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Creating MX Cross Sections

This page will explain the process of of generating MX Cross Sections from an MX Alignment through multiple surfaces. The steps will vary depending the complexity of the alignment and the amount of detail to be included. The Before_You_Begin section will act as a guide as to which steps need to be addressed for your project.


The following terms are used in this document.

  • Normal Drive - A driveway that is perpendicular or nearly perpendicular to the alignment.
  • Skewed Drive - A driveway that meets the road at an angle.
  • Drive with Curves - A driveway that cannot be accurately defined by a straight line. Refer to Complex Drives & Walk Sections for more details.

Before You Begin

This documentation contains four distinct parts. The first portion, "Odd Station Preparation" should be skipped if your project does not have any Odd Stations.

The "XSDetail Add-In" portion is necessary for including Detail Features.

The third portion, "Sectioning," covers the generation of MX Cross Sections

Last, Specifying Section Locations to identify where sections are to be cut.

If Cross Sections are required that are either Skewed or Complex (not defined by a straight line), then refer to Complex Drives & Walk Sections for more details.

back to topOdd Station Preparation

Odd Stations must be added to the Master Alignment string. Make a strong attempt to identify all areas where an Odd Section might be. It is easier to delete a Odd Section in MicroStation then to move all your sections from sheet to sheet to allow for one which was not anticipated. Use the following MX command to add Odd Stations: Modify > Edit Point > Interpolate a Point Onto a String.

Use the Station PSM (Point Selection Method) to include any Odd Stations on the Master Alignment.

back to topThe XSDetail Add-In

Prior to cutting cross sections, run the XSDetail Add-In to capture detail features such as trees, utility poles and drainage pipes. This results in a model that will be cut in addition to various existing and design models when generating sections.

back to topSectioning

Cross Sections are generated and may be displayed with the Cross Section Viewer. This can be found from within MX by selecting Analysis > Sections > Create Cross Sections... The Cross Section Viewer has a toolbar for options available with in the Viewer. There is a Graphics Area in which the sections are displayed, and a Station Selector for navigating to other sections.

Click the Create New Cross Sections create section button button to bring up the panel shown below:

create cross sections dialog box

Specify the Reference Model, Reference String and Model to Store Sections. Verify that the section model defaults are set to the XSU.PSS style set and the XSU.FNS feature set. Similar to any of MXROAD options, you must ensure that you assign the correct style and feature sets to your models. These model defaults affect relevant panels in MX, allowing appropriate string identification and selection.

Check the Section Additional Models box and the Limit or Add Section Locations box. Click the Next button to advance to the Section Additional Models panel shown below.

section additional models dialog box

On the Section Additional Models panel, select each model containing data needed for your sections. A model may be selected more than once to accommodate for multiple section sets. Set the Description, Mask, and Offsets for every selected model. Set the SINT (Secondary INTeropation) to OFF. Refer to the following table for the recommended entries:

Recommended Settings
Model Description Mask Offset Left Offset Right
Design Design Design Tria * *
Triangulation Existing Ground NONE * *
Design OG Elevation XS Old Ground * *
Topo Sill Left Building Sill * 0
Topo Sill Right Building Sill 0 *
ENV Environment NONE * *
XS DETAIL MCxx Detail Features NONE * *
XS DETAIL MCxx Drainage Pipes xs pipe * *

* Default Offset values may need to be increased. Always section more than you plan to draw.

Setting the Description will assign the appropriate section set label to the strings being cut. These section sets are automatically drawn by the XS-MS macro. Since only one description may be used at a time, consider correcting another model's description to make a particular choice available.

If the XSDetail add-in is able to determine that a pipe crossed the reference alignment, then it is given a different string label from the rest of the detail and will be plotted differently. Refer to Adding Details to Cross Sections for more information about XSDetail.

Right-of-Way and Environmental lines that originated in MicroStation will need elevations attached. This is done with the NHDraper program. See it's documentation for more details.

In the Mask section you should specify the appropriate mask table, see String Masking for more explanation of Mask tables.

SINT (Secondary INTerpolation) should be turned OFF for all recommended section sets. Other circumstances may require SINT be turned ON.

It is necessary to set the Building Sill Offsets to zero on one side to filter out the opposite sides buildings.

back to topSpecifying Section Locations

section location dialog box

The last panel Section Location, will allow you to control which locations you want to cut. There are options to cut sections at a constant interval, at a specific station such as a drive or intersection, as well as two options to create skewed sections. Use the Add button to build a list of exactly what you want created.

Feature strings such as Buildings, ROW, or Environmental items are sectioned at the specified stations, and may not represent the closest point to the reference line.

To save the sectioning criteria for future iterations, select the Save Set-up... button on the bottom right of this panel.

Once all the desired section locations are defined, select Finish to begin the section generation. A successful process will usually return you to the Cross Section Viewer. In the case of a run time error, don't fret, it just means that the Cross Section Viewer has crashed, your sections should still have been created successfully. The Cross Section Viewer only provides a limited view of the cut sections, therefore it is recommended to close the Cross Section Viewer.

To draw your cross-sections in MX, refer to the sample XS-MS macro drawing input files.

back to topFor Drives with Curves

Refer to Complex Drives & Walk Sections for more details.

To draw your cross sections, refer to MX Cross Sections to MicroStation.

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