Moving data from other formats always tends to be tedious process. It is even more frustration to use the Civil Engineering data contained in these files and move it to your Bentley Civil software. In the past, you would look into Autodesk's C3d DWG and observe the proxy graphics as seen below:
Well things have changed. In 2008, "Bentley and Autodesk announced an agreement to expand interoperability between their portfolios of architectural, engineering, and construction (AEC) software. Autodesk and Bentley will exchange software libraries, including Autodesk RealDWG*, to improve the ability to read and write the companies’ respective DWG and DGN formats in mixed environments with greater fidelity."
The question is, "How do I open and view Civil 3d DWG that contains the C3d objects in MicroStation?" . Even, if I install the recently released MicroStation (SELECTseries 2), which includes Bentley V8i (SELECTseries 2) - Autodesk Real DWG 2010 I still cannot view the Civil 3D Objects.
Well, to view theses proxy elements you will also need to install Autodesk object libraries. This can be done by installing AutoCAD 2010 - AutoCAD Civil 2010 Object Enabler under Services & Support>Utilities and Drivers> civil_2010_oe.exe from Autodesk's website. This object enabler provides the necessary libraries so you can open the DWG and view the civil data. This exe will prompt you if you want to integrate with Bentley V8i (SELECTseries 2) - Autodesk Real DWG 2010. Obviously, check this on during the installation with any others that you need to enable.
After installing the Autodesk Object Enabler, reopening the same DWG with MicroStation (SELECTseries 2) .
In the capture above, the AEC Objects are displayed in MicroStation. The Autodesk C3D styles used are based on the define Proxy Display View. Thus, the view above is opened with the DWG Open options>Advanced>Proxy Display View>Isometric (Default). Based off the style for that view you would observe triangles and dtm boundary, but no contours. If you reopen the DWG with the >Top as the >Proxy Display View, you would then see the contours, which match to the settings that you would see with opening the same DWG with Autodesk C3d since the Top view was the active view in the DWG.
The > DWG Open Options> are available in the >File Open or under the > Reference>Attach dialogs.
The DWG Open Option will remain the same for the entire MicroStation session, so if you need to change this setting back to Isometric to expose elements in a different view, you would need to change this on opening the DWG or during the attachment of that DWG file .
Hint: Expect to see enhancements with the Proxy Display View in future releases.
The above workflows allows you to open or attach DWG files with proxy elements with fidelity. The question is how would you be able to harvest this data and use it in Bentley Civil application. The AEC Objects are locked but they can be saved and or copied into a DGN. This will allow you to use the MicroStation >Drop command that breaks the AEC cell down to simple MicroStation elements. These elements then can be imported as surfaces and geometry into Bentley Civil products via graphics. Remember to use the correct Proxy Display View to get the data you are after. You may only want the contours or maybe you desire to use the comprising breaklines and points.
In conclusion, the interoperability agreement between Bentley and Autodesk makes data exchange much easier than ever before. Using these new enhancements will take the headache out of migrating data from Autodesk's applications to your Bentley solution.
Bentley V8i (SELECTseries 1) - Autodesk Real DWG 2010 is not delivered with MicroStation (SELECTseries 1) but is available on SELECT Downloads under MicroStation Product> Enhancement & Updates.
Be aware that SS2 users will not be able to open or extract data from Civil 3D files that are newer than 2010. The current version of Civil 3D is 2013. Therefore when requesting files you should request to have newer versions converted to 2010 format or older prior to delivery. Also know that when Civil 3D files are converted to older versions the intelligent objects will be exploded (dropped). Since they will no longer be functional proxy objects you will not be able to control how they display when opened or referenced using the options outlined in this post. Thus you must specify to the provider whether you want contours or spots and break lines when the files are converted for you.