Points are linked to the Code Table via feature codes, which in turn gives rise to what you see in n4ce, namely points, lines, symbols, shapes and text.
Feature codes are made up of several components including String Number, Comma Code and Dimensions.
<Code Prefix><String Number>,<Comma Code>
For example, TR,1X could be a tree with a dot point style “1” and ignored in the DTM “X”. Dimensions could include tree spread, height and trunk diameter or text, sizes and offsets. Text Macros can be used to display Dimension data as text alongside the point.
Points can be either 2D or 3D, with the former showing a blank height entry in the control grid (spreadsheet) display.
Note: When identifying codes, n4ce compares the whole string up to the comma code, taking characters off one at a time from the right, until a match is found. eg KB12. If this is not in the code table n4ce looks for KB1 and if not found then KB. Once found, the characters taken off become the string number. Any alpha/numeric characters can be used for the code and/or string number. eg 123ABC is a valid code for 123 and string number ABC.
The first tab in the code table identifies how points will be displayed, in terms of Layer, Style, Pen (Colour) and Size (mm). Note Model Points attribute.
Although points using this code will be plotted with these attributes, tools are available for changing these, in the field or back in the office whilst processing your survey.
For example, if you wish to change the point style from its default standard whilst in the field, use the comma codes 0 or 1, representing None and a Dot point style.
Points can be eliminated from the DTM during formation using its attribute or comma code X. If a layer containing points or layer override is turned off, then they will not be included. 2D points are not used.
n4ce Code Table - Points
Note: Points can be turned on/off using traditional layering or the layer override, which is layer independent. A Delaunay DTM algorithm is used to generate triangles, which are near equilateral. Break lines are added post triangulation and can highlight where there are crossings constraints. The process is 2 dimensional. You can only have ONE level at an XY position! Overlapping triangles must be avoided.
Comma codes can be used to both curve-fit a line feature and control the point type along these curves. In the example below, the top line has plus points along the curve, whilst the bottom has dots using comma 1. Likewise, height text can be removed using comma Z.
When creating curve fitted strings, there needs to be at least three consecutive points with a C comma code, or two T tangent points at the ends of joining straights.
Controlling Point Styles Along Curves
Point attributes can be changed after plotting your survey, using the Attributes option at the bottom of the Points menu. There are two options here. The Get option will copy the attributes of an existing point, and the Set option will apply Point Attributes to selected points, using the current pick mode. When applying new attributes to points, you will be presented with a dialog box allowing you to set Pen, Style and Size of selected points – but not the layer. Check or uncheck the options you wish to Change.
Set and Get Attributes from the Points Menu
Points will be changed according to your Pick option, being Element, Rectangle or List (Pro & Designer).
The Restore option in the above menu, is provided so you may return points back to their original state, as defined in the Code table.
A special menu is provided in graphics for handling points including Delete, Insert and Move options.
The Points menu is shown below, with sub-menus identified by the right arrow . The Lite edition will not contain all the options shown here.
Points Menu (Pro & Designer)
Many of these actions depend upon the Pick option. If the Pick option is set to Rectangle, then you may be expected to select points by rectangle first. Likewise, if you are using the List (Pro & Designer) option, you will be asked to confirm this selection before continuing. Only selected List points will be affected.
The List option allows you to select points by tagging them, and then using the Pick option to include them in any edits. Various filter options are available and are also included in the display grid (spreadsheet). Not all edits are available with List. Remember, if you alter points, any features attached to these points will also be affected, included the DTM. If you move points with a DTM present, then please avoid overlapping triangles!
Annotation appears alongside points at a nominated offset (mm), at the scale of the base drawing. If you move or delete the point, then any items attached to that point, including annotation, will also be affected.
Annotation can be rotated to save it from being drawn upside down. This is controlled by the Readable check button in the Code Table, shown below.
Text Styles are made up of a Font, Frame, Size (mm), Spacing, Slant and Bold and will appear in graphics to a reference or plot scale. Changing this reference scale will appear to change the size of the text, so make sure you have the correct scale before carrying out any edits.
Annotation orientation is taken from the Alignment Attributes with Left, Centre or Right Justification.
Code Table – Height Annotation Definitions
The Alignment options are quite extensive and include Parallel, Perpendicular and Centre options. These are normally associated with Line features, where angles are determined from the leading or training line segments.
In some cases, a Prefix or Suffix may be added to height, typically in man holes. In the example shown below, the characters SPL prefix some heights.
In this example, all annotation was required to follow the centreline of the rail. An edit option is provided for this feature in the Pro & Designer editions.
In some cases, users may prefer to selectively add annotation individually, rather than at all locations. Delete all then restore them individually.
Text Alignments From a Rail Survey
You may wish to experiment with different annotation alignment options, especially the Perpendicular and Centre options, as shown below.
Text Alignment Options
There are four different annotation items (Height, Number Code and Text), that can appear alongside points. Text has an interesting option, allowing you to add user defined annotation alongside points, using Text Macros. These link Remarks and Dimensions to text items that will appear in graphics displays.
There are three parts, Labels, Dimensions (%??%) and start a new line (\n)
In the example shown below, a 3 Pt Shape was used and filled with a hatch pattern.
Text Macro in Operation on a Man Hole
Note: CAD text can be burnt into the hatch pattern (Pro & Designer). In this example, only 1 of 3 three points is annotated, using Hide Second Points in the Shape definition.
There are several Dimensions that can be accessed through the Code Table. In addition to these, User Dimensions can be created as shown in the above HT dimension, used to display the invert level of the MH.
A further set are Hard Coded Dimensions and include PX, PY, PZ, PN, PC and REM, representing point coordinates, number, code and remark. BRG, RAD and CHN are available in the Pro & Designer editions.
There are four different forms of annotation, namely Height, Code, Number and Text, each with their own edit options. Edits are found at the bottom of the Points menu and include Move, Delete and Restore. With edits, you need to indicate the point, NOT the text. This identifies the annotation associated with that point, drawing a rubber banded line from the point to the annotation.
Identifying Heights Via the Point
There are various annotation edit options, depending on the edition of n4ce you are using. Those shown below are from the Pro & Designer editions. The Pick options by Element, Rectangle and List may be applicable.
Height Edit Menu (Designer)
Feature line options are available using the Parallel, Perpendicular and Flip options. The To Reference option is used in conjunction with List, to align listed annotation to a reference string, such as a road centreline or rail track.
It may be advantageous to add annotation to individual points, eliminating others with the same code. This is best done by deleting all the annotation with this code, either by List or isolating a layer for this code, then using the Restore option to recover indicate points.
The CAD Commit option is used to copy annotation from the Model to the Dedicated CAD Backcloth. This will effectively duplicate annotation and it is up to the user to make necessary adjustments.
Moving or deleting points will affect any attached annotation. Be careful not to create overlapping triangles.
Pro & Designer users have additional edits, including a Height Filter. This is linked to the Code Table and the Priority assigned to Height annotation. Overlapping heights will be listed for deleting.
The Filter option is used in conjunction with the List option, using the Priority option to identify overlapping height text with a lower priority. By setting the Pick mode to List, the heights can be removed. Since the highlighted listed points are still present, you may go back and Restore removed heights individually, but remember to reset the Pick mode to Element, otherwise all the height text will be restored. Then use the move and angle height option as necessary.
If you have multiple annotation items attached to a point which you wish to move collectively, use the All menu options.
Setting Height Priorities
Height Filtering using Listed Points
(Pro & Designer)
Group Moving Annotation
Finally, you may wish to remove points that have no associated height text. Easy!
The Code Table has a setting in Heights called Always Plot Point. If this is checked for that code and you turn off all the Markers in the layers override [ALT][F9], then points with no text will be removed, leaving only those with heights.
Removing Points without Heights – Before and After
Also check out Real Point Size in the View menu. This displays the point as it appears when plotted. But beware, if your object scale [ALT][V] is very large i.e. 1:5000, you may not see your points when zoomed out.
Code Separators – Duplicating Dimensions M= and N=
The Dimensions M=<segment> and N=<new> are used to add new features, without adding duplicate points.
To make life a little easier, especially with loggers that don’t support attributes, these Dimensions can be added to the feature code using Separators. For example, the separator / with HE/FE (new) replaces N=FE, and \ used with HE\GT (Seg) will replace M=GT.
The separations \ and / are user definable, but do not use characters that would conflict with comma code separators and DO NOT use a semi colon “;” as this is a reserved character.
Point Offset Codes
When making total station measurements, Dimensions are available for offsetting the surveyed point. These are L= (lateral), H= (horizontal) and V= (vertical) in a direction from the instrument. Right (R) is +ve, forwards (H) is +ve and up (V) is +ve.
A further offset option is available when using circular shapes. For example, if you’re measuring to a tree or lamppost, you can apply an automatic offset, in the direction of the observation for the radius of the object by ticking the Adjust Survey Distances in the shape tab, shown below.
n4ce will calculate the radius of the circular shape and move the point during reduction. This ONLY works with observations during survey reduction.
Setting Automatic Offsets for Circular Shapes
Extending Lines using X=
The Dimension X= can be used to extend a line at the end of a segment. This option only works with observations during reductions, and can be used in situations where a point is obscured, like the corner of a building by vegetation. The level of the extended point is taken from the previous point.
Hash Codes (#)
The New and Segment Dimensions / and \ codes above can be further expended using # codes. This ONLY works on IMPORTS and involves using multiple codes, delimited with a # character. Duplicate points will be created.
For example, the code BB1#TB5#FE will provide additional links to the source point BB1, to TB5 and FE. n4ce will generate duplicate observations or coordinates for these # codes. The import conventions for Dimensions and Comma Codes still apply. eg HE_W1.2#GT. Here a hedge with a width of 1.2m will be joined to a gate.(“_”=” “).
Auto Stringing and Code Import Conventions
When creating linear features, n4ce expects data to be sequentially recorded in the order it is to be plotted. There is no need to identify the start or end of a feature, as when a code changes, this signals n4ce to stop drawing the current code and start drawing a new feature. This also applies to multi point features used in creating shapes and symbols. A special option in the control grid (spread sheet), called Order by code, will organise this for you, bringing together all the features with the same code, closing any gaps. A special option called Report Codes is provided to help identify missing codes.
There are three recognised ways of surveying, namely:
Walking Objects – where you survey each feature in turn with a common code, and use n4ce to edit and recode.
Segmented Surveys – where you start and stop alternating features, like top and bottom of kerbs
Cross-Section Surveys – survey traverse left to right and vice versa, picking up multiple features like roads.
If you import the latter two surveys, you may see gaps between linear features and need to run an order codes tool to make data sequential or organised into strings.
When working with observation (total station) and point data survey (GPS) data, n4ce can organise theses strings for you. This is done by checking Auto Stringing in the Code Table or Options from the Settings menu.
Code Table – with Auto Stringing Checked
Options – with Auto Stringing
Note: Auto Stringing only works in Observations and Co-ordinates.
The Auto Stringing function will link points together with the same feature code and string number, in the order they are found. Dimensions and Comma Codes are recognized and joins will be made across survey station set-ups, if you continued a feature from another set-up.
When you create a Model from an Auto Stringing survey, n4ce will automatically order the codes for you, so they appear as they did in Observations or Coordinates.
Importing Data with Attributes
The Code Import Convention, in the Code Table, has been introduced to handle different methods of recording with Comma Codes and Dimensions, all in one string. This was implemented for Sokkia users as these formats do not support attributes, but can be used by other recorders. If you are happy with the way you are logging data, with attributes, then you need to leave the option set to None.
In this case, the Dimension is appended to the Code string using spaces to delimit between comma codes and multiple dimensions. For example, Leica GSI stores the code in field 41, comma codes in field 42 and dimensions in fields 43, 44 onward. These can all be stored in the code field 41, using this convention.
The options are as follows:
AiC (Dim Labels) – Code_Comma Codes_DimD1_Value1_DimD2_Value2 etc, (where _ are spaces)
eg. TR_0Z_S_4.56_R_0.25 – gives the tree code dimensions S=4.56 and R=0.25
AiC (No Dim Labels) – Code_Comma Codes_Value1_value2 etc, (where _ are spaces)
eg. TR_0Z_4.56_0.25 - gives the tree code dimensions I1=4.56 and I2=0.25
Geosite is like the AiC (Dim Labels) option, but has other features which recognise Geosite coding.
This ONLY applies when importing survey data, like # codes, and the strings identified with e.g., replace the feature code entry on your Total Station or GPS.
Committing Virtual Lines with P=, O= & W= Dimensions
There are two conventions for viewing graphical data used in surveys. One is CAD based and the other is Model based, using feature codes and a lookup table, used to generate features on the fly. n4ce uses the latter which we like to call intelligent! Everything hangs off the point, so if you delete or move a point in a model, everything attached to that point will change accordingly. This is done on the fly and you could say everything you see is a virtual representation of your survey.
Whilst what you see in the graphics environment looks like CAD, it is created on the fly from coding, this can be exported at any time to CAD via a DXF/DWG transfer, where detail like points, lines, symbols and text will retain its presentation, including colours, styles sizing and positioning, but the intelligence is lost.
When creating a DTM in n4ce, only valid points will be used. There is one type of virtual detail that users may wish to commit in a model, generating points that can be used in the DTM. These are the “extra” lines created when using the P=, O= or W= Dimensions.
Check boxes are available in both the Code Table (Lines) and the Create Model dialogs, as shown below. In the case of O= and W=, the lines and points will have the same height as the point that they were surveyed from.
Creating a New Model
In the case of the P= you have the option to alter the code of the 2nd line and the height offset, using comma delimited attributes. e.g. P=Offset,Code,dh. (P=0.225, WL,2.5). You must also check the Commit Constructions option in the Line definition of the Code Table.
A general feature coding report option has been provided in the Tools Menu in the Survey Observations, called Report Codes, and the Features Menu in the Model view, called Feature Report. This allows you to check for missing codes and generate a report of the feature codes used in a survey or model. Selecting this option will cause a dialog box like that shown below to be displayed.
New Feature Reporting Option
A list of all the features used in your survey or model will be displayed, together with a summary, Description and Warnings. The content of the list is governed by the group of radio buttons underneath, with four options:
All Features - will display all the features in a survey or model
Undefined Feature Codes - displays features codes that are missing from the Code Table
Features with Warnings - displays missing codes together with features where of points are missing from multi-point shapes and symbols or where a dimension is missing from a point
Used Feature Prefixes - displays all the feature prefixes that have been recognised
A green tick signifies that its code has been recognised and that there are no problems with the point count. A red cross indicates otherwise.
Other information is displayed, such as the number of points in the feature and some details about the prefix that has been recognised. Highlighted features will be shown graphically in the window to the right with + and – controls for zooming. Double-clicking on the list control will bring up the Query Feature Dialog Box for the highlighted feature, as shown below.
Double Clicking on the Feature Code
The Report button will generate a text report of the contents of the list control. The Coding button allows you to change the settings for the prefix used in the highlighted feature or prefix and enter a code if its missing from the Code Table. The Recode button allows you to recode a feature and is only available in the Model view.
Any changes you make to the feature codes will only be saved when you select the OK button to leave the dialog. If you have made changes to the Code Table, however, these changes will always be retained in the project.