improvement beneath e.g. a Parking Area extends a distance below the curb and Gutter Section which also has a Site Improvement on which it sits.

 

In the example that I created, I had a Parking Area Material Stack that includes the following

 

4" Asphalt

6" Aggregate Base

3" Sand

 

Beneath the Curb which is itself 6" deep at the interface with the edge of Asphalt, we had the following material stack

 

4" Aggregate Base (this is 4/6 of the Aggregate Base beneath the Parking Area)

 

In addition the design calls for an additional 3" sand layer for a distance of 6" beneath the Curb section, extending from the subgrade beneath the parking area.

 

Beneath the Sidewalk we have

 

6" Concrete

2" Sand

 

So Something like this

 

So the steps to model this that I took were as follows

 

1) Create the "Earthen Select" Materials in the Materials And Site Improvement Manager for the following

   

Asphalt

Aggregate Base I

Aggregate Base II

Sand

Concrete

 

2) Create the Subgrade Site Improvements as follows

 

Subgrade: Parking Area (Site Improvement I)

Asphalt Layer 4"

Aggregate Base I Layer 2"

Aggregate Base Layer II 4"

Sand Layer 3"

 

Subgrade: Curb and Parking Area (Site Improvement 2)

Aggregate Base II Layer 4" 

Sand Layer 3"

 

Subgrade: Curb Area (Site Improvement 3)

Aggregate Base II Layer 4"

 

Subgrade: Sidewalk Area (Site Improvement 4)

Concrete Layer 6"

Sand Layer 2"

 

Note that the 6" Aggregate Base Layer under the Parking Lot has been split into two Aggregate Base Layers - one 4" thick and the other 2" thick, and the materials used are Aggregate Base I and Aggregate Base II. This is so that we can match up the layers beneath the Curb Section correctly. The dashed green line in the picture above.

 

In the Design Model for Finished Grade we have the following lines for the main features as follows

 

Edge of Pavement

Flow Line

Top Face of Curb

Top Back of Curb

Sidewalk

 

 

Because the application of site improvements will not work beneath a finished grade surface that tracks the Edge of Pavement, Flow Line, Top Face of Curb, Top Back of Curb shape, I recommend offsetting the Edge of Pavement String and Top Back Of Curb strings to the bottom of curb and then using those offset lines along with Edge of Pavement, Top Back of Curb and Sidewalk to make the Finished Grade model. That way when we apply site improvements below the curb area of the surface it will offset below correctly.

 

If you want a Top of Curb Surface then you can take the Edge of Pavement, Flow Line, Top Face of Curb and the Top Back of Curb strings and make a surface called Top of Curb. Note that when you do this - in the example shown in the video you will also get the Pavement surface of the parking lot in this Top of Curb Surface. To stop that from forming, I then applied a Null Site Improvement to the Top Of Curb Surface in the area of the parking pavement to remove those triangles from the Top of Curb Surface.

 

Lastly, we need to create the offset line for the 6" offset (where we need to extend the Aggregate Base and Sand Layers beneath the Curb section. I then draped that offset line on the Finished Grade Surface (the one that runs around the base of the curb section).

 

Now we can apply the Site Improvements to the Finished Grade surface as shown in the diagram.

 

Lastly we can create the Subgrade Surfaces for the Bottom of material layers that we need for the Volumes or machine control / site positioning applications using the Create Subgrade Surface command.

 

Check what you created using Surface Slicer and 3D Views etc. to make sure you didn't make any mistakes and you are done. The video shows all of these steps.

 

 

I enclose the TBC v5 Project so that you can take a look at it in your own time, let me know if you have any further questions

 

Happy Modeling

 

Alan

Alan Sharp

Happy Thanksgiving TBCers

Posted by Alan Sharp Nov 21, 2018

Hey everyone - I just wanted to wish all those US based users a Happy Turkey Day - Being British we ate our Turkey on Monday Night - but I know you guys cant wait for tomorrow - if you are playing in a Turkey Bowl tomorrow don't forget to don those pads and helmets - I know it is a no tackle sport but we know how much you love your suiits of armor over here - unlike us Rugby playing Brits ...

 

Have a great one - I will be back on line on Monday

 

Alan

Alan Sharp

TBC v5 Released

Posted by Alan Sharp Nov 19, 2018

With the release today of TBC v5 I am posting some information that may assist all those contractors out there move to the new version.

 

The enclosed Menu Ribbon Files may be useful to you these include the Side Toolbars as well as the Menus that are familiar to those of you that used BC-HCE v4.12 etc.

 

There are 3 Ribbon Files -

 

  1. Full Ribbon - All Menus and All Commands
  2. Cut Down Ribbon - Has some of the Menus removed / turned off and has commands duplicated on Toolbars and Menus
  3. Cut Down Ribbon with Duplicate Commands removed from the Ribbons where the commands are on the toolbars provided (This is the one that I use most - it forces you to use the Context menus and the Toolbars rather than keep hopping between Menus - when you get used to it it does make you a faster and stronger user.

 

I even Took Wayne Welshan's advice and purchased a Gaming Mouse (I may never forgive you Wayne ....) - now I have Flashing Lights and a host of Shortcuts on my mouse to get used to - Never was one for playing the Piano but I am getting close - who says you can't teach an old dog new tricks - I will let you know how I get on with it ....

 

You may get an Error Exception when you load them, that is caused by the Support - Set Ribbon Tabs command - In there you will find an Option that states "Show Only Licensed Tabs" - turn that off and you will be good to go and can ignore the exception that was thrown.

 

In that same command you can turn on and off Menu Tabs that you do / don't want from those in the Menu Setup provided. Use this to Turn things On / Off. If you want to customize the Ribbons you will need to start from here and use the Customize Command to change the Menus Layouts to what you want.

 

You will also find under Support - Options that at the top of the Dialog you have the option to select Theme Options - Traditional (BC-HCE Look and Feel)  or Light (TBC v5 Look and Feel). The setting for Use Large Icons for Quick Access Toolbars is also now in this dialog (Used to be in Set Menu Layout before).

 

Hope that this answers the immediate questions, I am sure you will have many - please don't hesitate to ask.

 

  1. Download the Ribbons and place them somewhere in My Documents
  2. Load them using Support - Customize Ribbon - Import
  3. Use Ste Ribbon Tabs to select the Menus you want turned on
  4. I recommend Exiting TBC that way the Setup is saved for the future.
  5. You may also want to Export your preferred Setup using Customize Ribbon - Export so you have your defaults as you need them.

 

Happy TBC 5ing....

 

Alan

This is a common question - I am buying a new PC to run Trimble Business Center / Business Center - HCE, what Spec of machine should I purchase and where will I get the biggest bang for my Buck, Euro, Pound etc. The following information should help you decide. We all understand that buying a new Laptop is a great opportunity to "improve your lives" and "to get a faster more productive machine" and that these opportunities typically come along every 2-3 years at best, so we don't want you to make a mistake, however having said that, we also do not continually benchmark new machines and new graphics cards as they become available because that really is not necessary these days for a software company - we simply cannot keep up with all the changes that happen annually. 

 

Some Background that you may find helpful

 

Multi Core Computers will provide increased capability to run multiple applications at the same time (each application takes up a core for example - meaning that multi applications can run on separate threads. So if you are a MultiTasker - Multi Core technology will help you. When running a single application like Business Center - HCE or TBC v5, only certain computations can be "multi-threaded" and will use more than one core - however where most of our computation time is created by TIN Surface Modeling methods e.g. for creating a surface, creating a volume between surfaces, running a Takeoff Report, Running a Corridor Earthworks Report etc. the TIN Model Process is the most process hungry element, and our developers tell me that you cannot multi-thread that process i.e. you cannot see many locations for a surface and compute a radial sweep triangulation starting in many points to divide the work, because at some point the triangles along the "edges" of the sweeps will not be the same - so multi threading while maybe not impossible is at least extremely hard to do (and has not been done). So going out and buying a Multi Core computer, while it will help you in some areas will not help you in others - so spending big in this area (at least today) should not be done on TBC's behalf

 

Where you will get the biggest improvements in BC-HCE / TBC are the following

 

  • Run the latest Windows and run the 64 Bit version of Windows and the TBC / BC-HCE application.
  • Always keep your Operating System, Drivers and Bios up to date to get the greatest performance from your hardware. We appreciate that vendors sometimes put out problematic versions of these items, but more often than not they are always an improvement.
  • Solid State Drive vs Spinning Drive. When we open projects, save projects or edit objects we are reading / writing to disk and writing the undo buffer, so this can be a bottle neck on large processes. Getting a faster Solid State Drive with great Read / Write time performance will help you significantly. When working with Point Clouds and Images the same applies.
  • Graphics Card and Memory. Business center - HCE / Trimble Business Center is not developed for any specific Graphics Card to get the "best performance". We use whatever graphics card you have available. A higher performance card will typically perform better than a lower performance card. Getting a card with more memory helps a lot, especially when handling Imagery and Point Clouds or Large Rendered Surface Models. Purchasing a larger memory card will get you better results. Graphics cards vary wildly in price.  The Nvidia GTX 1080 series is a good mid range buy today for the money, but you can't go wrong with the ones at the top of the ratings either. More Graphics Memory e.g. 4GB or higher is good to have.The following chart is helpfulimage.png
  • RAM - Business Center - HCE will consume and use available RAM - the amount pf RAM you have is going to dictate speed of operations on the larger jobs. We recommend that 32GB or 64GB is typically sufficient for most projects, but that does depend a little on how many applications you run simultaneously and also how big your data gets - if you are handling large Point Clouds, More RAM and more Graphics Memory combine to assist you. More RAM is a good investment. The speed of the RAM is also important - get the fastest RAM for the CPU that you are buying to get the best performance.
  • CPU Speed and Number of Processors - CPU Speed is important - TBC / BC-HCE will use the Speed that you have, in places BC-HCE will use the Processors that you have. BC-HCE / TBC rarely uses more than a couple of Processors, so buying a Quad Core or 8 Core machine will not really benefit you. We dont really differentiate between Chipset Providers - however I have heard that Intel Chipsets typically perform better than AMD Chipsets - however that is a Chipset thing not a Business center thing.Since single threaded use is the most common use (at least today), you should look at the CPU Single Thread Benchmark Tests out there to judge the value for money on your CPU purchase - here is an example from CPUBENCHMARK.NET website (a good reference)

         As you can see, the last 3 generations of CPU have yielded only ~25% improvement in performance - The top of          the Line I7 Processors are good value for money at present and do not perform that differently to the I9          processors.

  • Graphics Card Resolution - we are doing more and more work with High Resolution Screens - getting a good 4K monitor will benefit you. We have been reworking the User Interface in TBC v5 to better leverage the Higher Resolution monitors, it is good in TBC v5 and will get better and better as we move forwards. So getting a High Resolution Screen will help you in the long run.
  • Touch Screen Technologies - I have no doubt that we will make more and more use of Touch Screen Technologies as we move forwards - while use of that is possible today, it is limited, but with the new active stylus technologies I am sure we will put the screens to good use in the future - I cannot tell you when, what for or for what purposes, but this technology is gaining momentum for sure.

 

Lastly I would comment that where people "complain" about speed or performance issues, when we review the projects that are "considered to be slow", we find that better management of the data in the project to minimize computation times is a far bigger issue than the computer that people are running on. There are many things that you can do to improve speed while working with Business Center - HCE / Trimble Business Center v5 and I have captured these in a document that has been posted on the forum for the past few months - below is a link to that document. Observing best practices and getting a "decent" computer go hand in hand and will save you hours a week when you get the balance right.

 

I hope that this helps - as I stated at the start of this Blog, we do not benchmark computers, Graphics Cards, RAM, Disk Drives or CPUs specifically and as a result we cannot be held accountable for a poor performing computer or associated hardware. The above are guidelines, and we cannot be more specific because we do not benchmark all of the latest technologies - we try to run on everything and run well.

 

We sometimes hear that people purchased a top of the line flying machine in the hopes to get great performance but failed to realize what they set out to achieve, we also hear people purchased mid line, good performance machines and got amazing results. Bottom line, TBC uses what you have as listed  above, so choose wisely and spend wisely - a $3000 laptop computer should work great. If you have the chance to Try before you Buy that is recommended and pick your projects well to test out the hardware.

 

If you feel that you purchased a "winner" please feel free to comment on this post for the benefit of those entering the laptop purchase crap shoot!

 

Alan