The Named Boundary tool – Rectangular Array

Dynamic Views is a general name that encompasses a number of related technologies which share a common goal of making model analysis and documentation more interactive and intuitive.  Dynamic views allow the creation of live, intelligent sections of a design composition that update automatically as the design evolves. Placed in a separate sheet model, such a dynamic section or detail, can be complemented with additional graphics and annotation, while it maintains its association with the source 3D model.

In MicroStation V8i, we used callouts tools and clip volumes to make use of automated sheet generation capabilities of MicroStation. As part of the MicroStation CONNECT Edition, came the addition of the Named boundary tool.  Through its numerous settings, came the capability to automate sheet creation and layout in a very efficient and effective way, further enhancing the dynamic views portfolio of

As you may know, one of the numerous features of the Named Boundary tool is the capability of creating an array of named boundaries that will follow a path element.  This type of workflow is ideal when you have a roadway corridor project.   

But let’s say that your job is not that of a highway designer, but rather as a GIS specialist or Mapping Designer.   Your projects would typically encompass a geographically large area.  The sheets that you would need to produce would potentially have the need to be set in a grid system.

Well the good news is that the Named Boundary tool provides an alternative mode to creating an array.  That is, an array that lets you place a rectangular array of Named Boundaries based off how many rows and columns you need to encompass the project. 

In this blog, we will assume the role as a Master Planner of a large campus facility.  We need to create a grid map of the facility and to do so, we will utilize the rectangular array feature of the Named Boundary tool.

As always, we can activate the tool from the Drawing Workflow, and then from the Named Boundaries ribbon group of the View tab.  To begin, we select the method, From Drawing Boundary.  Drawing Boundaries can be defined in any active sheet model or in a seed file. However, creating Drawing boundaries in a seed file is considered best practice.  In this case, the seed file has been set up ahead of time.  To learn more about creating Drawing Boundaries, be sure check out this other blog on the Communities.

From here, we can select the appropriate drawing boundary to be used for placing the named boundary, followed by entering a name and description for the named boundary.  Then, based off the Drawing Boundary selected, we can set the Detail Scale as necessary.  In this case, we want the scale for each sheet to be 1” = 200’.  Next, and the focal point of this blog, from the 3 modes (single, rectangular array, along a path) we will choose the option, Place a rectangular array of named boundaries.

Upon selecting this mode, the tool settings window will expand with options where you can set the number of rows and columns and then by determine the respective spacing between the rows and columns.   For this demonstration, we’ll have 4 Rows and 4 Columns with not overlapping.

At this point, there is one last consideration and that is the option, Create Drawing:  

  • If off, you can proceed by issuing a data point inside the view, thereby creating the array of Named Boundaries.  However, this will not open the Create Drawing Dialog, and hence, no Saved Views or sheets will be generated.  In the Named Boundaries dialog, the Named Boundaries will be saved to a group as specified in the tool settings.  In this case, Campus Grip Map.  The Named Boundaries in this group all have the name that was specified for the Named Boundary with the suffix that was incremented by 1 for each along the array by MicroStation.  You have the flexibility to rename these to something more appropriate.  The advantage to this is that the Saved View that will be ultimately created will inherit whatever the name that is present.  In the dialog, you also have the choice to delete any non-factoring Named Boundaries that were generated.  

    Furthermore, another advantage to leaving the Create Drawing option off, is that you can manipulate the location of the Named Boundaries graphically.  For example, precisely move a Named Boundary to a XY location, or match the edge with a station tick mark, or something like in this demonstration where an important building falls outside the initial boundary location.  Whatever the case may be, these are not set in stone and can be adjusted accordingly.  When everything is set, from the Named Boundaries dialog, you can then select the group and choose the icon, Create Drawing.  This will open the Create Drawing Dialog whereby you can then generate the sheets.

  • If on, the Create Drawing dialog opens after creating the named boundaries. This dialog is used for automating dynamic views.  This option will create the Named Boundaries with the respective Saved Views.  From Create Drawing dialog you can thereby generate the Drawing models and/or Sheet models from the respective Named Boundaries.  This option is the most direct option to generate the end result -- the sheets.  

    If you wish, you can always return to the source design model where the Named Boundaries were originally created to make fine adjustments to the Named Boundaries, geospatially.  Even changing the names of the Named Boundaries is fine as well.  However, changing the names of the Saved Views is not advisable and may cause issues with linking the models.

So, considering both alternatives, for this demonstration we will choose to place the Named Boundaries with the Create Drawing option disabled.  This way, we can fine-tune the location of the Named Boundaries as well ensure that the naming convention of the Named Boundaries are suitable for the eventual naming of the respective Saved Views.

Now, with the options set in the tool settings window, we will bring the cursor into the view and issue a data point, just to the South West of our campus.  The 4x4 grid is more than enough to encompass our campus and include the surrounding community. 

Initially, the Named Boundaries were placed somewhat arbitrarily, but now we need to move these named boundaries so that the lower-left of each corresponds with an exact XY coordinate.  So, with the Element Selection tool, we can simply select the level the Named Boundaries were placed on.  Then use the standard move tool, with assistance from AccuDraw, to position these geospatially correct.

Now with the Named Boundaries geospatially correct, lets open the Named Boundaries dialog.  To do, we just click the dialog launcher from the lower-right corner of the Named Boundaries ribbon group.  In the Named Boundaries dialog, you can see the Campus Grip Map group that was created.  Expanding this you can see 16 Named Boundaries and how MicroStation auto-named these sequentially.

As mentioned, you could rename these as you see fit, keeping in mind that the Saved Views generated will inherit the same name.  We are fine with how these are so we will proceed to creating our sheets by highlighting the Group Name and then clicking the Create Drawing icon.

This will open the trusted Create Drawing dialog for the creation of drawing and/or sheet models.  For this demonstration, we will just be creating sheets and we will create them inside of the active dgn file.  Since the appropriate Drawing Seed was selected when the Named Boundaries were initially created, there is only one minor thing else to do within this dialog and that is to add these to our Sheet Index.  After which, we can simply click OK to the Create Drawing dialog to automate the sheet creation.

As can be seen, the last sheet in the rectangular array is opened.  From here, you can view the other sheets via the Models dialog.  Or by clicking the sheet link on the mini tool bar that appears when you hover over the Saved View markers.  Or since we included this as part of our Sheet Index, opening the sheets from the Explorer.

So, as you see, this is just another example of how the Named Boundary tool for the MicroStation CONNECT Edition is a great addition to the Dynamic Views portfolio of tools, providing yet another means for accelerating sheet creation and layout.