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.