X Marks the Spot: Points
The foundation of any civil engineering project is the simple point. Most commonly, points are
used to identify the location of existing features, such as trees and property corners; topography,
such as ground shots; or stakeout information, such as road geometry points. However, points can
be used for much more. This chapter will both focus on traditional point uses and introduce ideas
to apply the dynamic power of point editing, labeling, and grouping to other applications.
By the end of this chapter, you’ll learn to:
◆ Import points from a text ﬁle using description key matching
◆ Create a point group
◆ Export points to LandXML and ASCII format
◆ Create a point table
Anatomy of a Point
Civil 3D points (see Figure 4.1) are intelligent objects that represent x, y,andz locations in space.
Each point has a unique number and, optionally, a unique name that can be used for additional
identiﬁcation and labeling.
You can view and change point properties in the AutoCAD Properties palette, as shown in
Creating Basic Points
You can create points many ways, using the Points menu from the Create Ground Data panel on
the Home tab. Points can also be imported from text ﬁles or external databases or converted from
AutoCAD, Land Desktop, or Softdesk point objects.
Before you begin creating points, it’s important to investigate which settings may make the
task easier. Individual point objects are placed on an object layer that controls their visibility,
which you can manage in both the Command settings and the Create Points dialogs. You can
also establish default style, default label style, and default elevations, names, and descriptions in
your Civil 3D template, which will make it easy to follow your company standard when creating
98 CHAPTER 4 X MARKS THE SPOT: POINTS
A typical point object
showing a marker,
a point number, an
elevation, and a
The AutoCAD Properties
For most Civil 3D objects, the object layer is established in the Drawing Settings. In the case of
points, the default object layer is set in the Command Settings for point creation and can be over-
ridden in the Create Points dialog (see Figure 4.3).
Prompt for Elevations, Names, and Descriptions
When creating points in your drawing, you have the option of being prompted for elevations,
names, and descriptions (see Figure 4.4). In many cases, you’ll want to leave these options set to
Manual. The command line will ask you to assign an elevation, name, and description for every
point you create.
CREATING BASIC POINTS 99
You should set the
You can change the
Names, and Descriptions
settings from Manual to
If you’re creating a batch of points that have the same description or elevation, you can change
the Prompt toggle from Manual to Automatic and then provide the description and elevation
in the default cells. For example, if you’re setting a series of trees at an elevation of 10
establish settings as shown in Figure 4.5.
Be sure to change these settings back to Manual before you import points from external sources
that provide a Z elevation. If not, all imported points will be assigned the default elevation regard-
less of the Z provided by the imported ﬁle.
Importing Points from a Text File
One of the most common means of creating points in your drawing is to import an external text
ﬁle. This ﬁle may be the result of surveyed information or an export from another program (see
The import process supports these point ﬁle formats: TXT, PRN, CSV, XYZ, AUF, NEZ, and
PNT. The following are the most common formats for imported point lists:
◆ Autodesk Uploadable File
◆ External Project Point Database
◆ ENZ, space delimited or comma delimited
◆ NEZ, space delimited or comma delimited
◆ PENZ, space delimited or comma delimited
100 CHAPTER 4 X MARKS THE SPOT: POINTS
◆ PENZD, space delimited or comma delimited
◆ PNE, space delimited or comma delimited
◆ PNEZ, space delimited or comma delimited
◆ PNEZD, space delimited or comma delimited
Default settings for
placing tree points at
an elevation of 10
The Import Points tool
in the Create Points
dialog (top), and creat-
ing a point group for the
newly imported points
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