June 17, 2015

Civil 3D Point Labels for Manholes With Multiple Pipes

While at the CLSA/NALS Surveyors conference this year, a surveyor presented a challenge she was having in creating a Civil 3D point label style for existing manholes with multiple connecting pipes. The goal was to use a single point label style with five label components (one component each for up to 4 incoming pipes and 1 outgoing pipe) that only displays a line of text for pipes that have invert data.

At first thought, this may be an easy fix if the Text Component Editor - Contents only contained Properties. However, the typical invert data label needs to show pipe direction, diameter, invert elevation, and possibly material. The contents for each component must include text entities besides extracted properties. The undesired result are lines of text displaying even when there is no pipe data. Not only do we want unused lines to not display, we want the invert out component to move up the list.

After poking around a bit, I consulted with Jeff Mishler of Quux Software who has taken on continued development and support of Sincpac-C3D. His answer was an elegant use of Expressions for the Label Component Text Height.
The point label expression uses an IF function to test whether there is any data in the User Defined Property, UDP, for pipe diameter.  If the test is true (a non-zero value), the tru val is returned and used for the Text Height, 0.07/12 (works out to .07”).  If the test is false, the false_val of 0 is returned.  Note that there is a separate expression for each component/pipe.  Each expression tests its corresponding UDP for pipe diameter.

When a label component text height is 0, the entire line does not display regardless of whether there are text entities in the contents.  So, the next label component with data moves up the list giving us a label with no gaps or empty text strings.

An expression for the Component Text Height eliminates the need for multiple point label styles and point groups to address manholes with two, three, or four connecting pipes. Having one Point Label Style for surveyed manholes will save the technician time when importing hundreds of points. Thank you Jeff.

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Daniel Armstrong, P.E., LSIT
ENI Application Specialist
Daniel is an Application Specialist for Infrastructure Solutions at the Ideate Sacramento office. He is a California licensed Civil Engineer and LSIT with over 9 years land development design experience and 6 years Civil–GIS software consulting. Additionally, he provided 6 years of engineering support at a municipal public works department. At Ideate, Daniel assists Civil Engineering and Surveying firms in maximizing their utilization of AutoCAD Civil 3D through consulting, training, mentoring, and technical support. He conducts standard classroom and custom training on AutoCAD, Map 3D, and Civil 3D. 

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