Changes to the Newly Released Civil 3D 2020 Grading Guide

October 7, 2019 Jeff Morris

A few changes for Grading

ASCENT currently offers these Learning Guides for Civil 3D:

These are introductory Learning Guides with no prior Civil 3D experience required.  For the Civil 3D 2020 Grading release, you will note subtle changes throughout the Learning Guide.  I want to make this a more realistic workflow, but reuse as much of the previous year's courseware and dataset as possible, to keep the familiarity for seasoned trainers whilst introducing new concepts and a new direction of the Civil 3D courseware.

The goal of this book  is to create a preliminary grading plan for a Land Development project. The general changes made in this course are consistant with the changes made in the other Civil 3D courses listed above. The following summarizes some of these changes: 

  • Rebuilt dataset:  
    • The Civil 3D objects have been rebuilt from the ground up to avoid problems with legacy Civil 3D objects.
    • The AutoCAD Xrefs have been purged, audited and layers renamed to NCS Standards.
    • The "Base-Proposed Engineering" xref has new building footprints which reflect the three Revit buildings used in the ASCENT Revit courses.
  • Folders reorganized:
    • Within the traditional Civil 3D Projects folder there are now new subfolders for configuration files, data shortcuts, survey databases and project templates for a more realistic project folder structure.
    • The drawings for the objects that are in the data shortcuts reside in the C:\Civil 3D Projects\Civil3D-Training\folder and sub-folders.
    • The drawings for the grading exercises reside in the C:\Civil 3D Projects\Grading folder  and sub-folders.
  • Persistent use of Data Shortcuts.
  • Persistent use of Style referencing.
    • In the first chapter we create a grading template and a grading style reference drawing. This style reference drawing, along with a more generic style reference drawing is then attached to all subsequent exercise files throughout the course. 
    • These referenced style drawings reside in the C:\Civil 3D Projects\Ascent-Config folder
  • Styles have been renamed with an ASC- prefix. (ASC for ASCENT)
    • This aims to help enforce the concept of CAD Management practices.
    • Allows students to easily identify customized styles and separate them from default styles.
  • Xref files are overlaid and have annotative text (for the most common drawing scales).
  • Named views streamlined for the chapters.
    • Each drawing includes named views only pertinent to the chapter.
    • The views are redefined so as not to affect the layer states of the drawing.

These changes impact the datasets that the students use to complete the exercises and there are some changes in the exercise steps that support these changes.

Beyond these generic changes, most chapters in the book remain as they were in the previous 2019 release. The exceptions are as follows:

  • In Chapter 1 - Introduction to Grading, I introduce Data Shortcuts at a high level and provide a short exercise setting the Working Folder and Data Shortcuts folder. Data shortcuts are studied more in depth later on in Chapter 7 - Combining Surfaces (as was done in the previous 2019 release). The rest of the exercises throughout the course then take advantage of data shortcuts for surfaces and corridors. 
  • The 2019 Chapter 6, Grading with Corridor Models, has been moved to the appendix. While it is a fascinating chapter dealing with complex corridors, it is quite complicated and rather intimidating, i.e. a bit too advanced for this fundamental level.  
  • A new chapter dealing with using a corridor for parking lot grading is now Chapter 5 - Parking Lot Option. It follows the existing parking lot design chapter and provides an alternative parking layout done with a corridor using a feature line as its base.

Fig 5-1ppt

  • Chapter 8 still deals with Visualization, however rather than trying to use the limited tools within AutoCAD and Civil 3D, we now introduce the student to Infraworks and import the surfaces and corridors from the flegling Land Development project into Infraworks for visualization.
  • We use model builder to create the initial model and then populate it with CAD  drawing overlays, Revit models, coverage areas and a bunch of city furniture. 
  • We hope that the students will find this exercise enthralling and will leave the course on a positive note, perhaps even eager to learn more about Infraworks and take further courses!

Figure 8-98


As with the other releases of our Civil 3D courseware, these changes support the concept that the Civil 3D program is used in real-world projects. Proper CAD Management standards and procedures are being followed throughout the Learning Guides so the student will be familiar with such concepts in their own professional environment.   We invite your comments and questions.

If you are interested in learning more about ASCENT’s offerings for the 2020 release, please watch our recent Webcast -

About the Author

Jeff Morris

Learning Content Developer<br><br>Jeff specializes in infrastructure tools such as Civil 3D and Infraworks, delivering training classes and contributing to the learning guides for these Autodesk software applications. Jeff has worked for several Autodesk resellers and has had roles of both CAD and BIM Manager with Civil and Architectural firms.

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