Matt Miyamoto | ISD Project Manager
In several recent conversations it has been asked if it is possible in Civil 3D to automate sheet creation for detailed grading across a project. The question usually gets asked soon after talking about the Plan Production tools for creating plan and profile sheets for a linear project such as a road or pipeline. The answer is a resounding, Yes! The solution is found as a feature in Map 3D which is also included in Civil 3D and it is called Map Book. The Map Book tool lays out the sheets by created tiles in a grid pattern across the plan view of the project area in Model Space.
As with most tools in Civil 3D, there is some setup required for successful results. First, a template that contains a well-defined Layout for the desired sheets must be created and include viewports that are defined as placeholders for the required content.
Since Map Book is a feature of Map 3D, it is important to start by opening the Map Task Pane. This can be done by navigating to the ribbon Home tab, Palettes panel drop down, select the button for Map Task Pane, and then selecting ON (on the command line).
The Map Task Pane will open and the Map Book feature is found on a tab on the side of the task pane.
Setup the Map Book Template
Prior to starting the process of assigning Layout Placeholders to viewports, a title block with viewports that represent the main viewport, key map viewport and optionally legend viewport, adjacent arrow blocks, and title block placeholders should be defined in a Layout.
To assign layout placeholders:
On the Map Task Pane and Map Book tab, select Tools and Identify Template Placeholders.
The Identify Map Book Template Placeholders dialog will open. This dialog provides the ability to assign viewports as placeholders for the desired content they will contain. Select the placeholder you want to set in the left column then click on the Select Placeholder(s)>> button below it to assign it to the desired viewport. The Main Viewport placeholder is required; however, the others are optional.
Create the Map Book
Now that we have a template created containing a Layout with viewports that are defined as placeholders for the content, the Map Book can be created. To launch the Map Book tool, click the New button located on the Map Task Pane while the Map Book tab is selected. Then select Map Book on the fly-out menu.
The Create Map Book dialog will open and will provide a list of nodes on the left side to specify necessary information that will be displayed on the right side when a node is selected.
The Source node creates a map book from objects in Model Space or Map Display which includes only the objects defined on the Display Manager tab. A name will need to be defined for the new Map Book.
Sheet Template node sets the template file, layout, optional blocks and the expected plot scale. In the template entry, click on the button on the far right to browse to your .dwt (drawing template) as the source. The Layout entry will populate with the layouts that are available in your template, click on the drop-down to pick the layout you want. If there is a title block defined as a block in your template, you can choose it from the drop-down list to include a title block. If you need an adjacent arrow block and have the areas defined and blocks defined in your template, select the blocks in the drop-down list. Set the scale factor for the layout’s viewport.
The Tiling Scheme node configures the method for creating the gridded tiles across the project area. There are three options.
- By Area calculates the number of tiles base on the map scale and the size of the main viewport. You will place a window around the area you want to include.
- By Number calculates the number of tiles based on the map scale, the size of the main viewport, and the number of rows and columns specified. You select the upper left corner by picking a point then set the number of rows and columns to create.
- Custom creates tiles from existing closed polylines that are selected.
Each of the three options include a % overlap setting that provides overlapping of the tiles.
Click on the Preview Tiles button at the bottom left of the dialog at any time to preview the tiles and make any necessary adjustments.
Naming Scheme node provide options for naming methods of the tiles.
Columns and rows controls naming of tiles with column and row indicators such as “A1”.
Grid Sequential names the tiles sequentially with a numerical value in increments that you define.
Sequential is specifically for Custom tiling schemes and names only the tiles you selected in the custom tiling scheme.
Data Driven allows you to choose an expression based on data in the map.
The Key node is optional and defines the content displayed in the keyview viewport for a key map. You can use a Linked Drawing that has a defined Key Map source, an External Reference, or layers in the current drawing. To use Layers, select the layers you want from the list at the bottom of the dialog and click Add Layers for Map Key button.
The Legend node is optional and specifies the source for a legend. It is possible to use a legend created in the Display Manager. If you do not have a legend viewport, select none.
The Sheet Set node creates a new AutoCAD sheet set or subset of an existing sheet set.
Click on the Generate button to complete the process. Layouts will get created, a new sheet set will be created or an existing sheet set will get updated, the Map Book tab on the Map Task Pane will have pages and tiles that can use to navigate to the tiles by right-clicking on one and selecting Zoom Tile.
You should now be able to automate a construction grading set of plans based on a grid system across your project. Map Book is a great tool for creating sheets so give it a try. If you do not get the desired results, click on Tools on the Map Book tab of the Map Task Pane to edit the settings and rebuild the tiles.