Civil Geometry: How to Use Your Existing Feature Tables

The new Civil Geometry tools can use your existing feature tables to control symbology and annotation of the geometry elements you create.  The supported feature tables are:

  • For GEOPAK users - the DDB file
  • For InRoads users - the XIN file
  • For MX users - the PSS file

There are no required changes to these existing files. They are the same files you use in your everyday work in MX, InRoads and GEOPAK.  You can set up the Civil Geometry tools so that these files are always available by the use of DGNLIB files.

The new Civil Geometry tools make use of these files by creating a link from the DGN / DGNLIB file to the existing feature table.  This is an important point.  Because it is a link and not an import or conversion, you do not have to do anything to the DGNLIB when edits are made to the feature table.  If you add or delete items from the feature table there is a little work required which we will discuss in a seperate article.

So, how do we setup Civil Geometry?  It is quite simple, actually.

  1. Create a DGNLIB
  2. Open your civil appplication (MX, InRoads or GEOPAK) and load the feature table in the native tools
  3. Open the Item Browser
  4. Set up the link to the feature table
  5. Set the options in Item Browser to Auto persist element into the native cogo database and auto annotate.

Create a DGNLIB file - This can be a new file from seed or you can use one of the DGNLIB files you already have for text syles, levels or whatever.

Open Civil Application - Start MX, InRoads or GEOPAK in the normal way.  Open your PSS, XIN or DDB file in the nromal way.

Open the Item Browser - File > Item Browser.  This will open two windows, a tree panel and a details panel. In the tree panel open the panel labeled Content Management as shown below

Set up link to existing features.  - right click on the content management label as shown below and choose "Link to xxx".  The panel will be populated with links to the items in the active PSS, XIN or DDB.

NOTE: In Select Series 1 this label reads "Import" which is a misnomer. 

NOTE: The image above is from a GEOPAK installation so the prompt reads "Link Active DDB file".  The prompt will be slightly different for MX and InRoads.

Set options - Select an item (or multiple items) which are now linked in the Content Management panel and review the following in the details panel of the Item Browser:

  •  for some items you will want to create elements in the GPK, ALG or FIL file as you create the Civil Geometry. For these items set the autopersist to True.
  • for some items you will also want to auto annotate the elements as they are created.  For these set auto annotate to True
  • Also check the naming prefix to insure that the name will be valid when persisted into the native cogo database.  The default name assigned during the link process is a derivative of the feature item name. But you can change it here.

NOTE: The image above is from a GEOPAK installation.  MX and InRoads will look somewhat different but will function the same.  Since GEOPAK ddb files can have a structure of subfolders, this structure is preserved in the presentation here.  InRoads and MX installation will show a flatter arrangment.

Finally make sure the DGNLIB is located in a place accessible to all your projects and users and is included in the configuration variable MS_DGNLIBLIST.