Publishing (Files) vs Publishing (Plots) with BIM360 for Civil 3D

With the addition of BIM360 to our Civil 3D environment in the Civil 3D 2020.2 Update, we now have a couple of different definitions for “Publish.”  In general AutoCAD terms, “Publish” was a tool that we used to create multiple plot files at the same time, generally through the Sheet Set Manager or Publish Dialog box.  Now that we have access to the Cloud through BIM360, we also have a “Publish” function that posts updated versions of our drawings and files to the cloud.

Let’s take a look at how these two forms of Publish are different.

PUBLISH (Upload) Files to BIM360 Project

When we work in Civil 3D and connect to the BIM360 cloud environment, the Autodesk Desktop Connector runs in the background to sync locally cached files to the cloud.  In this case, when referring to Publish from the BIM360 perspective, we are talking about uploading or posting a current copy of the drawing file to the BIM360 online location.  There is also a “Publish Surface to BIM360” tool in Civil 3D that posts a converted version of the Surface to BIM360 that is accessible from Revit through the Link Topography command.  In both of these cases, a Civil 3D .DWG file is being published or uploaded to the BIM360 location, as opposed to a plotted, or digital copy.

PUBLISH (Plot) to BIM360 Project from Civil 3D

In the case of the “PUBLISH” command within Civil 3D which generates plot files, this can also be linked to a BIM360 project folder.  When this action occurs, the “Published” files are more in line with what we see from the standard publish command that produces digital outputs of our plans or construction drawings.  The command itself runs the same as it would if you were to publish drawings to a local or network drive, but we now have an option to access our BIM360 project folders as the location to save our Sheet Set (.dst) file and target for our output (.PDF, .DWF, etc.) files.

One of the more common tools that we can use in Civil 3D for publishing drawings is the Create View Frames/Create Sheets command for generating Plan & Profile Sheets.  When a BIM360 location is selected for this, the drawing (or drawings) containing the new layouts will appear in the BIM360 folder and be accessible for viewing.  A drawing file that contains multiple layouts will open in the BIM360 online viewer with multiple Sheets & Views available for review in the panel on the left that correspond to the Model tab content as well as the Layout tabs that were generated in the Civil 3D .dwg file.

Dwg with multiple layouts BIm360

These individual views can also be Printed directly from BIM360 online, however that functionality is currently limited and does not support the full Sheet Set functionality available in the Civil 3D desktop application.

PUBLISH (Plot) from BIM360 Online

Although Civil 3D can target a BIM360 online location through its Publish command, the actual Publish function is still a feature of Civil 3D itself and must be accessed there rather than from BIM360 Online.

When a file is opened for view in the BIM360 Online viewer, the Model, or any of the layout tabs can be selected and printed individually.  As of December 5, 2019, the BIM360 online printing options do not include the full features of printing from the Civil 3D desktop application.  When a sheet is selected for printing, an automated process takes place that prepares the file for printing and sets a recommended paper size.  A warning also appears stating that the prints should not be used for measurement as accuracy of the plot cannot be guaranteed.

Print from BIm360

Continuing to print will take you to the web browser print dialog box where you can select the output source (hard copy or digital) as though you were printing a document directly from the web.

For now, generating multiple output files (Publishing), and printing from a Sheet Set must still be done through the Civil 3D desktop application, with the added option of saving those files to a BIM360 online project. 

About the Author

Matt Miyamoto

Project Manager - Civil Solutions<br><br>With over 15 years of experience in the civil engineering industry, Matt provides training, consulting, technical support, and implementation strategies for organizations transitioning to Civil 3D. Matt is a licensed civil engineer, an Autodesk Certified Instructor (ACI) as well as an Autodesk Certified BIM Specialist: Roads and Highway Solutions. Additionally, Matt is an Autodesk Certified Professional for AutoCAD and AutoCAD Civil 3D.

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