[GPK SS4] Please refresh my memory about Native vs. OpenRoads technology in SS4?

I'm back in PowerGeopak SS4, and it's been a few years...

As I recall, I need to develop my alignments (H & V) in the OpenRoads portion of the project, then export them to Native in order to be able to draw and annotate them for plans production. I also believe that I need to develop my corridor in the OpenRoads, then "export" my cross sections to a drawing in order to create sheets. But I'm not sure about any one of those steps...My SS4 experience and training was spotty at best, and most of that was for InRoads. Now that I'm back to Geopak, I'm second-guessing everything I thought I knew.

I was given a GPK file with my horizontal alignments, and I was able to import that into an alignment drawing, so I have OpenRoads alignments. At the moment, they are all in a single drawing...I think it might be better if I split them out to their own individual drawings so that different people can work on different portions of the project (One person doing side roads while someone else does Mainline1 and another does Mainline2). Or is that not going to work when it comes to modeling the different corridors to each other (Do they all need to be in the same drawing to be able to reference each other)?

How much of the design can we do with the native tools? And when I import Native back to OpenRoads, will it modify any geometry already there, or will it create additional geometry? Similarly, when we make adjustments in the OpenRoads technology and we need to export back to Native, does the information modify the existing COGO (etc.) or does it generate an extra set of geometry?

Do we have do do corridor modeling, or are we able to use criteria files? I'm capable in either, but I want to know what options might be available for all of our team members who aren't me.

I was looking through the Wiki and the on-demand training, but it seemed more efficient to just come here and ask.
Thank you.


  • Mary,

    You are correct, you will need to use the legacy SS2 tools for annotation of your geometry. Getting the geometry back into the GPK can be done with the Export Geometry tool, or by configuring a Feature Definition to Auto Export those at which point changes to the OpenRoads geometry are immediately sent to the GPK.

    If your workspace is configured for it, you can go directly to sheets from the corridor model from the OpenRoads tools. If memory serves you can also have the software create a "stacked" drawing that is similar to what the SS2 tools did and includes a cell so you should be able to use the SS2 sheeting process (or other tools). Since the geometry can be pushed back to the GPK, you could also do your cross sections with criteria. 

    The alignments do not need to be in a single drawing so whatever makes since for your workflow should be acceptable there. As for moving from the OpenRoads geometry to the GPK, as long as the names aren't changed, the import and export process should update existing geometry not duplicate. Beyond that there a couple of things to be aware of. If you are using the auto export functionality, deleting geometry out of the DGN file will remove it from the GPK. The reverse is not true, the import process is not a synchronization, it is simply an import, so if you delete something out of the GPK, you will also need to remove it from the DGN. For geometry naming, the OpenRoads geometry does not have the same limitations as GPK naming, so you need to make sure you are using names that will work in the GPK, the biggest thing being the length limit (15 characters I think it was).

    All of this is dependent on the workspace, and what is configured for the respective tools. I think I caught all the questions there, and hope that helps.


    Steven Litzau, P.E. - Senior Consultant


    ORD - / / /
    Power GEOPAK / Power InRoads -
    Civil 3D - 2021 / 2022

  • Correct me if I'm wrong, but (if I remember correctly) the profile model HAS to be in the same DGN as the alignment. That suggests to me that we may want to split the alignments out to individual drawings so that more than one person can work on geometry at one time. If profile models can be in different drawings (like, say, the drawing that contains the profile drawing elements) then we could keep the alignments together and just break out the profiles.

    I also seem to recall that, if corridor modeling was used to generate cross section drawings, that updates to the corridor did not update the cross section drawings. I remember this was further complicated because pushing out updated cross sections did not update the existing cross section drawing, but instead created another model. This meant that there could be more than one model of cross section elements, only one of which would be correct. If references were used to create the actual sheets, all those references would need to be repathed to the new model (or was it Print Organizer that had to be updated for the new sheet models?) This leaves a big hole in production for an important task to slip through. Oh, yes, I remember this! But I don't know if it was a problem with inexperienced persons who missed a few settings, a problem with the accepted workflow of that particular department, or a problem with a decidedly clunky software process.

    That leads me to think that, for keeping cross sections current with the design, that criteria files are the way to go. That way the cross section model is the same throughout the design process, and there are no issues of near-duplicate data to be confused with actual design.

    Unless I am wrong! I could be wrong! I just remember a mess where SS4 cross sections had been cut to a file, then the design was updated and the cross sections were cut out again, but they didn't go to the same model, and files downstream of that didn't get updated for the new model. If that is a known problem (WAD), then I'd like to avoid it if at all possible.


    Power GeoPak
    Power InRoads
    OpenRoads Designer 2021 R2


  • As a long time InRoads users, I found the cross sections in Ss4 to be powerful for some things, and woefully lacking for others. my GEOPAK experience is over 20 years rusty, so I am in no position to comment on that aspect. But the inability to update cross sections was something that made one decide that you wanted to get as much automated annotation as possible and just forget about manual annotations, as they would be lost if new sections had to be cut.

    We did place a construction/no plot line that represented the lower left corner of sheet number 1. Then, if new sections were needed, you would delete the old ones and place new ones in the same location, guided by that line. This way, a PSET file was reusable unless more sheets were needed.

    Charles (Chuck) Rheault
    CADD Manager

    MDOT State Highway Administration

    • MicroStation user since IGDS, InRoads user since TDP.
    • AutoCAD, Land Desktop and Civil 3D, off and on since 1996
  • Actually, at this point, for what we need to do for this project, I've been told that we're going to hand edit the cross sections from here on out unless there is a significant redesign. While it may not be the most efficient method of getting the work done...Actually, it may be more efficient! as long as the changes are limited in scope, it might well take less time to make them manually than it would take to drill into customizing the corridor for those limited adjustments (and re-re-re-cutting cross sections!). And SS4 Geopak still has access to all the wonderful cross section editing tools that InRoads never had and OpenRoads decided to omit.

    I do like your idea for a NP point to guide any replacement sheets!


    Power GeoPak
    Power InRoads
    OpenRoads Designer 2021 R2


  • Good Morning Mary.

    So cutting the cross sections can be iterative process.  Use the newer openroads for making them.  They also go along way for labeling them.  DO NOT make the sheets from Openroads.  Only use openroads for the cross sections and then use Native for the sheets.  You should be able to get the XIN file from your DOT for the xsections and a pssl (I think) from them for native sheet creation.  I'm swamped otherwise I'd spell out more.