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Adding Details to Cross Sections

The method to add detail symbols such as trees and utility poles to cross section drawings begins by creating a set of cross sections representing these features. Those sections are then overplotted onto the existing and proposed sections to create a complete drawing.

The section sets are created by an MX add-in called XSDetail. This add-in is stored in the add-ins directory of the MX workspace and must be added to the users Add-in menu before it can be used. The add-in creates an input file that will be run in MX. Once the sections sets are created, the XS-MS drawing macro is used to display the features.

Before You Begin

Before beginning this process, you should be aware of the current limitations. When the data is transferred to MicroStation, the elevations of cells are taken from the MX point strings. If no elevation is found at a particular point, then the elevation of the reference string is used. Be advised that features such as underground drainage and utility structures may not be plotted at the correct elevation. This data MUST be verified before any design work is done using the cross section drawings.

Creating the Section Sets

From the add-in menu, select the XSDetail program. The following panel will be displayed.

nhdot cross section detail

Use the pull down boxes to select:

  • The Reference Model containing the alignment that the section will be created from.
  • The Reference String.
  • The Topo Model containing the details that are to be plotted (if the "Detail Model" Input Format is selected).

If the data is to be retrieved from a MicroStation drawing, then select the "MicroStation" option from the Input Format area. The "Topo Model" box will be replaced by the MicroStation drawing name box. Note: The MicroStation drawing must be opened BEFORE this option is selected.

The station interval will default to 50' or 20m depending on the project. This value determines the station where the detail will be plotted. The actual station of the feature is rounded to the nearest multiple of the number specified. If the station where the feature should be displayed is beyond the end of the alignment, then the feature will be ignored. For example, if a pole is at station 20+43, then it would normally be plotted on the section at 20+50. If the alignment ends at 20+45, then there won't be any section at 20+50 so the point will be ignored.

Once all selections have been defined from the left side of the panel, use the "Select Output File" button to assign an output file name for the detail data. The default file name is XSDETAIL.INP. Note the directory where this file is to be stored. Navigate to the project directory if this is not the default location.

Hit the Process Data button to begin the program. The program will search the Topo model or MicroStation drawing to find all features that match a predefined search list. It will determine the station and offset of each point and create an input file that will store this information in the output file in a form that can be added to the cross sections.

If MX is able to determine that a pipe crosses the reference alignment, then it creates a string representing the pipe at the nearest station. Since MX does not store the size of the pipe, the detail shown on the section only indicates that a pipe exists near this section. It is the responsibility of the drafter to adjust the feature to its proper size. The sections will also include a cross (+) at sump locations. This will help the drafter place catch basins and drop inlets at the proper offset and elevation.

MX cannot plot points with null elevations on cross sections. If a null elevation is encountered in the topo data, a note is written to the output file with details of the invalid point.

At the end of the program, the user has the option to run the input file to create the MX data or to run it at a later time by using the Input... command on MX's File menu. The detail is stored in a model called "XS DETAIL" followed by the master alignment name. To complete the process, use the cross section viewer to add two sets of cross sections cut over the XS DETAIL MCxx model using the Detail Features type. One set contains pipes crossing the alignment and the other contains other detail features. See Creating MX Cross Sections for more details. Save the setup after the new cross section sets have been added.

Set the model defaults for the XS DETAIL MCxx model to XSU.pss and XSU.fns.

This data can then be drawn with the XS-MS macro. To activate the detail drawing functionality of this macro, set the variable XSD=' ' (two single quotes).

Note: This process will need to be repeated in its entirety if there is a change to the horizontal alignment of the reference string used. Profile changes will not have any impact on the detail features.

Refer to Transferring MX Cross Sections to MicroStation for the MicroStation portion of the process.

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