File sizes of Designs from TBC to Works Manager Appear Large

I had this question earlier today and I thought that it was worth capturing here. The question came from a User that has started to use Works Manager with Trimble Business Center and his field systems (Siteworks, SCS900, Earthworks and GCS900). The question related to why the VCL files coming out of TBC using the Works Manager export are so large in some cases.

A VCL file is a smart data set from TBC. It will contain the selected objects (Surfaces, Alignments and Linework), but it will also contain the Dependent Objects. For example in TBC you created a Corridor Model. The Corridor Model references at least an Existing Ground Model (so that the corridor can create tie slopes). The Corridor Surface Model is by default an Alignment Based Surface and so references the HAL of the Corridor model. In addition you may have added some Surface Instructions which reference in other surfaces, or you may have referenced strata layers into the Corridor Model. So when you create a Works Manager output and select the Corridor Surface Model, unlike when you export to a TTM or DXF or SVD / SVL, the VCL file currently sends the selected data along with all the dependent objects which is what bloats the file size between TBC and Works Manager. The sending of this data is normally pretty fast because you are typically on a decent Internet Connection in the Office environment.

However this opens up a second question. Once the data gets to Works Manager where it is held as a VCL File, when devices are added to the project which the Design belongs to, then the Device Type will dictate how Works Manager delivers the data to the field systems based on the following rules

SCS900 - will receive a Surface in TTM, Linework in DXF and Corridor Surface Model in PRO formats
Siteworks - will now receive the entire VCL file (see more below)
GCS900 - will receive a surface as an SVD file and Linework and Alignments as an SVL file
Earthworks - will now receive the entire VCL file (see more below)

So another thing comes out of this - what happens on the device when it receives all of this data, the following should be the case, but it does somewhat depend on how the Design was packaged by TBC in the VCL file.

  1. You can select a number of different Design Types when exporting to Works Manager i.e. Surfaces, Linework, Road Surface Model (Surface and Alignment) etc. If you choose one of these options then the packaging in the VCL file tells the systems downstream what to use - so even if there are dependent surfaces and linework in the VCL the packaging of the Design says use this Surface, this linework and this alignment etc.

There is one option (User Defined) that acts differently. When you choose this option, you can choose any number of surfaces, any number of Alignments and any number of linework objects. You will also pick up all Dependent Objects as well by default in the VCL. Because the User Defined option does not Package Design information for the downstream systems, this option is restricted to Earthworks and Siteworks devices only because only they have the direct VCL support in the devices on site. When those devices open that Design, they will prompt the operator to select the Surface and or Alignment that they want to use because there are options in the file provided with no Design Packaging to force the selection. On selecting the Surface and Alignment, the devices in the background extract that information and only hold that in memory on the device for use until the user changes the selection again.

When a GCS900 or SCS900 Device is added to the Works Manager Project, the Packaged Designs are prepared into DXF, TTM, PRO for SCS900 or SVD,SVL for GCS900 and delivered to the system on synchronization. When an Earthworks or Siteworks System (of the correct version) hit Works Manager for a Design, they will receive the VCL file as provided by TBC to Works Manager in its entirety, however the Design Packaging will limit what of the VCL file provided will be offered up to the User graphically.

If you want to bypass the Dependent Objects then you can do one of the following

  1. Use the Export functions of TBC to generate the data you require in output formats readable by Works Manager i.e. LandXML (Surfaces, Linework, Alignments), DWG/DXF (Linework), TTM (Surfaces) and DC Files (Site Calibrations for GPS) or SVD (surfaces) and SVL (Linework and Alignments) and CAL (Site Calibrations for GPS). You can then use the Works Manager Create Design tool and add these files to the design for it to create the designs as needed by the field systems.

  2. In TBC - you can take necessary actions to break the Design elements required away from their dependent objects - for example Explode a Corridor Model and make a surface out of the linework that was generated that you then use for Works Manager Export to VCL. The same applies to Surface Ties and Sideslope Objects that reference other objects in the object that then get added to a Surface Model thereby bringing in dependencies etc…

I hope that this helps you to understand how to manage your data for Works Manager better