What’s ahead for Civil 3D

Civil 3D

By Tim Yarris

With the start of the new year (and the recent releases of Autodesk Civil 3D 2020.2 and Collaboration for Civil 3D), it’s a perfect time to share some of the other exciting enhancements that are under development for future releases of Civil 3D. While this roadmap will change as time goes on, it’s a good representation of our vision for the near- and long-term future of Civil 3D. We’ll post updated roadmaps as we’re able to share more information.

First, I’d like to set expectations: This roadmap may make statements regarding future events and development efforts for our products and services. These statements reflect our current expectations based on what we know today. Our plans are not intended to be a promise or guarantee of future delivery of products, services or features and purchasing decisions should not be made based upon these statements. We do not assume any responsibility to update this roadmap to reflect events that occur or circumstances that exist after the publish date of this roadmap.

Before I share what’s on the road ahead for Civil 3D, I’d like to share a very brief summary of the road behind it in the 2020 release timeframe. To recap, the Civil 3D 2020.1 Update offered some significant new functionality that enables you to leverage GIS data in your designs, manage standards across your organizations, and design railways with more efficiency.

The Civil 3D 2020.2 Update enabled you to change the way you collaborate with project teams. The Collaboration for Civil 3D entitlement in BIM 360 Design doesn’t change the way you work in Civil 3D, but it is a massive change in how you collaborate with project teams. Using the BIM 360 environment, you can easily invite project collaborators from different offices or locations, set them up with the appropriate permissions, and easily share project data, helping to keep XREFs and DREFs in-sync across the project – all without the overhead associated with a LAN/WAN environment.

For more information, please check out the What’s New videos on the Autodesk Infrastructure YouTube channel.

Now let’s look ahead. To better explain the roadmap, we’ve grouped our plans by theme:

  • Create – The act of model creation
    • Efficiently create models that better capture design intent
    • Engage in a delightful, intuitive, and contextual experience
    • Model to higher degrees of accuracy and detail
  • Connect – Integrating teams and products
    • Connect project teams with AEC-focused collaboration tools
    • Enable multidisciplinary workflows to help deliver projects
    • Extend BIM to all phases of the project lifecycle
  • Optimize – Better designs and processes
    • Analyze, simulate, and iterate to optimize designs
    • Work more productively with software that automates tasks
    • Have more time to design with more reliable and efficient software

Like the Revit and InfraWorks product roadmaps, the Civil 3D roadmap uses the above themes, plus the following colors and icons to identify the roadmap details.

CREATE

This theme focuses on creating and editing project data at any point in the project lifecycle. You might notice a couple of major sub-themes – the first being rail, where we recently delivered new functionality for railway designers to create lightweight geometry. We plan to further enhance our railway tools to provide rail-specific profile view bands and more powerful tools for designing switches and crossings – as parametric objects, as well as baseline geometry.

There’s also a water/wastewater sub-theme. Through the Civil 3D Ideas board, we heard our customers express a desire for updates to the Civil 3D pressure network modeling tools. Adding pressure network support to profile view bands was our first step in enhancing these tools, and we’re continuing down the path to improving the layout and editing workflows. And while it’s possible to swap multiple parts in a pressure network, we’re researching ways to add similar functionality for gravity networks.

The “Bridge general arrangement sheet creation” item is one that fits squarely in the Create theme, but it relies heavily on what we’re working on in the Connect theme. This is a good transition to the Connect theme, where I’ll explain what I mean.

CONNECT

It’s incredibly rare that a project is completed using a single tool or by a single person. You need to work with the right people, who know how to use the right tools for the task at hand. The Connect theme focuses on making it easier to break down barriers among project team members and the tools they use.

The Civil 3D product team is heavily invested in the Connect theme. Our new Autodesk Connector for ArcGIS enables you to link your Civil 3D drawings to an Esri ArcGIS Online portal, create or change data in Civil 3D, and then save changes or publish new assets back to the portal.

As I mentioned earlier, collaborating with your project team has become more efficient with the new Collaboration for Civil 3D entitlement in BIM 360 Design. Our customers are enthusiastic about the promise of this tool, and we’re eager to build on that enthusiasm by improving the overall experience and enhancing the existing functionality. When you transition an existing project to BIM 360, we want the experience to be as seamless as possible. Once the project is there, customers have told us there would be enormous value in being able to see how drawings (and other project data) are dependent on one another and monitor the overall health of the project. When your project reaches a milestone, you should be able to easily share the appropriate deliverables with stakeholders and then compare it to previously published versions of the project. Architects can do this with Revit Cloud Worksharing; we want Civil 3D to have similar functionality.

On the bridge front, our work spans the Create and Connect themes. InfraWorks has outstanding tools for designing bridges, and Civil 3D has outstanding tools for detailed roadway design and documentation. Our goal is to bring the power of those tools together. We want to enable workflows that would leverage Civil 3D for its detailed roadway design tools and InfraWorks for its bridge design tools. Then when you need to produce plan production deliverables, Civil 3D is the more effective environment to display and annotate the bridge designs on general arrangement sheets.

OPTIMIZE

The items in the Optimize theme are all about letting software handle repetitive tasks so that you can focus on the design. To support this, Civil 3D recently improved workflows for sharing design standards via reference templates, enabled gravity network properties to be saved after analysis, and brought design automation to the civil infrastructure space with Dynamo for Civil 3D. To continue in this theme, we want to make Dynamo for Civil 3D even more powerful by adding more API support and make it even more accessible to the general Civil 3D user through the Dynamo Player.

Finally, we’re researching some exciting new ways to automate and optimize the process of grading a site. Civil 3D has deep roots in the land development industry; based on our research, we’re confident this industry is ready for new tools that could radically change the way land development work is done.

HOW DO I GET INVOLVED?

If you would like to get more detailed information about anything I’ve shared, please feel free to join the Autodesk Infrastructure Futures program. This program is an opportunity for you to gain access to and evaluate pre-release software. Get direct access to the product team, to provide feedback on the product roadmap, and test select new functionality and workflows before they make it into shipping products.

If you don’t see something listed here, it doesn’t mean it isn’t on our radar. If you have specific suggestions for ways we can make the product better, we encourage you to submit them to Civil 3D Ideas.

We will continue to post updates periodically, and your feedback helps!  Let us know what you think.

Thanks!

Tim Yarris (on behalf of the Autodesk Civil Infrastructure Product Team)

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