Leveraging the Use of Profile Banding

In my design experience, I very rarely had to create custom plan and profile construction drawings. The majority of the utility projects I have designed required a very simple and straightforward plan and profile configuration where profiles contained your basic information:

  • Grade Lines
  • Utility Designs
  • Station and Elevation Profile Band
  • Necessary callouts required to more accurately define the design and instruct the contractor

My company, HDR, had recently been working on a very large natural gas transmission main project, which extended approximately 244 miles across three states. It was a utility design project, so the majority of the construction drawings were set up as Plan over Profile sheets. The client requested that we include all Erosion Control BMPs, any Environmental Constraints and Impact Zones, Limits of Right-of-Ways and Property Boundaries (with Parcel Data included), as well as any key notes in all profile views within the drawing set so as not to clutter the plan view too much.

As you can imagine, there was quite a bit of additional information required to be included on the construction drawings. This could become quite messy if not well thought out and organized from the beginning of the project. After much discussion, we had determined that the cleanest way to show all of this data on our sheets would be to set up our profile views such that they included additional bands to represent this information.

In order for our Profiles to read this information, we had to incorporate this data into various AutoCAD® Civil 3D® objects that referenced our proposed transmission alignment along the way. Being that this alignment stretched approximately 244 miles, extra attention was made to verify all this data was dynamically linked to the alignment, so that we would avoid massive rework, headaches, etc. down the road if the horizontal alignment had to be revised in any way.

On the flip side, even though we had figured out a nice clean approach to displaying this additional data in our profile views, we were ultimately just cluttering our plan views with these dynamically linked Civil 3D objects instead. To minimize some of the clutter, we decided to use a combination of Pipe Networks and Section Sample Line Groups to differentiate the various features and data to be represented in our profile bands. Furthermore, we kept all these features on no plot layers and styles in plan view so they could be turned off relatively quickly.

Figure 1: Here is a view of the final product of our typical plan and profile sheets

As you can see in the example in Figure 1, all information displayed in the Right-of-Way, Environmental Data, and Site Specific E&S bands, as well as the symbology in the profile view depicting the proposed water bar and trench plug locations, were all dynamically linked to the various Civil 3D features we incorporated into the plan views. Figure 2 shows an outline of the workflow we used to define these features to be dynamically linked to the profile band set.

Figure 2: Final Band Set dialog box

Stream, River, Pond, Lake, and Wetland Crossings

  • Create a New Sample Line Group.

Figure 3: Sample line group created for stream, river, pond, lake. and wetland crossings

  • Place Section Lines at each location where the Main Alignment crosses stream, rivers, ponds, lakes, and wetlands. If a Main Alignment crosses a stream or river that is less than 10’ wide from top of bank to top of bank, place Section Line at Centerline only.
  • Place direction (ENTER/EXIT) according to the direction of the Main Alignment stationing as well as the name of the water body crossing in the “Name” value for each Sample Line.

EPZ Crossings

  • Create a New Sample Line Group.

Figure 4: Sample line group created for EPZ crossings

  • Place Section Lines at each location where the Main Alignment crosses EPZ boundaries.
  • Place direction (ENTER/EXIT) according to the direction of the Main Alignment stationing as well as the name of the water body crossing in the “Name” value for each Sample Line.

Property Owner and ROW Information

  • Create a New Pipe Network.

Figure 5: Pipe network created for property owner and ROW information

  • Place Null Structures at each location where the Main Alignment crosses Property Boundaries and ROW Lines with any size pipe connecting throughout the entire run.
  • Place Parcel Number and Last Name of Owner (or Road Name) in the Description of each Pipe as two separate lines of text.
  • Select All Structures and Pipes in the “Parcel Data” Pipe Network.
  • Right-click and select “Draw Parts in Profile View.”
  • Make sure all Structures and Pipes are assigned to the “HDR – No Plot” Style.

Timber Matting and Soil Instability Zones

  • Create a New Pipe Network.

Figure 6: Pipe network created for E&S Timber Matting and Soil Instability Zones

  • Place Null Structures at each location where the Main Alignment crosses erosion control matting and known soil instability area boundary lines.
    • Place key note reference in the description of each structure.
  • Place pipes connecting to Null Structures within areas where the Main Alignment crosses erosion control matting and known soil instability areas and apply.
    • Add labels to all pipes using the “HDR – E&S Matting and Soil Instability Zones” style assigned to it.
    • Place key note reference in the description of each pipe.
  • Select all structures in the “E&S matting and Soil Instability Zones” pipe network.
  • Right-click and select “Draw Parts in Profile View.”
  • Make sure all pipes and structures are assigned to the “HDR – No Plot” Style.

All Other Erosion Control Features

  • Create a New Pipe Network for each key note line (maximum of four).

Figure 7: Pipe network created for first line of key notes. (Additional pipe networks were created for each additional key note line)

  • Place a “Concentric Cylindrical Structure” at each Water Bar and Trench Plug location.
  • Place key note reference in the description of each structure.
  • Select all structures in each pipe network.
  • Right-click and select “Draw Parts in Profile View.”
  • Assign all structures at Water Bar locations the “HDR – Design Water Bar” style.
  • Assign all structures at Trench Plug locations the “HDR – Design Trench Plug” style.
  • To change the elevation assigned to Trench Plug locations, select each structure and modify the “Surface Adjustment Value” field as required.

Figure 8: Trench plug surface adjustment available within Structure Properties dialog box

  • Place Null Structures at each location where all other the E&S features have been placed that need to be projected into Profile Views and/or Profile Bands with key note references.
  • Place Reference Number to correspond with the General Notes Reference Sheet in the description of each structure.
  • Select all structures in each key note pipe network.
  • Right-click and select “Draw Parts in Profile View.”
  • Make sure all structures are assigned to the “HDR – No Plot” style.

Assigning Bands to Each Profile

  • Select profile view.
  • Right-click and select Profile View Properties…
  • Go to the Bands tab.
  • Select “Import Band Set” button located at the bottom of the dialog box.
  • Select the “Nexus Pipeline – E&S Profile Band Set” and click the OK button.
  • Final Band Setup should look like Figure 9.

Figure 9: Final Band Set dialog box

This workflow of displaying multiple levels of information within our profile views is just one of many that could have been implemented on this project. There are many different ways we could have approached this, and believe me, many were discussed and carefully vetted. This workflow was a unique example of what can potentially be done within Civil 3D and extensive use of profile banding. Hopefully this has provided enough insight for you to apply similar concepts to your current or upcoming projects.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s