A Guide to Setting Up Civil 3D Survey Database User Defined Properties

February 28, 2024 Brian Johnson

In the realm of civil engineering and land surveying, efficiency is paramount. Projects demand precision, accuracy, and organization from start to finish. Fortunately, with the advent of advanced software like AutoCAD Civil 3D, professionals can streamline their workflows and optimize their processes like never before. One particularly powerful feature within Civil 3D is the ability to customize survey databases with user-defined properties (UDPs), allowing for tailored data management solutions that fit specific project requirements.

In this blog post, we'll delve into the importance of setting up Civil 3D survey database UDPs and provide a step-by-step guide to help you harness the full potential of this feature.

Understanding User Defined Properties (UDPs)

Before diving into the setup process, let's first clarify what UDPs are and why they matter. In Civil 3D, UDPs allow users to define additional fields within survey databases to store custom information associated with survey data points. These properties can encompass a wide range of attributes, including but not limited to material types, notes, project identifiers, and more.

By leveraging UDPs, professionals can enhance data organization, improve project tracking, and facilitate collaboration among team members. Moreover, UDPs empower users to tailor their data management systems to suit the unique needs of each project, resulting in increased efficiency and accuracy throughout the design and construction phases.

Setting Up UDPs in Civil 3D

Now that we've established the significance of UDPs, let's walk through the process of setting them up within Civil 3D. Follow these steps to create and configure UDPs for your survey database:

Step 1: Creating User Defined Properties

  1. In the Toolspace, select the Survey tab.
  2. Open the survey database you want to add UDPs then Right-click on it and select "Manage Extended Properties."
  3. In the Manage Extended Properties dialog, under the Survey Point Property, Right click on User-defined and select New.
  4. Enter a name and description for the UDP, specifying its data type (e.g., String).
  5. Optionally, define default values or validation criteria for the UDP.
  6. Click "OK" to save the UDP settings.

Once the Survey Database UDP is established, the next step involves creating a Point File Format within the drawing file. This format should include a designated column for the newly created UDP. Aligning the location of this column with the ASCII file format containing the raw survey data is essential for seamless integration. When importing survey data into the survey database, it's crucial to specify this new Point File Format to ensure proper mapping and data consistency.

Furthermore, the newly created UDP will be accessible as a point label property. This allows users to incorporate it into a point label style, enabling its display within the drawing. By leveraging this feature, professionals can enhance data visualization and communication, ensuring that relevant information associated with survey points is clearly conveyed in their designs and plans.


In conclusion, harnessing the power of user-defined properties in Civil 3D survey databases can significantly enhance your project workflows. By customizing data fields to capture specific information relevant to your projects, you can improve organization, streamline processes, and ultimately boost productivity. Whether it's tracking materials, recording inspection details, or categorizing survey data, UDPs offer a flexible and efficient solution for managing complex datasets in Civil 3D.

About the Author

Brian Johnson

Civil Applications Expert<br><br>With extensive experience in both engineering and IT, Brian helps organizations make the most of their design technology. Whether it’s through a custom setup, training, implementation, or creation of organization-specific templates and styles, Brian helps both users and managers understand the best methods and processes to get the most from their chosen solutions.

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