by Sean Kinahan
This article describes a potential use-case for the Street Smart for AutoCAD plugin. The example workflow is for asset management – in this case, the real-world assets we’ll be capturing are pavement markings. First, we need to run through our initial setup checklist. Our drawing file contains corresponding block definitions for the assets we intend to capture, and our Street Smart viewer window is active in the area of interest. Follow along with the video below:
Workspace and Controls
If you direct your attention to the CycloMedia tab on the AutoCAD Ribbon, you will see three panels labeled “Location”, “Distance”, and “Surface” respectively. These panels correspond to three of the possible measurement methods allowed via the Street Smart viewer. The controls contained in each panel control the behavior of the plugin when exporting each type of geometry from the Street Smart viewer. The 2D/3D toggles control whether the Z value of the exported geometry will be included or not, and the SplitButton controls allow the user to select which AutoCAD primitive to generate for each measurement method. The entities available for export will differ depending on the specific AutoCAD vertical (Map 3D, Civil 3D, etc.).
The first step is to select the AutoCAD entity that we are interested in generating from our measurement. In our case, we will select the “Block” type under “Location”. The selected entity and 2D/3D modes can be altered at any point prior to pressing the “Export Measure” button with our measurement active in the viewer. When we select “Block” from the dropdown menu, we see that the SplitButton control updates to display the selected type.
The next step is to enter measurement mode in the viewer. Measurement mode is activated by pressing the button on the Street Smart viewer menu with an icon that is shaped like a ruler. We are prompted to select a measurement method – in this case we want “Location”. Once measurement mode is active, we can select the point we would like to capture and bring it into AutoCAD. For this demonstration we will use the bike lane pavement marking just ahead. We place our location point by clicking once on the center of the real-world pavement marking.
Once we are satisfied with our measurement placement, we need to press the “Export Measure” button on the AutoCAD Ribbon to generate the selected AutoCAD entity. Most entities are generated automatically at this point, but others do require some manual user interaction. In our case we still need to specify which Block to create a reference for at the measurement location. We will select our existing bike lane marker block, and press “OK” to confirm.
You may notice that the generated entity is a bright green color. This is because AutoCAD entities generated from measurements are assigned to the currently active layer in the AutoCAD document, and inherit their styling from the currently active layer as well.
Our Block reference object has been created, but it still needs some minor adjustments to line up correctly with the real-world pavement marking. In this case we will use the rotation tool to orient the marking so that it lines up parallel with the street.
Successfully exported measurements are added to the overlays in the Street Smart viewer. This means that even after exiting measurement mode and navigating to other locations, a representation of the exported point persists in the viewer. This is a helpful tool for displaying locations where data has already been exported. Active overlays can be toggled on or off in the overlays submenu of the Street Smart viewer. The name of the overlay will match the name of the exported measurement – in this case we left it as the default, but users may assign a descriptive name in the viewer prior to export.
Next, we will demonstrate a similar workflow for adding AutoCAD Linear Dimension objects to our drawing using the Street Smart viewer. We enter measurement mode once again, but this time we choose “Distance” for our desired measurement method. Our measurement will span the width of the parking lane to the right side of the bike lane we just captured. First, we pick two points – one at the center line of the lane marking, and another as close as possible to the curb edge on the street.
Before we export the measurement, we ensure that the selected AutoCAD entity type for “Distance” measurement is 3D Linear Dimension. Once again, the generated Linear Dimension object will use the active layer settings for styling. Similarly, dimension format and display properties will use the drawing’s settings. This allows users to rapidly generate AutoCAD dimension objects from a real-world data source that will match the formatting of existing dimension objects in their drawing by default.
For argument’s sake, let’s pretend that we generated a Linear Dimension object when in fact we wanted to generate a different type of AutoCAD entity. Since our measurement is still active in the viewer, we can use those measurement values to generate other AutoCAD entities. In this case, we can simply delete our generated Dimension object, change the “Distance” AutoCAD entity to Polyline, and press “Export Measure” again. We can see that a Polyline entity is generated using the same measurement.
This Street Smart plugin is also available for MicroStation.