Survey Data Post-Processing

Softwares used: Civil 3D, QGIS

AutoCAD Civil 3D - C3D,

C3D is being used for post processing of survey data. C3D offers a BIM solution for Land Surveyors. Basic knowledge about C3D can be obtained by following tutorials online though a pre-acquired knowledge of Autodesk AutoCAD is a plus point and sufficient enough to start working with C3D.

QGIS is an Open source GIS.

Getting Started:
Standards and Workflow for C3D
The layers (Nomenclature of layers is coming from standards- U.S. National CAD Standard Version-AIA) are pre-assigned a geometry type (Point, Line and Polygon) in their layers description (Use layer manager to check). This is done keeping in mind inter-operability with GIS (In shapefiles format), geometry type Shape files are of three kinds- points, lines and polygons.

Geometry types-
Based on the description of Layers, if the layer Geometry is specified as 'Point', the raw survey data can be auto imported to webGIS - GISAF, no post processing is needed for 'Points'. For lines and polygons, We use Polylines (for 2D lines/Polygons) and 3Dpolylines (for 3D lines/polygons). In case of curved lines in 2D, Polylines command (PLINE/PL) is enough but its not possible to create curved lines in 3D using the 3Dpolylines, in such cases feature lines come into the picture. (Important: 2D polylines, splines, ellipses and circles are not exportable to shapefile format, they have to be always converted into Polylines).

*We are at the moment generating shapefiles (lines and polygons) in 2D (z=0) but keeping the format of files as 3D.

Using Feature lines for creating Curved geometries in 3D-
There are a series of steps involved when creating curved lines using feature lines. You can follow two methods depending on the situation :-

Method 1(For curved objects in 3D using elevation of points):- Create the object using 3DPOLY. Now use the create feature lines from objects and select the objects to be converted to feature lines. You will not notice any difference in the geometry on the screen as such but in properties you will see the object type description of selected object as feature lines.

Method 2(For curved objects in 3D by draping the lines/curves on a surface):- Create the object using PLINE. You will notice all the lines are straight. Now use the create feature lines from objects and select the objects to be converted to feature lines. You will not notice any difference in the geometry on the screen as such but in properties you will see the object type description of selected object as feature lines.

Now modify tab is used to convert the straight lines to curved lines. There are many ways to do it and different methods can be adopted in different situations. The easiest and the most commonly used method is by using the smooth command in the modify tab. After using the smooth command, a curve would be visible. This is a curve in 3D. To view it, object viewer option can be used by selecting the object and right clicking.
More complex methods have to be studied and each case has to be taken into consideration separatly when using - FITCURVEFEATURE In some cases to obtain a desired curve(Meaning more fragments) more PI's (Point of insertion) need to be added into the feature line. PI are the points where the feature lines gets fragmented when exploded.This step often becomes difficult to manage due to complexities involved in mathematical functions behind creation of feature lines.But it should be explored by all means.
Because the feature lines are not exportable to shapefiles, the feature line has to converted back into a 3D polyline. This can be done simply by explolding the object. Once exploded into 3D polylines, you will see that the curve gets fragmented into smaller segments of straight lines. You can repeat the process of creating the 3Dpolyline object into feature line and then smoothening it till you get a desired geometry resembling the curve.
Situations of sharing of points with different layers and proceeding with linework in such circumstances-
There is always a best way to take the survey points taken in the field by the surveyor. For instance, in case of a road and a curb adjacent to it, the surveyor takes the points only once. It is only during the post processing that the lines are generated (You can create the lines in field while taking the survey points as well, but that is not the most feasible method majorly due to time constraints) and in this case, two line on the same position shall be generated, one under layer of roads and one under layer of curbs.
The line work becomes complex in case of generating 3d lines and 2d lines on the same place. This can arise due to having some layers as 2D (for example building outlines) and some as 3D (paved surfaces- <taking into consideration the future use of the layers. In this case, for the purpose of water management, it becomes essential to have survey of such surfaces as 3D. Survey of building outlines doesn't need to be 3D because the elevation points are not recorded while surveying them due to feasibility).
So, in case of generating 3D linework from survey points with no elevation, Feature lines and SURFACES come into picture. The surfaces are generated by an interpolation method in C3D by giving a set of Point Groups. We have selected the triangulation method as the appropriate method due to availability of a dense set of points.
While creating the feature lines from objects (as explained above, check the box "assign elevation" and a dialog box appears to select the surface you want to select). Surfaces will have to be generated prior to using this. (add wiki for generating surface). Surface should be generated including the points of the layer in the point group of it.