Thursday, July 5, 2012

Removing the XML File Dependency From A Surface

This question has come up several times for me so I went in search of a solution.  The procedure below is the best I could come up with.  If you have something better...please share!

  1. Use a style to display the triangles and boundary for the surface
  2. Extract the triangles and boundary
  3. Create a new surface and add data using the Drawing Objects data type.
  4. Add the 3D faces extracted in Step 2.  Be sure to turn on the "Maintain edges from objects" option.
  5. Use the boundary you extracted in step 2 as a boundary for the new surface.
Bada-bing, bada-boom you've got a new surface that is an exact copy of the original, but with no XML dependency.


  1. I can't imagine why you'd need to do that. I guess it depends on the reason why you created it from a LandXML file in the first place. For us, it's the liability of the surface creation. We get our surfaces from 2 sources, in-house and consultant surveyors. In either case, when we receive the LandXML file and we create our Civil 3D surface from that, the surface definition is exactly as the surveyor intended it to be. Keeps the liability (especially consultant) with them for any bogus information. We can then prove that our definition comes from their file.

  2. Thanks for the comment Lisa. I guess the most common example of when to do this is when the XML file is lost or deleted and you want to get rid of the dependency before someone deletes the snapshot and rebuilds the surface, thus wiping it clean. Of course, as you've mentioned, prevention is the cure. Good file management and careful handling of the XML file would prevent this need from ever arising.

  3. Couldn't you import the XML surface, create a data shortcut, then promote the data shortcut into another drawing, to achieve a similar result with less hassle?

  4. I think that would work but I'm not sure that's any less hassle than the extract & rebuild approach. Great idea, though.

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