Best Practices for adding survey data to an existing surface?

This has been discussed before but without any efficient answer I am asking it again in a slightly different manner.   We survey large irregular property for a local municipality that requires MicroStation.  These sites always require additional topo work to be added after the initial surface is created.  A typical request would involve updating the topo to include areas that have changed due to construction or simply expanding the original topo area.

Each time we add data to the existing surface we must RECREATE THE ENTIRE DTM AND RE-EDIT EVERY SINGLE TRIANGLE THAT WAS EDITED DURING THE ORIGINAL SURFACE CREATION. This process can take days to accomplish depending on the size of the site.  Some sites are over 5 miles long.  

What we need is the ability to add data to a surface without having to re-create it, similar to the the way Civil3d functions.  A 30 minute surface addition in Civil3d can take days in Microstation.  This is extremely frustrating and adds thousands of dollars and tons of wasted time to these projects.  Just yesterday an area was uncovered and it was surveyed.  The area consisted of less then 15 points which needed to be added to the existing surfafce.  Simple, right? Hell no, we had to recreate the DTM and re-edit the triangles.  It took 8 hours to complete what should of taken 15 minutes.

Please do not tell me to 'fix the survey data' or to make every triangle a breakline.. This has nothing to do with bad survey data.  I have been creating surfaces for 25+years and each and every surface needs a detailed review and editing of triangles, basically just flipping faces so the surface is correct.

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  • . This program is so far behind when dealing with surfaces. It's pathetic to be honest. 

    You are 100% correct!

  • Well, SS10 is essentially SS4, which is probably closer to eight years old by now. Yes, V8i is "so far behind" because I believe it hasn't been updated in at least 4 years, and it won't be updated again. It's so far behind because it's so old...


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  • Well the newer versions are even worse, you cannot make any surface edits that last longer than one surface rebuild.  Therefore you must do all edits each time you update the surface.

  • MikeH:  As a former surveyor and now a modeller, my solution is to have the surveyor produce the surface.  After a few times, the surveyors will figure out how to change their surveying techniques to suit the software and to produce a workable surface.  I have used civil design software where I could do 90% of my surface modelling / office work in the field, just by coding my points correctly.  

    There will be a lot of short term pain, but there will be long term gain.  Your survey crew must be familiar with office work and your designers must be familiar with field work.  

    This is the tool that you have to use for your contract, you may not like it as you only see a small portion of what the software is capable of doing, but at the same time, this is the right place to complain as the people that have the power to do something about it, listen to this forum.  

    My job is to make this software work better.  Some of my solutions don't make sense to the average user until you explain why.  A surveyor must be able to process their own data and produce a surface in an efficient manner.  Gone are the days when a surveyor when a survey does not QC/QA his own data. 

    This is my 2 cents worth on this matter.

    David E. Stewart

    Calgary, Alberta

    ORD 2022R1

  • Thanks for the response David..

    I am the surveyor so your statements ring true in that you must know how surfaces, triangulation and such work together with the software. We only use it because we have to.   Which is why NO private consultants i have met in my 30 years of travels willingly use this software when allowed the freedom to choose.  I am very aware of the apparent downstream benefits for large scale transportation projects. With that said we have suitable workarounds that involve using other software and then export/import xml files.  Its just crazy that you cannot edit a surface and have those edits stay for the life of the surface. No surface is ever perfect, they all require edits.