Civil 3D –Creating Depth Profiles from Existing Grade

April 8, 2020 Leo Lavayen

Civil 3D Profiles that are generated from Surfaces are locked by default.  They are dynamically tied to their source Surface and if the terrain or alignment changes, it will be automatically updated.  But we have some options to create copies to show minimum or maximum depth profiles.


Creating a copy of the EG surface profile will be an exact match and with similar behaviors.

  1. Create a copy of EG Profile using the AutoCAD or Civil 3D commands. The copy will be stacked.
  2. From the Profile Properties dialog box:
    1. Information tab > change style and Rename it to something that makes sense to you.
    2. Profile Data tab > Update Mode column > change from “Dynamic” to “Static”
  3. Lower it using the AutoCAD command or using the Profile Tools.


This works, but if the Alignment path was to change or Surface was to be edited the copy would not be up-to-date.


Creating a Feature Line from the Alignment and EG Profile.

  1. Ribbon Home Tab > Create Design panel > Feature Line flyout > Create Feature Lines from Alignment button
  2. In the creation dialog box uncheck the Create Dynamic Link to the Alignment checkbox and set weeding options as needed
  3. Select the Profile View to activeate the contextual Ribbon > Launch Pad panel > Project Objects to Profile View button
  4. Select the new Feature Line
  5. Make sure the “Use Object” is set for elevations in the Dialog Box Options
  6. Lower the Feature Line using AutoCAD or Civil 3D commands


Again if the Alignment path were to change or Surface was to be edited the Feature Line would not be up-to-date.


Create a Surface with EG pasted into it, NOT just a copy, for we want the copied surface to mirror the original. The downside here is duplicating a large TIN surface will cause file bloating.

  1. Use the AutoCAD Copy command to make a copy of the TIN Surface and rename it.
  2. Then use the Surface Edit command Raise/Lower Surface to drop the elevation
  3. Sample the new Surface


I hope one of the three methods scripted above can help you in creating depth profiles.

About the Author

Leo Lavayen

Civil Applications Expert<br><br>As an Applications Expert, Leo is responsible for supporting, training and implementation of software for survey and civil engineering professionals. He has more than 17 years of experience helping large and small, public and private clients in the eastern United States.

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