Thursday, September 18, 2014

InfraWorks Book Datasets are Available Through InfraWorks 360

The datasets for the InfraWorks Essentials book and all three of the module books (Roads, Bridges, and Drainage) are now available via InfraWorks 360. To gain access to this data you will have to be invited to the InfraWorks 360 group. To receive your invitation simply send an e-mail to the address in the front of the book under the "About the Author" or "How to Contact the Author" sections within the book's introduction. Be sure to include the e-mail address that is associated with your Autodesk account.

Why would you want to do this? Because InfraWorks 360 is optimized for transferring data to and from the cloud so the download is lightning fast compared to what you may have experienced while downloading from the Wiley site. Also, it gives you an opportunity to exercise your InfraWorks 360 muscles - logging in to the service, downloading a model, etc. 

Wednesday, August 6, 2014

New InfraWorks Essentials Datasets Available

Updated datasets for InfraWorks and InfraWorks 360 Essentials have been posted to Wiley's web page for the book.

If you've installed the latest update for InfraWorks, be sure to re-download the datasets and use the ReadMe file as you work through the exercises. There are important things you need to know about subtle changes that had to be made to some of the exercise steps, object names, etc.
I've had a few e-mails from folks who are trying to work through the book with InfraWorks 2014. No can do. If you've got 2014 I'm afraid the book's datasets simply won't open. The book was written for the 2015 release and now the datasets have been updated for the latest 2015.2 update.
If you have issues or questions, feel free to e-mail

Friday, July 25, 2014

New InfraWorks Essentials Datasets Coming Soon

If you have purchased my InfraWorks Essentials book and you're trying to work through the exercises using the latest version of InfraWorks (released earlier this month), then you might be having a few minor challenges. For one, you will be prompted to upgrade the models when you open them and InfraWorks will go through a process of doing so if you accept.
Once you've opened the models you may see some strangeness relating to missing styles and or model extents that don't match what the book is showing or discussing. This has to do with some changes in the way that the latest version works and the way in which it translates models from the older version to the newer one. I'll elaborate in a future post once the new datasets are ready.
Which brings me to the main purpose of this post. I'm working on providing an updated version of the datasets along with notes outlining differences between the what's depicted in the book and what you'll see when using  the latest version of InfraWorks. More importantly, the notes will explain how to get around those differences. Stay tuned for more information and keep checking back here to see if the new data and notes have been posted. I hope to have these ready and posted by the end of the month.

Wednesday, July 16, 2014

Civil 3D 2015 Essentials is Now Available

I'm excited to announce that the great folks at Wiley/Sybex have let me produce another version of Civil Essentials, this time for Civil 3D 2015.

Each year we try to make the book even better and I think this year's release is the best one yet. What I like most about it is that it is formatted more for classroom learning with defined exercises that are listed in the table of contents.

Also, there are begin and end versions of the exercise files so that you can compare your results with what they should be. Of course, all of the images and content are updated to be consistent with the 2015 release, and that was a big job with the drastic change to the 2015 user interface.

Of course it is still great for learning on your own, even better in fact.

Please check out AutoCAD Civil 3D 2015 Essentials and consider using it for training your employees, your students, or yourself!

Friday, July 11, 2014

Draping Your AutoCAD Drawing in InfraWorks

So you want to see your AutoCAD (or Civil 3D, or whatever AutoCAD-based product you have) drawing in InfraWorks. You've tried attaching a DWG as a data source but that didn't go quite like you expected, did it? InfraWorks tries to be really smart in that case and convert all of your AutoCAD entities (lines, arcs, circles, etc.) into InfraWorks entities (roads, water areas, buildings, coverages, etc.). What if you just want to see your drawing, as it its, no conversion, draped over your InfraWorks model like this?
It can be done, and the product that is key in doing it might surprise you. Enter: Raster Design.

You can try this yourself if you've got Civil 3D and the latest version of InfraWorks. I opened one of the Civil 3D tutorial files, one that had a coordinate system assigned so that I knew how to georeference it. I dressed up the colors a bit and made it look good. The file is Parcel-1A if you want to try it yourself.
Next, I used the Raster Tools tab (Raster Design) to create a new image.
I used the default settings but you can tinker with the settings here to get the perfect resolution and image size. I used the Pick button to set the extents of the image to match the part of the drawing I want to show in InfraWorks. I also used the True Color option so that the colors of the image will match the colors I see on screen.
Now I have a blank image. I use the Merge Vector command to add the AutoCAD entities into my newly created image. Piece of cake: just pick the objects you want to include and tell the command whether you want to delete the original entities or keep them. I kept mine, there was no reason to delete them.
In the drawing, it may look like nothing has happened because a color copy of what you see on screen has been generated in raster form. Now it's time create a data source that InfraWorks will understand. I'll use the Image Export command on the Raster Tools ribbon.

For my example I used TIFF, Uncompressed, Tiled, with a World File (that's important for georeferencing). I took note that the coordinate system of my drawing is NH83.

Now it's time to go into InfraWorks. I created a model of the area using the Model Builder preview. How did I know where I was? I used the GEOMAP command to show me an aerial/roads hybrid in Civil 3D, noted some key roads, and found the same location in Model Builder. Then I added my file as a raster data source. I had to tell it the NH83 coordinate system, and then Voila! My AutoCAD drawing draped in my InfraWorks model.
So there you have it folks - an AutoCAD DWG shown in InfraWorks! What's that?....The black area?...Ah, we've got something for that too. I'll go back into the Data Source Configuration dialog to the Raster tab. There I find a Color Mask setting and when I click the ellipsis button I actually get a Pick Screen Color button. Using this I could tell InfraWorks to make the black transparent.

Oh, yeah...that's what I'm talkin' about! This is what I had in my mind when I thought about importing my AutoCAD drawing in InfraWorks.

Tuesday, July 8, 2014

Proposal Changes in the Latest InfraWorks Update

There have been some changes to proposals with the latest update for InfraWorks - most good, some....well, you decide.

  • First of all, a definite good one, switching between proposals is now much quicker. I can't really explain why other than the super smart developers have made this much more efficient.
  • Second, you can now delete any proposal in the model and it happens very quickly. In prior versions, you had to make a proposal current before deleting it - a much more intrusive and much slower process. This is a huge improvement. All you have to do is click the X icon to the right of a proposal to delete it. Ironically, this cannot be the current proposal. If you're stuck on an older version of InfraWorks, check out this post on how to use scripts to delete proposals. This is even handy in the latest version because it'll do multiple proposals at once!
  • Next, you'll notice that styles are handled a bit differently in the way that they relate to proposals. For example, in older versions, if you created a new style it only existed in the proposal that was current when you created it. Now, that style will show up in all proposals. In other words, styles are no longer proposal-specific.
  • Very similar to styles, the model extent is also no longer proposal-specific. In other words, when you set the model extent, you set it for all proposals, not just the current one.
Feel free to post your comments on how you like/dislike these changes. But let's be constructive and positive. Remember that you catch more flies with honey than with vinegar (not sure why anyone would want to catch flies but you know what I mean).

Monday, July 7, 2014

eBooks Planned for All Three InfraWorks 360 Modules

First of all, please disregard any paperback versions of Bridge Design for InfraWorks 360 or Drainage Design for InfraWorks 360 that you see on Amazon's website. This is a mistake and those titles will be available but not as paperbacks, only as Kindle books.

OK, since that is out of the way, I just wanted to make sure everyone knew that the entire set of InfraWorks offerings will be covered by Wiley before long. Here is the rundown:

Autodesk InfraWorks and InfraWorks 360 Essentials

- Already available in paperback
- Comprehensive guide for the "core product" which means everything but the cloud features and the add-on modules
- 360 pages
- $47.49

Autodesk Roadway Design for InfraWorks 360 Essentials

- Already available in Kindle version
- Will only be available electronically, not to be printed
- Covers the Roadway Design module
- 118 pages
- $6.99!

Autodesk Bridge Design for InfraWorks 360 Essentials

- Not yet available
- Will be released as Kindle version soon
- Will only be available electronically, not to be printed
- Covers the Bridge Design module
- 96 pages

Autodesk Drainage Design for InfraWorks 360 Essentials

- Not yet available
- Will be released as Kindle version soon
- Will only be available electronically, not to be printed
- Covers the Drainage Design module
- 75 pages

Thursday, July 3, 2014

Drainage Design for InfraWorks 360: What Does it Do?

With the latest update to InfraWorks 360 Drainage Design has graduated from a free preview to a real product. So why do you want it? Here's a rundown of what it does:

Delineates watersheds based on your terrain

You can use the model to find watersheds that drain to a single point, or drain to all or part of a design road
  • It must be a design road made with the Roadway Design module.
  • As of right now
    • Watershed to a point is free - 0 cloud credits
    • Watershed(s) to a road cost 50 cloud credits
  • It uses InfraWorks 360's cloud service so an internet connection and a login to InfraWorks 360 is required
  • It will calculate peak flows based on the Rational method or Regression method. You have to provide some key info like C factors, location, etc.
  • Culverts (covered in a bit) that start within a watershed that has a calculated peak flow will automatically size themselves based on that flow (cool!)


  • Will automatically place culverts where a water area (created with Rivers command) or stream (created automatically with watershed) crosses a design road.
    • Will automatically locate (x,y, and z) each end based on road slope geometry
    • Will automatically size based on watershed flow, if present
    • Uses FHWA methodology for calcualtions
    • Has some neat choices for inlet configurations that affect calculations as well as inlet/outlet geometry
  • Culverts can also be created manually wherever you want and edited with tools that you're used to.
  • InfraWorks performs a fairly detailed analysis which can be exported

Drainage Networks

  • Will automatically place inlets, manholes, and pipelines along a design road by applying design rules
  • Structure models are more robust and realistic than what's been available in core InfraWorks pipe connector style library...
  • BUT...currently there is only one type of inlet and one type of manhole.
  • You can manually place inlets, manholes, and pipes and edit them with tools you are used to
  • Drainage network tools are smarter about setting pipes at the right depths and slopes


  • You can have InfraWorks do a takeoff of culverts, inlets, manholes, and pipelines associated with a design road.
If you want to learn more, there will be an eBook coming out soon, similar to the Roadway book, that supplements my InfraWorks Essentials book.

Tuesday, June 17, 2014

A Learning Resource is Now Available for the InfraWorks Roadway Design Module

About a week ago I had the pleasure of announcing my newly available InfraWorks Essentials book. Now, I'm just as tickled to share that the Roadway Design essentials e-book is available on Amazon for only $7.99

So if you feel like you're pretty good at the core functionality of InfraWorks, the new eBook is a great way to dive a little deeper into the powerful roadway module and learn its ins and outs as well.

The book has three chapters: Getting Started, Designing Roads, and Using Advanced Functions.In the Getting Started chapter you'll get a tour of the module's capabilities and its expanded user interface.
Then in the Designing Roads chapter, you'll learn how to perform the meat and potatoes of road design: laying out out roads, viewing in profile, making adjustments, intersection design, and so on.

Then in the third chapter entitled Using Advanced Functions you'll get into profile optimization, sight distance analysis for highways and intersections, and the powerful Generate Civil 3D Drawings function for making the jump from InfraWorks concept to Civil 3D plan set.

This is the good stuff people! If you're really into InfraWorks and you want to learn more for just 8 bucks, you can't beat it.

Thursday, June 12, 2014

Getting Started with InfraWorks (2015 version) - Part 5: Sharing with the World

Note: This series of posts is an updated version of the same posts I did last year for version 2014 R2. It has the same content as those posts, but updated to address the new user interface and any applicable feature changes. If you're still on the older software, you can try out this series of posts.

Before reading this post, you should probably check out:
In this final post of the series, I'd like to take a look at how to share your InfraWorks creation with the world - even someone who doesn't have InfraWorks.

I'll start by creating a Scenario.  This begins by clicking the Scenario Browser icon on the Presentation toolbar.

This opens the Scenarios palette where I can click the Green plus sign to create a new scenario. As the new scenario is created, the Scenario Editor asset card also opens.

I'll use the Polygon icon within the Area of Interest section to set the extent of my scenario. Unless you've got a really small model area to begin with, it's not a good idea to include the whole model in your scenario. Remember that the person viewing the scenario may have limited resources such as computer power or internet speed.

There are more settings here, but for now, let's just define the area of interest (which we've done) and get this thing in the cloud. To do that I'll need to click the Publish/Sync icon in the upper left corner of the screen within the black strip called the Utility Bar.

This will publish the model to InfraWorks 360 and also publish the scenario. You'll need to choose a group that will become the new home of the online version of your model. Then you can click Publish.

Now of course, in order to pull this off, you have to have InfraWorks 360 installed as well as have access to a group that you are able to publish to.

Once the model is published, the status of your scenario will say Generating for a while...

But then the status will change to Published. Once it has, you can select the scenario and then click the Open in Web Browser icon to it in a web browser.

When you click the button, you'll be asked to log into your Autodesk account (if you're not already) and then you'll be taken to your online scenario.

You can share this link with others so that they can get a look at what you have in mind. In fact here is the link to the scenario I published while writing this post - give it a try.

There is also an iPad app which allows you to take the scenario out in the field and visualize your model right there where it's going to happen. Doesn't make a whole lot of sense for what we've done so far, but imagine editing your model to add a resort on the hillside. Now imagine taking a developer out to the site, having him hold up the iPad like a magic window, and see the building right there like it's already been built. You can totally do this.

Getting Started with InfraWorks (2015 version) - Part 4: Adding a Road

Note: This series of posts is an updated version of the same posts I did last year for version 2014 R2. It has the same content as those posts, but updated to address the new user interface and any applicable feature changes. If you're still on the older software, you can try out this series of posts.

Before reading this post, you should probably check out:

Although the title of this post suggests that we're going to do some design, I'm actually referring to dressing up an existing road a bit to make it look better - and eventually to give us something to tie our new roads into.

At this point in the project, we've got a nice terrain and some aerial imagery draped over it.  The imagery looks great from a distance but when you zoom in, it starts to look very grainy.  Not a huge deal for some features, but for others you may want to improve their appearance drastically.  I'm going to accomplish this with the existing road on the switchback area shown below by simply adding a new road in its place.

Here's how:

First I need to bring up the toolbar that contains the Roads icon.  This is done by clicking the Create icon on the InfraWorks core toolbar.

When you click the Roads icon, the Select Draw Style asset card will pop up.  From here you can pick a style that suites the type of road that suites your needs.  For this example I'm going to pick a two lane road style.

Now all I need to do is click points along the existing road.  The number and spacing of points is important.

When I pick one point, InfraWorks will assign an elevation from the terrain.  At the next point, the terrain will be used again and the program will draw a straight line between the two points.  At the next point, the terrain elevation will again be used and InfraWorks will apply a spline to add curvature to the road.  If my points are too far apart, there won't be enough elevation samples for the road to adequately match the existing terrain.  

Remember to double-click your last point to signal InfraWorks that you're ending the command (this takes some getting used to).  When you're done, grips will show up on your newly drawn road.  The box-shaped ones are like square grips in AutoCAD - they let you move within the XY plane - however, the vertex will update to try to match the terrain in its new location.  The cone-shaped grips move in the Z-axis only.  You can use both of these types of grips to adjust your layout.  You can even right click a spot on the road and add a vertex if you need one.

When you're all done, your road will look more like a road instead of a pixellated gray thing.  Although it'll look even better once you do a little style magic - look for a post on that topic in the future.

Keep in mind that I could also have imported road data as a data source if I was lucky enough to have access to it. The National Map Viewer does have some road data that you can download and there are lots of other sources as well. And you can assign whatever styles you want to the data to make local roads, highways, interstates, even bridges. And that doesn't even consider Model Builder. But that's for another day - today we've just spruced up part of road to make it look more like a road.

Wednesday, June 11, 2014

Getting Started with InfraWorks (2015 version) - Part 3: Setting the Model Extent

Note: This series of posts is an updated version of the same posts I did last year for version 2014 R2. It has the same content as those posts, but updated to address the new user interface and any applicable feature changes. If you're still on the older software, you can try out this series of posts.

Before reading this post, you should probably check out:

In Part 1 we acquired terrain data and aerial photos via the National Map Viewer and built a terrain model. In Part 2, we draped the aerial imagery over the terrain model giving us a much better sense of what was where.  Now that we can clearly see the project area that we would like to focus on, it's time to set the Model Extent so that the project has less to think about and performs much snappier.

To begin, I'll click the Manage icon on the InfraWorks core toolbar, and then click Model Settings.

That brings up the Model Properties dialog which is currently has the model extent set to the default of "Use Entire Model".

I'll uncheck that box which enables the BBox (bounding box)/Polygon menu, and then click the BBox option.

Clicking is a little different in InfraWorks if you're used to an AutoCAD-based environment like Civil 3D.  To make the box, I'll single-click the first point and then double-click the second point.  Don't click and drag like you would to make a window in AutoCAD.

I click OK on the Model Settings dialog box and I'm good to go.

Note that there is an Load Extent from File option.  When I first saw this I was thinking that it was looking for some sort of text file or XML file that contained coordinate values.  It's actually smarter than that - you can choose in image file, for instance, and it will use the extents of that image as the extents of your model.  Since I have so many images it didn't make sense in my case, but I can see where that could come in handy in other instances.

Now my model only includes the area I selected, regardless of the area that any source data covers.  And I'm noticing an immediate improvement in performance because I'm giving InfraWorks permission to think about less of my data - in this case a lot less.

If you're not happy with the result, you can go back to the Model Settings command and use the Edit Area of Interest command to change the extents.  Just remember to double-click a point to signal that you're finished (a common theme in InfraWorks that will drive you crazy for a little while).

Now that my model extent is defined I can lean back and enjoy those animated clouds. (they look 100 times better in InfraWorks than they do in the GIF below, but I just had to do it)