Working with Multiple Vertical Alignments and Drawing Profiles

This question came up today relating to Profile View, creating multiple Vertical Alignments, Creating Profile Drawings and Exporting Profile data to DWG/DXF and DGN. Turned out to be quite the subject to dig into - the summary below is useful background, the video shows some of what is possible

This post took me on a little diversion today so that I could try to answer your question fully. There are a lot of challenges in this question that need to be understood first.

  1. The Profile view has coordinates of Station and Elevation. The view can be exaggerated. The profiles of Alignments can have Symmetrical and Asymmetrical or Vertical Arc elements. None of these are natively supported in Plan View Graphics or in Sheet View Graphics or in exports to DWG / DXF / DGN because the CAD systems a) do not have a Profile View (Microstation and AutoCAD) and b) they don’t support anything other than Vertical Arcs (defined with UCS).
  2. This means that in order to “move data from Profile to Plan or from Profile to Sheet or From Profile to DWG/DXF” has challenges that have to be overcome. No matter what you do, the output will never be a perfect match for the perfect geometry that you had in the Profile View in TBC itself.
  3. If you draw a Polyline in the profile View, it is a simple 2D CAD line. It has no complex geometry in it. You can use the Fillet command to add in Vertical Arcs, but it does not support Symmetrical Vertical curves etc. Therefore if you select those Plines and export them to DWG / DXF they will be created as CAD objects that you can then import back into TBC or any other program as Plan View Graphics.
  4. The Profiles of alignments however, you cannot export those currently to DWG / DXF because DWG / DXF has no Profile View (only Plan and Paper Space) and CAD objects do not support the vertical curve geometry. I have raised this issue today, and we will look into a chorded approximation output to DWG/DXF if you need to send these out as a DWG deliverable. That you could use in Plan View if you re import them. If we do that then we could potentially do the same thing to copy Profiles from Profile to Plan View - I would however like to know the use case for that and why it is needed.
  5. The Profiles and Plines in a Profile View, you can draw a rectangle around them and then use the Rectangle as a Frame to create a Dynaview on a Custom Sheet in the Sheet View. This will create the frame and the lines on a sheet. You can add a Grid to the frame and plot it as a profile. I did try to export these to DWG/DXF and the best I could get was the Grid and the Plines, you cannot get the profiles out from a Dynaview either. Again - if we export Dynaviews and Dynaview Grids to DWG, we discussed with Development the possibility to add the ability to explode those on Export so we can create linework that can be exported - again it would be chorded approximations for all the above reasons. Again if we can export to DWG as Paper Space or Real World Coordinates, then you could re import to Plan View to solve this issue.

You can also create a HAL and then add the profile you drew in the Profile view to the HAL as a VAL - use the line you drew in the Profile View to create the VAL. You can have as many VALs on a HAL as you want. You can select which VAL is active at any particular time in the Alignment Properties. You can also add multiple VALs as ref lines to a Corridor and then use them as a basis for node creation. All VAL points will be drawn at the correct elevation and at Center-line. Use an Offset Elevation instruction to move their horizontal Location out to where they are required - e.g. to build a Ditch Profile Grade line etc. To add them as Reference Lines you select them in Project Explorer by expanding the VAL section on the alignment, select the VALs you want and then add them as Ref Lines to the Corridor (the Corridor not the Template or Corridor Surface).

If however you utilize the Profile Plotting Routine for a Corridor, then the Sheet Drawing created is already all Polylines and you can export that to DWG/DXF and re import that to Plan View. This is a slightly heavier workflow until you get it setup correctly, but once setup it can work quickly. However while you can plot the Active and also any inactive vertical alignments and you can plot reference lines drawn in in the Plan View, I found that in this way of working I could not output Polyline Profiles drawn in in the profile View - so before you can plot or output them to DWG you have to make them Vertical Alignments using the methods sown in the video below