Autodesk Vault and Civil 3D – Part 3

In part 2, we looked at installing Vault Collaboration for Civil 3D and how to create a Vault project.  In this post, we will start designing in Civil 3D put drawings and data into Vault.

The first step to create a new Civil 3D drawing with Vault is to use a template as you normally would.  Once this file is created, it needs to be saved.  If you try to check in a drawing without saving it will prompt you to save the drawing.  If you click OK to continue and save the drawing, Civil 3D will prompt you for a location  to save the file.The location that you select to save the file does not matter in the grand scheme of Vault.  When a drawing is checked in, it’s stored in the Vault.  When it’s checked out, Vault uses a Working Folder to determine where to store the file.  If you keep the file checked out when you initially add the drawing file to Vault, it will automatically open the file from your Working folder and close the file that you saved.  If you’re not careful, you’ll end up with duplicate file names scattered across multiple locations.  When using Vault, the best rule of thumb is the master copy of the file lives in Vault.

What should you set as your Working Folder path?  By default, the working folder is C:\Civil 3D Projects.  You could also choose a network folder such as \\WC-SVR\Projects.  There’s no right or wrong answer for this path and a lot of factors that go into the decision.

  • Will having the read-only network path files be a key benefit to your organization?
  • What extent of non-drawing files are going to reside in Vault?
  • Will there be non-vaulted data such as images that are referenced by the drawings?  If using local paths, is it okay to have absolute paths to these files?
  • Will Vault be used in a WAN environment?  Are you going to set-up different Working folders for different offices?

Once you’ve decided on a location for your working folder, then you can add your drawing file to Vault with confidence.  After the file is in Vault, after making any changes to the file, such as creating an alignment, you’ll want to Save and Check In the drawing.

When you check a drawing into Vault, it recognizes that the drawing contains Civil 3D data.  Accordingly, Vault will prompt if you would also like to share the data in the drawing:When the data is shared, this means that other drawings can create a data reference to access the data, similar to a data shortcut when using Civil 3D without Vault.

As the project goes on, the number of drawings and data in the Vault will increase.  For this project, data, sheet, and xref drawings were separated into corresponding folders that were created in the part 2.  You can see the results of adding all the project data in the following image:

One problem I ran into while working with Vault had to do with a corridor model drawing.  I was working in this drawing extensively, constantly checking it in and out.  After while, when I tried to check it in, I would receive the following error:Eventually, I removed the drawing from Vault completely, and added it again as if it were a new drawing.  After this, everything seemed fine.

Next we’ll look at using Labels to mark milestones for our project.

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