Defaults and the Survey Code Table
n4ce is supplied with many default settings which include Text Styles, Fill Styles, Layers Names, Grids, Sections and DTMs. All are configurable, including the Code Table which is discussed below.
Perhaps the most important aspect of n4ce is how to configure your Code Table, without which surveys become a mass of 3D dots. It is possible to create a join the dot drawing exercise, but it’s not recommended.
The Code Table acts as a translator, converting coded points into a meaningful logical plot, therefore time and energy need to be spent in understanding and setting up the Code Table correctly. You may access the Code Table from almost any of n4ce’s interfaces by selecting Codes from a Settings menu.
n4ce Code Table
The first and most important fact regarding the n4ce Code Table, which MUST be remembered and understood, is that each individual Project stores its OWN copy of the Code Table and other Defaults.
This means that when editing or otherwise altering the Code Table, pressing OK to accept your changes, will ONLY affect the current Project. If you want your changes to be reflected in any new subsequent projects, you MUST press the Save button first. This will overwrite the Codes.ini file, the master copy of the Code Table, which is read in when you start a new Project. Multiple copies of code tables and layers can be stored in sub folders, off ..\Settings. When doing this, the Codes.ini and Layers.ini file MUST be saved as a pair.
Note: If a Project has already been started it’s possible to update revised defaults using Reload in the Settings menu.
Exercise 2. Setting up a New Code
This exercise will demonstrate how to setup a new code in n4ce. The concept of assigning various elements of the same code to different layers will be introduced, and then how this tool may be exploited to its fullest extent when using one prefix to plot a line, symbol and shape.
- Carrying on from the previous exercise bring up a graphics window of the entire survey.
From the menu bar select Settings, and then Codes from the drop-down menu.
The example below has been taken from the data folder, in Co-ordinate Graphics mode.
A full set of defaults is found in the Settings menu, which is available in the Project. This is where you will also find the Reload option. What do you think this does?
Also, note the Pens, Layers and Text options, as shown in these menus.Text Styles are drawn in mm to a reference Object Scale. In fact, all sizes and offsets are in shown mm unless otherwise stated.
Note Depending upon where you select the Settings menu, different menu options will appear.
Check to see if the code EP exists; if so Remove it. To enter a new code prefix into the code table, press the Add button. Enter EP as the new prefix and press OK.
Note By default, n4ce will copy the settings of the code which is highlighted when the Add button was pressed. This is deliberate so that if you need to copy a code, its contents are automatically there.
We will start by changing the description of the code to “Electricity Wires”. Enter this into the Description field provided. Making sure that the EP code has focus, as shown below.
The code table interface is divided up in to 9 tabbed pages.
The first option on each of these tabbed pages is a tick box entitled Enabled. Using this tick box you may configure the code to display as much or as little information as you wish. Only those elements with their Code Enabled and check box ticked will be included.Thereby enabling the appropriate elements, a code could plot a line and a single item of text, or a symbol with height and code annotation. There is no restriction on the amount of detail you can plot, although clutter would become an issue if you elected to plot all 9 elements. Choosing different layers helps here.
The first tab is Points. You will note that enable has been greyed out, forcing you to plot a point. This allows you to Query a point even if the style is set to None.
The left-hand Attributes part of this page controls the way the point will be displayed, including Layering, Style and Colour..
It is entirely possible to assign each element within a code to a different layer. This would obviously lead to a vast number of layers being generated, but the point here is that n4ce provides you with the tools to tailor exactly what you do and do not want to see.
For this exercise, we will create a new layer for our survey point.
Click the Properties button next to the layer’s combo box. This is a short cut to the layer’s defaults and the layer’s dialog.
Note. Layer definitions are stored in the Project and copied to a model when it is created. Checks are made to Assert any missing layers in other previously formed models.
Press the Add button to create a new layer and enter Elec Services then press OK. Note that the new layer will be a copy of the layer highlighted, Utilities in this case.
Each layer has its own set of defaults. We will see how these can be used to configure elements so that they receive attributes from the layer they occupy. Assign the following defaults to Elec Services:
- Colour: Green
- Point Style: Square
- Line Style: Solid
- Point Size: 5
- Text Style: Feature Text
- Fill Style: Default
Press OK when the defaults are set.
Now change the Points layer to the newly created Elec Services layer.
In the above section, we mentioned that elements can be instructed to take defaults from the layer they occupy. This is accomplished by setting the appropriate defaults to either Layer Style, or Layer Colour, depending on the attribute.Note When creating new layers, it is best to do this from the Project Settings menu. When you create a model, the Project Layers are copied to that model. These layers are then independent of other models in the Project. If you create a new layer in a model, this will not appear in other models and will not be recognised by the Code Table.
Configure the Point Style and Colour defaults to take their settings from the Elec Services layer.Before we continue, at the bottom right hand corner of the points tab page is a check box titled Model Points. If this box is checked, valid points (3D points and those without a comma code X or Y) will be included in the DTM creation process if the layer containing these points is turned on.
Note The primary purpose for this utility is to remove invalid points from the DTM such as underground or overhead services. In this exercise, we need to remove this check.
Press the Line tab and if it’s not active, enable it.
Change the lines layer to Elec Services, and make sure that the Lines, Style and Pen are both being configured from the layer.
n4ce can configure the line to act as a Breakline. This has the effect of forcing a line feature through a DTM model. Triangles will not be allowed to cross the feature. A suitable example of this would be either a bottom of batter or kerb line.
If the Force in DTM check box is ticked, n4ce will use the line to constrain the DTM. This should be disabled in the current exercise
Step through the remaining tabs in the code table and make sure that no other items are enabled.At this stage, we are only concerning ourselves with a survey point and feature string. When the other elements types have been checked, press the OK button to accept the changes in this Project.
Note Pressing Save will save this as the Master Default in the Settings folder, called Codes.ini.
- If you’re not already in Graphics, select the Camera Icon and/or Redraw the graphic window using the Icon. You should see the view, shown below. View scale is 1250 with real point’s size set.
Note the Green line which has appeared in the mid left portion of the window. Tooltips has been used here showing details of a point.
- To demonstrate the power of the layering system, press the Layer or three slices of bread Icon , and turn the layer Elec ServicesOff. The EP coded line has now disappeared.
Press the Layer Icon again but this time select the Override button. This utility allows you to turn off elements regardless of layer. Hot key [ALT+F9] is useful here.
Uncheck Heights under Points and then Press the OK button. Re-draw the screen to see the effect of the changes you have just made.
To recap so far, we have turned off the Elec Services Layer and deactivated the points, using the layer override, hot key [ATLT+F9].
To further illustrate the power of n4ce’s Code Table and layering, we will move the Line element of the code EP to a different layer.
Summary of Exercise 2.
We have introduced you to the n4ce Code Table, and briefly looked at how the various elements within a code are handled and setup.
A new code called EP was created, along with a new layer called Elec Services. This was used to control the display of our new code.
We also saw the results of our new code in a graphics window, and experimented further with Layers. We discussed their implications, and how layers’ control what you can and can’t see in a graphics view. Layer Override was also introduced which turns on/off objects irrespective of which layer they fall on. This is how we turn on/off the Dedicated CAD Backcloth and Grids.
Note: The individual codes for a point can be accessed from the Query Point Dialog Box, if the code for the point being queried already exists. Also, note the Tooltip option that shows the details of a point as you hover above it.
You may wish to explore the Text, Height, Number and Code Annotation options yourself, making note that these are assigned to a point, at an XY offset in mm. Also, note text Alignment can be taken from the feature.
IMPORTANT! Text is drawn in terms of a Windows Font and Size in mm at a Final Plot or Object Scale which can be set by pressing [ALT]+[V]. In this exercise, it should be 1250. See what happens when you change it to 500.
Feature Coding – The Query Point Option
You have already seen that the Code Table controls what is seen from a feature coded survey, but how does this affect you?
The starting point is your survey instrument and its ability to record data recognised by n4ce. AiC works with all major survey instrument manufactures to improve the collection and transfer of data, and several Technical Notes are available to help the user in this regard. You may have to refer to your instrument manual as well.
During the survey process you are encouraged to use feature codes. In some instances, the code table can be copied from n4ce to the instruments to prompt you to enter data accordingly.
Feature Codes are split into three parts, namely:
<Code Prefix><String Number>,<Comma Code>
KB1,C – could be a kerb string “1” with “Curve” fitting
TR,X – could be a Tree which is not used in the DTM
The Code Prefix is as defined in the n4ce Code Table, and describes the graphical elements to be attached to a point.
The String Number is an optional character(s) used to identify individual strings.
A Comma Code is again optional and used to provide attributes to the features, like curve fitting and plotting of detail. The list includes:
- C - Curve fit a line feature.
- D - Discontinuous point on a curve.
- T - Tangent Point. Must be preceded or followed by a straight segment.
- G - Gaps a line feature from current point to next.
- N - Start a New line feature and negates a string number.
- P - Will close a Polygon on the first or last point of a line feature.
- X - Ignore point when forming model, but allow level annotation.
- Y - Does not plot level annotation or include point in the model.
- Z - Does not plot level annotation but includes point in model.
- I - Ignore reading. Used with Survey Observations.
- 0 or 1 – Point style set to none or Dot.
A selection of Comma Codes Identifiers can be seen by pressing the Comma Code button in the Code Table. Some identifier characters can be changed.
When using continuous line features, such as tops and bottoms of banks, lines will only be drawn when points are recorded and stored in sequence. For curve fitting you will need a minimum of three “,C” codes or two “,T” codes. Comma Codes may be used in combination, for example KB1,CX.
Comma Codes are accessed in the Code Table, as shown here. You may change the identifier name but it is not recommended.
Different Separators (,.-) can be used to separate the Prefix from the Comma Code. If you’re importing a CSV file from a GPS receiver you use a dot (.) to avoid confusion with commas.
If you are exporting data in a comma delimited format simply change the order of the separators to say (-.,) See FilterXYZ.ini file exports. Also look at the CSV filter options.
n4ce also has a powerful code option, called Dimensions. Here offsets and other attributes are attached to a point to control the size or position of a feature. It may be necessary to change the identifier here, depending upon how your instrument handles data.
There are three types of Dimension, namely:
- Code related
- User Defined
Code related Dimensions can be re-named, and in some situations, need to be changed to match data coming from various instruments, typically I1, I2 etc.
System Dimensions are hard coded and include PX, PY, PZ, PC, PN, REM, CHN, RAD and BRG.
User defined Dimensions could be Type, Abc, 123 etc. or combination of characters.
Note the upper and lower case options. They are case sensitive.
An example of coded Dimensions is P=0.225 to plot a parallel line, R=0.25 to plot a circle (shape) and S=5.5 to scale a tree (symbol).
When used in conjunction with a Text Macro, Dimensions not only size elements but can also be displayed on the screen as part of a parametric function. An example of this will be shown next.
The example shown below is from the ..\Training\Intermediate – folder and is called Ex1 – Coding.sdb. This can also be accessed from the short cut icon on your desktop called n4ce Support Files.
In the Coordinate grid (spreadsheet) there are several kerb lines. You will note that they are arranged in sequence and that each new string starts with a Comma Code ”,N”. String numbers are not used here. You will also note the curve fitting starts and ends with “,T”.
Duality of Display and Edit
Query Point "Mini Editor"
A tree code, with Prefix TR has been used with the size of the tree being stored as Dimensions. If you open this project and Query the tree, in graphics, the Point Co-ordinate Properties will be displayed, which provides information about the point, including Attributes, with both Comma Codes and Dimensions.
Query Icon Bar
The Query Point and Line options can be used to access the Code for this point and is a mini editor. Items shown in windows with a white background can be changed. In the example above, Attributes can be edited.
In the example below, a Text Macro has been used to display Dimensions alongside the tree. See bottom left window:
Text Macro Entry
IMPORTANT! Edits made in one view are reflected in other related views. For example, changing items in a Grid will be updated in Graphics and vice versa. This is called Duality of Display and Edit. Refresh views by using the [F5] hot key, or mouse roller ball in graphics.