Join Eric Chappell for an in-depth discussion in this video Creating a surface profile and profile view, part of Basic Roadway Design with Civil 3D.
Before designing a road profile, you must first understand the nature of the existing terrain. And a surface profile is a great way to do that. Fortunately, when you have an alignment, Civil 3D makes creating a surface profile rather easy. In this video, you'll learn how to create a surface profile and display it in a profile view. Before we get started, I want to show you how to create two viewports in your drawing. This is an important skill to know because often you'll want to look at, for example, your profile and your plan view at the same time.
So even though it's a basic AutoCAD command, I want to make sure that you know how to do it for that purpose. I'll do it by clicking the View tab on the ribbon and then on the Viewport Configuration menu, I'll chose either Two Vertical or Two Horizontal. Now, in some cases, you might want to see the profile, plan and your assembly, or multiple views for multiple reasons. Here I'm just interested in plan and profile, so I'm either going to choose either Two Vertical or Two Horizontal, depending on the shape of my project.
In this case, I'll pick Two Horizontal. What I'll do here is use the bottom view for plan and the top view will become the area that houses my profile view so that I can look at both of them simultaneously. So now I'm ready to create my surface profile. I'll go to the Home tab of the ribbon and under Profile, I'll select Create Surface Profile. That'll bring up a dialogue where I have to make some choices. The first choice is which alignment would I like to profile and in this case, I'd like to do Shady Ridge Lane, which is the main road running along the west side of my development.
I also need to select the surface or surfaces that I want to sample. In this case, it's rather easy because I only have one surface in the drawing. But let's say I had a whole list of them. This is the area where I would choose the ones I wanted to sample and simply click the Add button to move them down to this lower area called the Profile list. I've got some additional options in this area where I can choose the style and some labeling and those types of configurations for my profile. In this case, I'm going to accept the defaults and click OK.
Before I click OK though, I want to point out that I could move on to the next step automatically by clicking Draw in profile view. In the interest of teaching this, I'm going to click OK to kind of complete this step and then we’ll move on to the next step, which is actually to draw the profile view. When I click OK, Civil 3D informs me that a profile has been created in the Event tab of Panorama. I can close that down. And I want to point out that although it appears nothing has happened in the drawing, something really has happened.
And I'll see it if I go to the Alignments node of the Prospector and expand my alignment and then Profiles. And you'll see that a profile has been created. It's called EG Surface 4. And, of course, I can rename it and configure it once it's been created. But for now, we'll leave the name as is. Now, to see my profile in the drawing, I need to create a profile view. And I'll do that in the Profile View menu by simply clicking Create Profile View. This brings up a wizard and there are lots of options in how I generate the profile view in my drawing.
The first thing I want to make sure of is that I have the right alignment selected, and I do. There are other options here for setting the name of the profile view, choosing the style, and as with just about every object in Civil 3D, a style controls how it looks and how it behaves. I'll progress to the next dialogue and here you see I can control the station range. By default, Civil 3D will generate the entire profile from the very beginning to the very end, but if I want, I can carve out a smaller range and specifically identify which station I want to start at and end at.
I can do something similar with the height of the profile. Civil 3D will automatically look at the lowest and highest elevations in the profiles and choose the height of the profile view based on that. I can override that and enter my own values if I want. In this case, we'll let Civil 3D make the choices. In the next dialogue, I can choose a style or some labeling for my profile, and some other options as well. Again, in this example, we'll accept the defaults. We'll skip over the Pipe Pressure Network tab because we don't have any pipe networks or pressure networks in the drawing, but if we did, we could configure some settings for those as well.
Data bands are bands of information that can be displayed along the bottom or the top of the profile view. In this case, Civil 3D, by default, is placing a band at the bottom of the profile view which will show elevations and stations for the information shown in the profile view. And then finally, if we have more than one profile in the profile view, we can hatch different areas between them to call out cuts, fills and that sort of thing. We only have one profile so far, so we're not going to do anything with this particular group of settings.
I'll go ahead and click Create Profile View and Civil 3D will prompt me for the profile view origin, which is the lower left corner of the profile view. I'll click a point in my drawing and just like that, I have a profile view. I want to point out the dynamic nature of profile views and profiles, and how they're linked to alignments. If I zoom into my alignment view and make a change, what you'll notice is that the profile updates automatically. If you looked carefully, you would have seen a slight change here in the profile view.
I'll do it one more time in case you missed it and I'll change my alignment in a different area. So, watch the right end of the profile view and you could see it automatically update to account for the change that I've made. You'll find this dynamic behavior throughout Civil 3D. And it really is an important part of how Civil 3D works because making one change doesn't lead to you having to do a bunch of extra work to complete that change. Instead, things just happen automatically in Civil 3D. When you change one part of a design, the other parts change automatically so that you don't have to go through and do all the work to update your design.
So as you've seen, creating a surface profile is fairly easy once you have an alignment and a surface in place. You've also learned about the dynamic nature of profiles and how they are linked to the surface and alignment that they are derived from. Now that you understand how surface profiles are made, you can begin creating them for your own road designs.
- Establishing the road centerline using an alignment
- Capturing and defining road elevations with profiles
- Designing the road cross-section using an assembly
- Building a 3D model of the road using a corridor
- Creating sections views of your design
- Designing intersections