After spending some time with ITS I can tell you that if you think it's just a fancier way to do what Civil 3D already does, you should should work with it some more because you don't understand it yet. This thing is new, its fresh, and its exciting.
I will admit, however, that its taken me some time to wrap my head around it and I want to share what I've learned to hopefully help steepen the learning curve for others.
I'll start with basic concepts in this post, and then build upon that with what I hope will be many, many future posts.
Here are some basic thoughts to get you started:
- When you use ITS the object you are working with is called a Grading Grid (AECC_GRADINGGRID)
- It can be made up of sub-objects such as:
- Working grids
- Atomic grids
- Composite grids
- Op grids
- Finished grid
- Every job starts with a special grid called the work canvas which is a surface (usually existing ground) bounded by a rectangle.
- The finished grid is created by combining the working canvas with other grids in a specific order, kind of like boolean add and subtract operations that are done with solids.
- The grid is rough and blocky but can be converted to a solid when its time to be accurate.
- There are tools like Pond, Parking Lot, and Swale that package many working elements and operations for you. These are great for pretty demonstrations, but they don't help you understand how the technology works because they do everything for you. If you want to learn how ITS "thinks" avoid these tools for now (even though the documentation says that they're great learning tools).
- Make sure you do all of the recommended settings changes to improve performance. You'll find these on the Getting Started Page.
- You can adjust the spacing of the grid to help with drawing performance.
- Make sure you download the ITS Users Guide and read it before starting. I know, doesn't sound like fun. I'm not typically a "read the directions first" kind of person either but this will give you a good idea how ITS "thinks".
Stay tuned for more posts that dig deeper into this exciting technology.