Reporting for CAD Administrators: Working Units, Scales and Coordinate System Reporting

In a project if you ever have encountered a design file that came from outside your company, department or group, you probably already know that no two “dgn” files are equal. In some cases they don’t print correctly, line styles don’t display correctly or have differing design file settings, and the list goes on.

We are quite used to a design file appearing the way we want it to, based on our standards. Some of the worst “violations” of these standards involve scale, units and coordinate systems.

As a CAD Administrator or user, I would almost bet, that over the years you have needed a report that looks like this. A report displaying all design files, just design models, showing the units being used, (MU:SU), angle format, Annotation Scale if 1:1 or 1:500, what the Line Style Scale is set to, if a Geographic Coordinate System is defined or not and if so what is it set to.

In prior releases of MicroStation, this type of report would have been done by a custom application. Today in the MicroStation CONNECT Edition we have robust reporting capabilities allowing for a report to be created in minutes. Reports are typically thought of for use with Item Types and their properties, used to quantify graphic elements in MicroStation. However, we can use them for many other properties within a design file.

This Blog, the fourth in a series will focus on a common request, “needing a report of my WorkSet, showing all models in all design files, the units, their accuracy, Annotation and Design Scale, what Line Styles derive their scale from and if there is a GCS set in each model and if so, what GCS is set.”

The best place to create this report is not in the active file but rather a configured .dgnlib within your WorkSet, WorkSpace or Organizational standards. This allows everyone with that configured .dgnlib to have access to this report definition and other helpful CAD Management reports. That is not to say that it must be placed at one of these configuration levels, it can be placed anywhere within your configuration from the Personal.dgnlib to standards.cfg and anywhere in between.

We will start with a .Dgnlib, that has been placed into …\Configuration\Organization\Dgnlib. By placing the file in this location, MicroStation will make any reports it contains available for use by anyone using this WorkSpace/WorkSet. The file can also be “locked” using file permissions to be read-only for all but certain users. A copy of the .Dgnlib with this report and others has been provided for your use.

To create the report:

  • From the Drawing Workflow, pick the Analyze Ribbon Tab and Reports.
  • Next, create a New Category (or add to an existing category), calling it whatever you desire. In this example, I will stick with CAD Mgt Reports.
  • Create a New report definition called Units Scales GCS Report.
  • Then, pick the Units Scales GCS Report, and set Properties>Search Location>Location Type to Path.
  • Substitute your Location or desired Variable to locate your desired directory. Here I will use $(_USTN_WORKSETROOT).

Note: There are several Location Types that can be used. A simple Location Type of File or Model will run the report on the active file and model.  

Setting this to Path expands our possibilities, here are just a few others.

$(_DGNDIR) will allow you to check only the files in the active directory. In a scenario where you have a /DGN directory with several disciplines underneath, for examples /DGN/Roadway and /DGN/Signals, this would allow you to run the report only on the Signals by opening a design from that specific directory.

$(_USTN_WORKSPACEROOT) will allow you to check all files within a particular WorkSpace. This will run the report on all Projects or WorkSets within the WorkSpace Root directory.

$(_USTN_WORKSETROOT) will allow you to check all the files within a particular WorkSet. It will run the report on the particular WorkSet you have selected.       

  • From Included Items, pick Item Types, there will be a drop down that appears.
  • Then from Include these Item Types, pick Select an Item Type>Dgn Models, followed by Design Model, selecting OK when complete.
  • From the right side of the dialog, pick Add these related items, Model resides in a Design File > Files.
  • And also, from the right side of the dialog, pick Add related item, Model contains element > ACS. Click OK when complete.
    • At this point we have told MicroStation that the report will include all Design Models. It will also include related items about the design files, their models and their ACS’ if defined.

  • Next pick Columns under Units Scales GCS Report and pick Add columns.
  • Expand Files>General> File Name. Check File Name and pick OK.
    • Set the File Name Format, Path to False, Root to True, Extension to False.
    • Right Press and Rename the File Name to Design File Name.
    • Then Copy and Paste Design File Name, to Design File Extension. Changing the Root value and Path to False, Extension to True.
  • Next pick Columns under Units Scales GCS Report and pick Add columns.
  • Add the rest of the columns based on the table.

  • Right press on the Design File Name and pick Sort on this column.
    • Set Order to Ascending, Hide Repeated Values to No.
  • Next, you can preview your new Units Scales GCS Report. From Reports, pick Preview results.

Note: Don’t worry about the exact order of the columns, you can reorder the report columns via the Move Up and Move Down icons.

Note: The report definition, created in the .Dgnlib is configured at the Organizational level. Alternatively, you can import the report from the .Dgnlib into the active file if desired. This is found under Utilities on the Reports dialog.

Filtering Reports

You will take note that the report is based on all files as defined by the _USTN_WORKSETROOT variable. This includes all .dgn files, .cel and .Dgnlib files. This report is displaying every design file, including every cell in the cell library. To limit the results you can apply a filter to only view the design files (.dgn) files. Select the Filter icon on the Design File Extension column. Then, select only the .dgn file.

 Keep in mind, rather than “massaging” the data herein MicroStation, the original report can be exported to Microsoft Excel and filtered there. Select Export results from the Reports dialog.

Everyone learns a bit differently, so the text of this blog may help some, for those who just want the report, included is the .dgnlib for your use.

 I hope you found this Blog informative. This was the fourth in a series on CAD Administration Reporting. If you have suggestions for needed reports from a CAD Administration basis, please comment on the Blog. You may just see your suggestion featured in the series!