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Seed Files

Due to the specialized needs of the various software used during the design process and differing working environments, multiple seed files exist. This page will explain the purpose of each.

International Feet vs. U.S. Survey Feet

When MicroStation was implemented in 1999, seed files were created with working units set to International Feet. At the time, a custom unit needed to be defined to use U.S. Survey feet.

What's the difference?

  • One standard or international foot = 0.3048 meters.
  • One U.S. Survey foot = 1200/3937 meters.

With the advent of the Geographic Coordinate System within Bentley products and increased interaction with organizations outside the DOT, it is now imperative that we change our practice to match the units of measure used by survey and construction personnel. All future projects should be set up with U.S. Survey Foot drawings.

MicroStation Seed Files

In MicroStation, the default seed file is defined by the variable MS_DESIGNSEED. This is the seed file used when the File -> New command is issued.

  • Historically, MS_DESIGNSEED = nhseedf2.dgn.
  • New projects will be created with units of U.S. Survey feet using MS_DESIGNSEED = nhseedf2-ussf.dgn.

If necessary, this can be modified for the project by including the alternative definition of MS_DESIGNSEED in the project's PCF file.

MX & OpenRoads Seed Files

A typical MX/OpenRoads drawing has 3 models in it; a 2D Default model, a 3D Default-3D model and an MX model. Work should be done in the Default model unless otherwise stated. All MX strings and points will be displayed in the MX model.

The Default model has the Default-3D model attached as a reference file with live nesting. The Default-3D model has the MX model attached as a reference file. As a result, all the information in the dgn is visible when the Default model is open. Individual Windows can view different models of the 3D information even when working in the Default model. Use the View Group > Multi-Model Views to display a 2D and a 3D view at the same time.

Previously, there was a single seed file for OpenRoads drawings - NHDOTMX_seed_i_3d+2d.dgn. That file is now called nhseed-or-intf.dgn (or = OpenRoads, intf = International Feet).

seed file selection

Seed File Selection

The default MX/OpenRoads seed file is set by going to MX > View > Configuration and selecting the File Management Tab. Setting the seed file this way saves it to the project's .mss file as well as your user configuration (.ucf) file.

If the seed file needs to be changed, click on the (...) and select the correct file. When complete, select OK to apply these changes.

OpenRoads Seed Files

  • U.S. Survey Feet = nhseed-or-ussf.dgn (InRoads Projects only)
  • International Feet = nhseed-or-intf.dgn (MX Projects only)

Drawings for Drainage Design (SUE & SUDA)

In the future, there may be a separate seed file for drainage design drawings with settings that will streamline certain processes. Until then, use the seed files for typical MX and OpenRoads drawings mentioned immediately above.

Drawings for Survey Processing (U.S. Survey Feet Only)

  • U.S. Survey Feet = nhseed-or-survey-ussf.dgn



New Hampshire Department of Transportation
PO Box 483  |  7 Hazen Drive  |  
Concord, NH  |  03302-0483
Tel: 603.271.3734  |  Fax: 603.271.3914